EXCLUSIVE: Students Receive Wrong Grades in FBE Exams | RALPH CANTAVE

** Exclusively on SXM Talks, articles by Ralph Cantave **


~ Parents voice concerns ~
The annual Foundation Based Education (FBE) primary school exit exam raised mixed emotions and shock among parents, students and teachers due to an error in the grading of several exam papers. Sixth graders from several schools were either elated with their results or saddened until it was revealed that some students who obtain undesirable grades actually scored high and others with high grades were much lower or average. This led to a barrage of questions from some parents and educators but silence from government administrators and the Ministry of Education. 
The St. Dominic primary school was at least one of the schools where several students were affected along with another public school, but it’s currently uncertain how many schools were involved and the total number of students who received conflicting grades. The Minister of Education, Youth, Culture and Sport, Drs. Rodolphe Samuel responded to queries on the situation and stated that the mix up was caused by an insert error of the excel file. One extra student was added to the list and “everything shifted.” Samuel stated that the error which took place mid-June was rectified, however the Minister was not aware of how many students or schools were affected. This lack of clarity begs for a detailed explanation. The head of the Division of Examinations Department, Yvette Halley was contacted but opted not to comment.
Among recent cases, a student whose parent contested the results was called in and met with officials to corroborate the parent’s suspicion that the grade was an error. This parent was confident that the child excelled in the exam and after deliberation the correct grades were rendered. Had the parent not insisted and the authorities obliged, the student would have been totally miscatogorized or misplaced in the school system. 
In the case of another student, an undesirable grade was received which depressed the child for some time. Parents and family consoled the minor although the family thought the child overreacted. Some time after when the school called to say there was an error the saddened state of the child was disrupted. While the family was thankful they were dismayed by the realization that the child’s complaint were indeed justified. Their blind trust could have derailed a child’s education trajectory. A following situation for example, regards a next parent and child who exacted vigor and joy after celebrating and cheering the results which indicated a high performance. However, those sentiments were downcast upon receiving the correct results which indicated that the student “just got by.”
Although there are other situations, the warranted explanation from the Minister and department would address the insecurity of other parents who simply accepted the results while maintaining doubts. It is pivotal that parents and stakeholders are certain that students have their accurate grades. Had parents and students not fight for rectification in some cases, the lack of confidence placed on the children’s true results or capability could have changed their entire lives for the worse. One student for example was accepted to go to St. Dominic High School and St. Maarten Academy but was informed that the child passed to go to the Sundial. Therefore, is it absolutely guaranteed that every student who graduated during the course of the month has their correct grades?
Sources have expressed discrepancies in the hiring process of a personnel that led to the grading errors. It leaves to question, what is being done to ensure that such an error is avoidable in the future and what is the criteria for persons who are employed to grade examination papers?
Further questions were sent to the Minister for response.

By Ralph Cantave