SBAs not so hard, says former CXC administrator

Barbadian teachers are being offered advice on how to lighten the work involved in correcting school-based assessment (SBA) projects for the Caribbean Examination Council (CXC).

Former CXC Head of Examinations Administration and Security Susan Giles said the secret lies in getting back to basics.

“What I think is important for teachers to remember is that school-based assessment in many instances is a two-year programme. And rather than leave it as a one-shot thing for fourth and fifth term, what I would suggest to them is that they utilize their first, second and third terms as good as possible so that they stay true to what SBA is. SBA is a process, it is not a one-off product to be marked,” Giles told Barbados TODAY.

“It wouldn’t be considered as so much work, but I think a lot of it has to do with that they need to get back to the basics of how SBAs should be. What some of them may not even know is that in the old days of CXC, it used to capture year one SBA scores as well as year two. Not just a final score.”

The Barbados Secondary Teachers’ Union (BSTU) has been engaged in a long running battle with the Ministry of Education over the SBAs, with the union insisting its members will not mark the projects unless they are paid for this service.

The BSTU has maintained that SBA is a private examination that falls outside the curriculum, and it adds significantly to teachers’ workload.

However, Giles said it would appear that in some schools teachers were waiting until the end of the second year to mark the projects, which could account for complaints “about how much work it is and how much marking it is”.

Stressing that she was not prepared to enter the debate over whether or not teachers should be paid for the yearly evaluation exercise, the former CXC official told Barbados TODAY it was up to teachers to make the SBA a lot more “teacher friendly”, explaining that the process could be made a lot easier if teachers stuck to clear deadlines.

Giles added that assignments that were not part of group projects should be given as homework or should be done in class.

“You make it class work or ask the students to do it as homework. That is all I am saying. Don’t make it extra. Don’t add it as an extra. Schools in the region that do well are schools that really and truly where the process is well managed. But I think what I have to make clear is that it is a process. SBA is a process it is not a one-off product marking. It is not expected to be done like that,” she insisted.

The former CXC administrator said the SBA was designed to help students who did not do well “in the examination environment”, adding that parents also had a critical role to play in ensuring their children meet the deadlines.

11 Responses to SBAs not so hard, says former CXC administrator

  1. Jus Breezy
    Jus Breezy April 4, 2017 at 1:40 am

    She should know that one, CXC recommends that subjects get at least 5 teaching periods a year, in most schools they get 4, with the exception of English and Math, so that means teachers are already pressed to finish the syllabus. 2. You have to teach the theory first. 3. She still has not addressed the introduction of CCSLC which is what teachers are really complaining about, also the electronic requirement. It is easy for her to see things from her glass house on a hill.

    • Ione Mitchell
      Ione Mitchell April 4, 2017 at 2:17 am

      It’s I never climbed a mountain but I preach that doing so is not hard

    • Jus Breezy
      Jus Breezy April 4, 2017 at 5:53 am

      I love that one!

    • Dawn A. P Alleyne
      Dawn A. P Alleyne April 4, 2017 at 6:59 am

      The “administrators”. Wonder how many drafts they read that come back the same way as the first one. 5, 6, 7 drafts per subject from one child by 30 plus in a class times two classes or more at CSEC…… not to mention the eight SBAs in Social Studies alone that each CCSLC student must do . Some teachers have two/ three CCSLC classes. Let’s not Forget CAPE. Some people teach two subjects at CAPE. I could go on but …..

    • Dawn A. P Alleyne
      Dawn A. P Alleyne April 4, 2017 at 7:01 am

      Got home last night after 8 pm …………from school and still worked on them after.

  2. Denise Blackman
    Denise Blackman April 4, 2017 at 6:08 am

    Since it not hard you and CXC should pay to get them done.

  3. Dave Person
    Dave Person April 4, 2017 at 6:10 am

    She sound like she makeing sense to me but What does the current person at CXC responsible for this say?

  4. Stanton Peace
    Stanton Peace April 4, 2017 at 6:52 am

    CXC from the millions it has made over the years,needs to get their own staff to correct their own papers and stop confusing the teachers. This is what Minister jones need to tell CXC,they currently cover 16 caribbean islands and certainly are not a non-profit organisation. Go and spend back some of the profits you are making and leave the teachers alone. As a former cxc administrator miss susan giles,we know CXC did not ask you to work for free as they now want to do to our teachers,but you were paid an attractive salary plus benefits.

  5. Carolyn Gill Humphrey
    Carolyn Gill Humphrey April 4, 2017 at 6:54 am

    She makes it sound easy doesn’t she? From my experience of my children’s SBAs though, there are many issues the teachers face that make their job harder. It’s not as simple as making it an ongoing thing rather than a rush at the end. Sure, for the sciences it’s not hard – one experiment per week, written up properly and marked immediately afterwards, no problem. Other SBAs rely on material that may not be taught in term 1 of form 4, so it cannot be started on right away. Even if it can be started early, students don’t cooperate; so many procrastinate. Yes you could be ruthless with your deadlines and give zeros or incompletes where necessary, but then has the goal of taking away some of the stress off the final exam been achieved? If teachers had adequate class time to complete the syllabus to begin with they could hold extra sessions on report writing etc to help their students do a better job and perhaps cut down on some of the revisions they have to do when they finally receive the first, second and third drafts. But there is no time for that. In all of this I am talking about teachers who come to class and make the most of their time – imagine all those teachers who miss a lot of classes! I guess if they are missing class for their own selfish reasons then they can’t complain when they are burdened at the end, but if they are missing due to illness or other duties imposed on them by their school they will have a hard time getting through. This topic is just not as simple as portrayed.

  6. Sheron Inniss April 4, 2017 at 11:46 am

    I attended CXC’s 40th anniversary lecture. The Mighty Chalkdust made me laugh when he insulted the same CXC and the Ministry of Education(at least that is how it seemed to me) of T&T in one breath whilst giving that lecture. I read the article and said Lord come for your world. The Barbadian teachers deserved to be paid; no if, buts or maybe(s).

  7. I m Awesome April 4, 2017 at 9:54 pm

    Is she talking about ONE SBA per subject? In that case it would be real easy to do. No HSTs off to you Ms Giles.


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