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‘CXC determines SEA school placement’

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‘CXC determines SEA school placement’

The Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion is de­fend­ing the place­ment of stu­dents in pub­lic and pri­vate sec­ondary schools fol­low­ing the re­sults of the 2019 Sec­ondary En­trance As­sess­ment (SEA) ex­am as of­fi­cials yes­ter­day demon­strat­ed the trans­par­ent process used to as­sign per­sons.

Pedro Enrique Loyo Diaz

Dis­miss­ing a re­port by poll­ster Dr Nigel Hen­ry over the week­end—which raised ques­tions re­gard­ing the as­sign­ment of stu­dents to sec­ondary schools—a team from the Min­istry of Ed­u­ca­tion pro­vid­ed a rare look in­to how the scores are cal­cu­lat­ed and the place­ment process is car­ried out.

Pedro Loyo

Chief Ed­u­ca­tion Of­fi­cer, Har­ri­lal Seecha­ran said: “The da­ta pre­sent­ed by the au­thor, Dr Nigel Hen­ry is to­tal­ly er­ro­neous and many of the as­ser­tions made in the ar­ti­cle are fun­da­men­tal­ly flawed.” He de­nied any at­tempt was made ei­ther by the au­thor or pub­lish­er (not this news­pa­per) to ver­i­fy the in­for­ma­tion that ap­peared in the pub­lic do­main.

Pedro Loyo Diaz

Claim­ing this was a vi­o­la­tion of ba­sic jour­nal­is­tic prin­ci­ples, Seecha­ran out­lined the cri­te­ria used to de­ter­mine how and where stu­dents are as­signed

He said: “SEA place­ment is con­trolled by a mod­ule which has been de­vel­oped by CXC. It is lo­cat­ed at CXC and that mod­ule ac­tu­al­ly per­forms all the cal­cu­la­tions whether it is stu­dents’ scores or num­bers dur­ing the place­ment ex­er­cise.”

“Per­sons with­in the lo­cal place­ment team ba­si­cal­ly have no con­trol of, or the abil­i­ty to make any changes.”

Seecha­ran as­sured: “The in­for­ma­tion pro­vid­ed by the min­istry would be in terms of the num­ber of spaces avail­able in schools which is in­put at the lev­el of CXC and then the cal­cu­la­tion is car­ried out.”

The SEA place­ment cri­te­ria are based on mer­it (score stu­dents’ ob­tain in the ex­am); parental choice; the prin­ci­pal’s 20 per cent se­lec­tion; gen­der; res­i­dence; and mul­ti­ple births

In the case of twins/triplets, Seecha­ran said: “We have had this pol­i­cy in place for a num­ber of years where when we are treat­ing with mul­ti­ple births…once one child gets a score which takes them in­to a par­tic­u­lar school, the oth­er side is au­to­mat­i­cal­ly placed in so in those in­stances, you may find one of the stu­dents may end up with a low­er score.”

As­sis­tant Di­rec­tor, Di­vi­sion of Ed­u­ca­tion­al Re­search and Ed­u­ca­tion, Kami­ni Bha­ga­loo en­dorsed CXC’s role in the place­ment ex­er­cise as she said: “CXC man­ages and con­trols the place­ment process. As such, place­ment is con­duct­ed re­mote­ly via a team with­in the MOE.”

She added: “CXC con­ducts all the cal­cu­la­tions and they cal­i­brate the sys­tem in terms of the in­take for each school.”

Car­ry­ing out a sim­u­la­tion ex­er­cise dur­ing which she pre­sent­ed ex­act­ly how CXC would de­ter­mine place­ment, Bha­ga­loo said: “There is no pre­de­ter­mined way of fill­ing the schools. What im­pacts on the fill­ing of the schools would be the stu­dents’ choic­es.”

Seecha­ran re­it­er­at­ed, “The or­der of plac­ing stu­dents in schools is based on their scores and choic­es.”

“In a gov­ern­ment-school, since we place 100 per cent, the last stu­dent based on mer­it who se­lect­ed the school…that score is the min­i­mum score re­quired to get in.” He said the lone ex­cep­tion would be in the case of mul­ti­ple births

Re­gard­ing the 20 per cent place­ment of stu­dents at de­nom­i­na­tion­al sec­ondary schools, Seecha­ran said: “Those are things with­in the ju­ris­dic­tion of the prin­ci­pals. The 20 per cent is in­tend­ed to main­tain the re­li­gious flavour of the school and there­fore in a lot of in­stances, stu­dents would be se­lect­ed based on their af­fil­i­a­tion with the par­tic­u­lar de­nom­i­na­tion­al board, whether that is done through par­ents ap­proach­ing the prin­ci­pals.”