National exam results worsen
Math, English scores decline
By Taneka Thompson
Guardian Senior Reporter
Math and English test scores for the Bahamas General Certificate of Secondary Education (BGCSE) exams fell this year compared to 2012, according to data released by the Ministry of Education yesterday.
The average math grade is an E and the average English grade is a D.
The subjects are among 16 that showed a decline in grade point average (GPA) scores.
Minister of Education Jerome Fitzgerald said he is not satisfied with students’ declining scores, particularly in Math.
While the 2013 BGCSE English score remained at a D letter grade the subject saw a decline in GPA.
BGCSE math scores fell from E+ to E.
“We are concerned about the results in mathematics examinations,” Fitzgerald said at a press conference at the Ministry of Education.
“Our focus, we feel, or I feel to a large extent, has been on literacy. And as a result we have continued to see a steady increase in our English language results.
“In the Department of Education we must accept some responsibility for the deficiencies in our mathematics results and our ministry’s failure to implement required strategies to improve not only teaching but also our results in this area.”
Only 996 out of 7,140 students who took the BGCSE exams — or 13.9 percent — scored a C or above in five or more subjects.
This is a 5.17 percent increase compared to the 947 students who achieved this in the 2012 BGCSEs.
This year, 1,626 candidates got at least a D in five or more subjects. This is an increase of 2.01 percent over 2012, which saw 1,594 students achieve this.
The ministry’s report on the exams noted that 561 students got at least a C or above in English, math and a science subject.
This is a 4.75 percent decrease compared to 2012, which saw 589 students meet this achievement.
The data shows that the highest percentage of overall grades awarded — 28.76 — were in the C category. The results show that 7,776 C grades were scored.
“A cumulative percentage of grades awarded to A and C is slightly higher than 2012 where it increased from 47.76 percent to 48.57 percent,” Fitzgerald said.
Fitzgerald said there is a concern over the increase in the number of grades awarded at the G and U level.
The total number of G grades given for the 2013 BGCSEs were 1,357 compared to 1,238 last year. Students received 931 U grades this year compared to 747 in 2012.
The ministry’s data shows that 11 subjects saw improvement in grade point average scores: biology; chemistry; commerce; economics; food and nutrition; history; music; office procedures; religious studies; Spanish and keyboarding.
Four subjects improved by a letter grade compared to 2012 scores: commerce rose to C- from D+; history rose to C from C-; music rose to C+ from C and religious studies rose to C from C-.
The data shows that out of the 27 subjects offered, 16 subjects saw a decrease in grade point average compared to 2012.
These are math; physics; English; French; geography; graphical communication; literature; art & design A; art & design B; art & design C; auto mechanics; bookkeeping/accounts; carpentry & joinery; clothing construction; combined science; and electrical installation.
Twelve subjects fell by a letter grade compared to last year: art & design A dropped to C from C+; art & design B fell to C+ from B-; art & design C fell to C- from C; auto mechanics fell to C- from C+; accounts fell to E+ from D; carpentry fell to C- from C.
Clothing construction fell to D from D+; combined science fell to D+ from C-; electrical installation fell to D from D+; French fell C- from C; graphical communication fell to C- from C and math fell to E from E+.
The ministry stopped issuing a national average four years ago. Officials said such a score did not accurately reflect test results because every student does not sit the same exams.
Fitzgerald said the ministry is focused on subject analysis based on test scores.
August 16, 2013