Exam leak denied

A part time teacher at the Alexandra School has denied giving a group of students preparatory test papers with the knowledge that they included the final exam.

Roger Broomes, insisting his hands were clean, dismissed allegations that he deliberately leaked the final Physical Education exam to the fourth formers in question.

“About two weeks or so before the exam the children were given a host of exam papers to do, including that particular one. At no time at all did I disclose to the children that it would have been the final year exam,” he asserted today.

Broomes, who is a hockey coach and has taught at the St. Peter school since January 2004, said he gave the students “various papers” to help them prepare for examinations, but said he had made no breach.

The teacher was giving evidence this afternoon at the Commission of Enquiry into Alexandra, which continued today at the Wildey Gymnasium, Garfield Sobers Sports Complex.

The allegation of an exam leak by Broomes emerged during evidence at the commission, including by his colleague Sophia Ifill.

“I was asked to do the exam paper for the fourth years. What I normally do, or what I had normally done in the past would be to set various papers for the students to have an idea as to what possible questions could come. At no time at all did I divulge to the children that this would have been the final year exam,” he asserted while responding to questions from commission senior counsel Milton Pierce.

“I normally do this because I believe that children should feel good about themselves in terms of if they pass exam and so on and the results at CXC have confirmed the method which I have taken.

“The paper was previously set as a test paper and not a final examination paper, there were a number of papers which were set and which were given to the children at a period of time and then after.”

Broomes said he had done nothing wrong, and that while the students provided with the papers reportedly finished their exam within 10 to 15 minutes of being given it, those in another fourth form who had not benefit from practice test papers had done better.

“I would not be aware of what questions were asked of the children, what I can say is that there were two groups, interesting enough the group which had the questions and the group which had the answers was the group which fared the poorest in the exam,” he told commissioner Frederick Waterman.

“Miss Smith’s group had marks like 95 per cent, no child within my group scored more than 75 per cent. So it is interesting that my group would have had the answers but Miss Smith’s group which stayed in the exam room for the length of time was the group which did best on that particular paper.”

Broomes also told the tribunal that when the matter was reported to Deputy Principal Beverley Lashley there was a meeting about it and she had concerns he was bringing an American style of teaching into Alexandra.

“There was this whole debate about the style of teaching English style as against American style and Mrs. Lashley accepted that the style which I may have attempted to do or had done was more inclined towards the American style and that I would be chastised for trying to bring that style of teaching into the Alexandra school,” he recalled.

Broomes said he had indicated he had no problem being “the thorn amongst roses” and that his method had produced 100 per cent passes in each CXC exam taken by his students.

“My thing is if it isn’t broken, don’t fix it,” he said.

The teacher also testified that after the deputy order that the tests not be corrected, on his return to school Principal Jeff Broomes gave a different direction.

“The principal asked me to correct my papers … because ultimately the principal of the school according to the Education Act is the person who is in charge of the compound,” he said.

“I see that as carrying out the instructions of the principal who was on the complex… I believe then and I believe now I was carrying out a legitimate instruction… Failing to carry out a legitimate instruction he probably could have brought charges against me under the Education Act.” (SC)

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