The SEA Mathematics and Language Arts Papers are set by the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC). Questions for these examinations are pre – tested using several versions of tests with students entering Form One (1) in selected secondary schools. Pre – testing provides information on the difficulty and suitability of the questions which can be included in the assessment. The Mathematics and Language Arts papers also undergo several reviews to ensure questions match the objectives of the syllabus, are of appropriate difficulty for a placement assessment.
The Ministry of Education administers the SEA to Standard Five (5) students in primary schools following which these papers are handed over to CXC for marking and processing of scores. The standard procedure prior to marking of these papers is a review of student’s responses to questions on the basis of which marking schemes are finalised by Measurement Officers and the Chief Examiners. In spite of numerous checks, there are instances where a question on an examination paper may be challenging to students through the wording of the question or mismatch with the objectives of the syllabus. In these cases mark schemes can be adjusted or the question dropped from the examination to ensure students are not disadvantaged.
Several students have expressed concerns about 1 of the 46 questions – question 35 and use of the word “ratio” in the Mathematics Paper. Question 35 was based on objective fifty three (53), Section B – Money, which requires students to “solve problems involving direct proportions”.
In light of the concerns raised, the Ministry of Education would like to assure students and parents that the matter will be referred to CXC for consideration to ensure that students are not placed at a disadvantage in the assessment.