by Curlan Campbell, NOW Grenada
- Secondary schools have almost completed submission of SBA grades CXC
- GUT reminded that marking SBAs not considered normal classroom duties
- SBAs are part of normal assessment duties in accordance with Education Act
Secondary schools have almost completed submission of School-Based Assessment (SBA) grades to the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC), despite calls made by the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) to not do so.
Minister for Education, Human Resource Development & Religious Affairs, Hon. Emmalin Pierre during Tuesday’s post-cabinet briefing said 17 schools met the Friday, 29 March deadline. Late submission from the other 5 schools was due to technical difficulties experienced using the online registration system.
“At the end of Friday, there were 17 schools of the 22 secondary schools entering their scores online, at the end of Monday we had a total of 19 out of 22 schools and that was yesterday. I would anticipate that today we should have 22 out of 22. There have been some technical glitches…the experience of the online system not from our end. Of course, it’s a regional system and we have brought this to the attention of the CXC. We have had calls from all the schools who missed the deadline asking for an additional one or 2-day extension.”
On Monday, 1 April a release reassured parents that “We have also been having strategic dialogue with the regional examinations body to address any issues that may arise. We, therefore, remain confident that no student would be adversely affected by any delays in the submission of pertinent documents to the Caribbean Examinations Council.”
Last week, President of the Grenada Union of Teachers (GUT) Lydon Lewis issued a release reminding teachers that they are not obligated to mark SBAs since this is not considered normal classroom duties. During a recent interview, Lewis said the union’s position on that matter has and will not change. “[A] teacher’s responsibility is just to prepare and teach the curriculum that will lead the student to sit in these exams. Now CXC pays for some marking of papers however CXC has refused to pay for the marking of SBAs. The SBAs are not part of the regular teacher’s duties.”
The Ministry of Education has shared a different view, citing section 128 of the Education Act which speaks to the duties of teachers. According to the section 128 paragraph (e) of subsection (1) of the act states that every teacher in an educational institution must review with students their assessments and progress and advise students of the expectations for them.
“SBAs are part of the normal assessment of students and we expect that this would form part of the regular assessment duties in accordance with the Education Act of our teachers. Now it is not unique to Grenada that teachers feel that they should be paid additional because for many they feel that the last-minute extra work that has to be done. For some, they think that is a lot of work to be done at the end of the period, but we are saying, if SBAs are done in the way that is prescribed to be done, we should not have what is happening now. So, at this stage, a child should not be starting an SBA… or a child should not be rushing all over the place to get things done. What we expect would be happening is that over the period the consistency, the continuous process would eliminate a lot of that end work that some [people] have,” Minister Pierre said.
Minister Pierre also commended teachers for their cooperation in the fulfillment of their duties stating that she is not aware of any case where teachers refuse to mark SBAs. The ministry extended an invitation for the GUT to engage the ministry to discuss the issues.
Last year CXC outlined the following tasks should fit into the normal work done in the classroom by teachers:
- Provide quality feedback to the students on their work and allow them to revise their SBA based on the feedback
- Manage the SBA as part and parcel of the teaching and learning process
- Understand what SBA tasks are to be done and how they are to be done
- Give students adequate opportunities to practice similar tasks
- Mark practical work according to SBA standards
- Be aware of the criteria being used in assessment and assess assignments competently.
Lewis has accused CXC of increasing the workload of teachers over the last few years.
“In the past, few sciences had SBAs. CXC now has made it compulsory for every subject to have SBAs thereby increasing the workload of many teachers. Now given that one teacher may teach 2 or 3 CXC subjects at the examination level, before where they had to do only one group of SBAs now they have to do 3 sets of SBAs for that 3 subjects that they are teaching…you can argue that previously the teachers marked it, but with the increasing workload is becoming more disadvantageous to the teachers and is now creating a problem since teachers have to spend extra hours day and night marking these SBAs trying to meet a deadline by the government and CXC.”