CAPE Theatre Arts Teachers Pen Open Letter to CXC

To Whom It May Concern,

I must bring to your attention something of great distress to our teachers and students. CXC has maintained that the CAPE Performing Arts students MUST do the production for Unit 2 Performing Arts Dance and Drama. The teachers have been trying over the past week or so to figure out a way forward with the final practical exams and have come to no end. These are the facts to be considered.

1. CSEC (Form 5) Productions for Dance and Drama has been omitted while CAPE’s (Form 6) Production is supposed to be continued.

2. There are NO AUGMENTATIONS TO THE TIME LIMIT for the production which is to last 45 minutes to over an hour YET we have been given less than half the time to prepare before the students go into examinations.

3. The syllabus states that students are to be given at least 6 weeks to prepare for the production which must be done before the examination period begins.

4. Health regulations and the CXC memo requires that students must be socially distanced while doing THEATRE!!! Our curriculum officers admit that THEY ARE UNSURE as to how this can be done on a stage since the ensemble nature of theatre work, the exam and it’s examinable objectives go against the performance of social distancing…. Not to mention that based on the current conditions the objectives CANNOT be met!!!

5. It is IMPOSSIBLE to prepare a professional practitioner to do a 30 minute theatrical performance in three weeks much less to have our students do one or more as some schools must do multiple productions due to class size. Why is CXC doing this to the students?

6. Other countries around the Caribbean are not even opened up enough yet to use a Theatre space and this is a regional exam.

7. The students already have practical marks in place following their monodrama and just like the CSEC students, these marks can be used in lieu of the Production.

8. Some teachers reached out to the lecturer who wrote the syllabus for Unit 2 Drama, and she was also surprised with CXC’s decision to leave the exam in as she has retired from the organisation and has no influence on the decision making.

9. University lecturers across the region in various tertiary schools and departments of Creative and Performing Arts have expressed shock and sadness that the exam is still on for these young budding practitioners as it is an unnecessary stressor with an impossible outcome.

10. The suggested use of multimedia productions by CXC bring into play an added cost and formatting for this year’s students and teachers. This also highlights the compounded lack of funding as teachers and students are disadvantaged from the absence of fundraising ventures normally performed to support the general needs for the production examination.

The foregoing are the main points that are in need of immediate attention for CXC. The exam needs to be scrapped as at this point asking the students to be assessed using that method meets none of the requirements that demand that assessments be fair, equitable, valid and give a fair result.

Our teachers cannot meet CXC’s requirements under our nation’s current health regulations for the Covid-19 pandemic, nor in the allotted preparation time given, nor with the lack of support that would have otherwise existed if schools were open for the general school populace (supporting cast, makeup, lighting, set design etc). Please, get this message to the decision makers of CXC. I am unsure if they are even aware of the requirements as they exist in the syllabus but they are asking for something that no student in the entire Caribbean can give.

Thank you for your continued support.

Regards,

CAPE Performing Arts Teachers… EVERYWHERE!

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