Just 13 out of 189 students achieved a “level 2 pass” in math exam re-sits in 2016, according to results from the Cayman Islands Further Education Centre.

Students who do not achieve a good pass of “C” grade or equivalent in math and English are required to retake those subjects in their final year of schooling at CIFEC.

According to exam results data obtained by the Cayman Compass through a Freedom of Information Request, pass rates for re-sits in English and math have hovered between 30 percent and 40 percent over the last three years.

However, 2016 was a particularly bad year in math, with less than 7 percent reaching the required level after Year 12. Students that do not reach at least a grade C or equivalent in math and English – known as a “level 2 pass” – in their Year 11 exams, are required to retake these subjects, along with other courses, in an additional year of schooling at the Cayman Islands Further Education Centre.

The end of secondary school exams are known as GCSEs (General Certificate of Secondary Education) and are graded on a letter scale, with “A*,” the highest grade, down to “G,” or CXCs, after the Caribbean exam board, which are essentially the same exams but follow an equivalent numeric scale where “I” is an A. A “C” grade is equivalent to a 2.0 Grade Point Average in the U.S. system. Lyneth Monteith, director of the Department of Education Services, said CIFEC students can retake the exams in January, three months into their time at CIFEC, or in June, depending on their level of readiness, meaning some students get three chances.

Ms. Monteith said, “With regards to our results, a closer analysis of the areas of challenge is required. It is our aim for students to achieve their potential and if this does not occur, to investigate why and find solutions for resolving the issues.

“The students would have benefited from additional preparation post the January examinations and given an opportunity to re-sit in the May/June examinations.”

After every exam period, she said, the leadership and staff analyzes the results and areas of challenge using feedback from the examination board.

“This work is used for additional planning and professional development for staff,” she said.

“Students who sat the January examinations will be given an opportunity to sit the May/June examinations so the work can also be individualized according to their areas of challenge. The institution will also offer extra preparation time after school and [during] weekends.”

A baseline inspection report of CIFEC carried out in 2015 praised the institution’s contribution to increasing the number of students who achieved CXC or GCSE passes by the time they left secondary school.

The report said the teaching in English and math was good or very good.

It stated, “The majority of students improve their CXC examination results by at least a grade, and around 25 percent achieve a level 2 pass.

By the end of Year 12, the proportion of students gaining a level 2 pass in English is similar to the U.K. average for students at the end of Year 11.

“Results in mathematics, however, are still below the U.K. average, and just over half of the students leave Year 12 without a level 2 pass in mathematics. Much of the teaching in English is good and, in mathematics, it is very good. The teaching of literacy to lower-ability students, however, requires improvement.

“Students appreciate the way mathematics is taught, but the number of lessons allocated to mathematics each week is insufficient, even with very good teaching, to enable many students who have struggled with mathematics in the past to obtain their level 2 pass.”

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