The shift system may have adversely high school students’ performances in the CXC CSEC exams this year, according to Education, Youth Affairs and Sports Minister Sharie De Castro.

During a House of Assembly sitting on Oct. 25, Ms. De Castro noted the difference between the time recommended by the CXC for each subject and the schedule offered by the shift system that Elmore Stoutt High School has often used since Hurricane Irma.

In many cases, she said, ESHS classroom time was as much as 40 percent below the CXC recommendations. Only English A and theatre arts were scheduled to fit the weekly hours recommended by the CXC, she said.

Nevertheless, she said, the pass rate was 100 percent for 10 subjects, including agricultural science, Caribbean history, and family and resource management.

In other subjects, however, students didn’t fare as well. For example, the pass rate for English A was 96 percent (an increase of over 12 percent from last year), and the pass rate for mathematics was 56 percent (an increase of nearly nine percent from last year).

“This year, the subject which resulted in the least acceptable pass rate was industrial technology (electrical), at 28.57 percent,” Ms. De Castro said.

Planned return

The minister added that the planned return to full days of schooling later this year should make a difference. She didn’t specify when this would happen, but it is dependent on the completion of the new ESHS buildings.

“With the much-anticipated change from the shift system to full-day schooling this year, with the exception of the sciences all subjects will be allotted the recommended time or more than the recommended time,” she said. “Recommended times from CXC are based on two-year timeframes; our schedule is based on a three-year schedule for most students. Our advanced students, however, are able to take CSEC examinations in two years.”