The Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) has so far been unable to defend the integrity and reliability of its 2018 CPEA preliminary results for St Vincent and the Grenadines, amid allegations of score manipulation/results tampering. Plumbline Research and Consultancy, which sought to engage CXC on the matter, understands that the examinations (both SBA and External exams) were processed entirely in St Vincent for the first time since the inception of the CPEA examinations.
The story of the alleged irregularities in the reporting of the CPEA results was first drawn to the attention of the Vincentian public on June 19 via News784, an online news agency, in an article captioned: SVG CPEA Results Appear Flawed.
On July 18, the matter was formally drawn to the attention of CXC in a correspondence forwarded to the registrar’s office by Plumbline Research and Consultancy (“Plumbline”), which represents one of the top CPEA performers. That initial communication alleged “results tampering/score manipulation of internal assessment scores, External exams scores, and presumably the top position outcomes of the exams.” The following requests were made, in light of the evidence presented:
i. CXC conducts a complete external review/remarking of the entire CPEA examinations outside/independent of personnel in St Vincent and the Grenadines, and subsequently issue final examinations results from CXC headquarters in Barbados.
ii. CXC provides, as was done as recently as 2017, the informational report/booklet to parents/guardians on his/her child’s performance in the 2018 CPEA exams.
Four additional actions were suggested to the Registrar and CEO of CXC to determine the causes of the alleged irregularities and prevent future reoccurrence.
Registrar Glenroy Cumberbatch chose not to reply to the substance of that July 18 correspondence. On July 30, the matter was drawn to the attention of CXC Chair Sir Hilary Beckles through a Plumbline forwarded correspondence. On August 8, the registrar’s office was again asked to engage the matter; and on August 22, a second correspondence was sent to the chair of CXC, requesting action. After four occasions of writing to CXC, twice to the Registrar and twice to the Chair, CXC replied to the substantive claims raised and the requests for action.
In a correspondence dated August 24, chair of CXC Sir Hilary Beckles replied: “After a thorough review of the claims made… CXC has found no evidence to support the claim of irregularities in the reporting of  CPEA examination results” for St Vincent and the Grenadines. The chairman affirmed that the results referenced in communications with CXC were “prepared and presented to the Ministry of Education, National Reconciliation, and Ecclesiastical Affairs and the presentations designed to be fit for purpose” (Appendix 14).
In view of CXC’s dismissal of all claims of irregularities, on August 31, CXC was invited to address the following questions/irregularities in the reported preliminary results:
1. In an examination of 50 multiple-choice questions, which was later weighted at 1.5 the raw mark out of 50 to get a mark out of 75 (e.g. 46 x 1.5 = 69/75 or 47 x 1.5 = 70.5 rounded 71/75 or 48 x 1.5 = 72/75 or 50 x 1.5 = 75/75), how is it possible for a top-performer (C Gieowarsingh) to get a mark of 70/75?
2. The SVG ministry of education’s official press released informed of the highest subject scores. A score of 71/75 (94%) was reported as the highest score for Math. How, then, does CXC explain a top-performer (M Gumbs) getting a score card with a Math score of 72/75 (96%)?
3. Why was the SBA/Internal mark of K Williams moderated/lowered from 195/200 to 193/200, especially since the SBA marks of her classmates were not moderated?
4. Why were the SBA/Internal marks of “1st” and “3rd” place performers, both of whom attended the Kingstown Preparatory School, moderated upward to 200/200? (See Appendix 2 – Statistical summary and analysis of CPEA 2018 results)
CXC Registrar Glenroy Cumberbatch replied on September 3, on the behalf of CXC chair Sir Beckles. The one-sentence reply acknowledged receipt of the August 31 correspondence, which invited responses to the irregularities detailed above. No other communication has since been received from CXC. Is CXC unable to defend the integrity and reliability of St Vincent’s CPEA preliminary results?
Plumbline Research and Consultancy
On behalf of Krista Williams/the Williams’ family