Students celebrate exam success

Results improve, despite concern over standards

The exam performance of students in Cayman’s public schools continues to edge steadily upward. 

The percentage of students gaining good passes, at grade A*-C or equivalent in five subjects at the end of secondary school reached 64.2 percent in 2015, up from just under 60 percent the previous year. 

When the core subjects of English and math are introduced into the equation, the results are also improving, though not at the same pace. 

The number of students gaining five passes, including those subjects, rose in 2015 from 46.7 percent to 47.3 percent, according to a preliminary presentation of data from Lyneth Monteith, chief education officer. 

She said, “The results show an upward trend, but as a system we recognize that we cannot settle for pockets of excellence but must strive for system-wide consistent improvement which will ensure that all students reach their potential.” 

The results come amid calls for an improvement in standards across the board in government schools after a series of inspection reports suggested Cayman was lagging behind international standards. 

Education Minister Tara Rivers said it is important to recognize improvement, but warned the inspection reports, yet to be published, would show standards are “simply not good enough” in the long term. 

The reports, carried out in tandem with a wider review of the structure of the school system, suggest government look beyond the “five good passes” in GCSE and CXC exams as a benchmark for academic success, Minister Rivers added. 

Typically the number of students attaining five subjects at A-C grades in GCSEs or I-III grades at CXC exams at the end of Year 12 has been used as the yardstick for success, both in Cayman and in the U.K. 

The U.K. results for 2015 showed 69 percent of students gaining five A*-C passes or better, compared with 65 percent in Cayman. 

The U.K. results come from exams taken at the end of year 11. Pupils in Cayman sit equivalent exams at the same time, though the figure for Cayman also takes into account re-sits and additional exams taken in Year 12 – an additional year of mandatory education in the territory. 

Year 11 results for Cayman show 47 percent of students gaining five good passes, with the figure dropping to 35.5 percent when math and English are included. 

Cayman exam results – GCSE/CXC exams 

After Year 12 

Level 2 passes at A*-C or better in five subjects 

2012: 39.4; 2013: 55.7; 2014: 59.8; 2015: 64.2 

Level 2 passes at A*-C or better in five subjects, including math and English 

2012: 22.7; 2013: 35.2; 2014: 46.7; 2015: 47.3 

After Year 11 

Level 2 passes at A*-C or better in five subjects 

2012: 35; 2013: 37.2; 2014: 38.4; 2015: 47 

Level 2 passes at A*-C or better in five subjects, including math and English 

2012: 22.5; 2013: 27.8; 2014: 31.7; 2015: 35.5 

Minister Rivers
Minister Rivers