Learning

CXC Going Live with Electronic Marking in 2014

CXC LogoThe Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) is utilising electronic marking or e-marking for some of its scripts for the 2014 May/June examination sitting.

The Council will be marking 11 papers in seven Caribbean Secondary Education (CSEC) subjects using the e-marking technology provided by the UK-based company RM.

The seven subjects with papers being e-marked this year are Biology, Chemistry, Human and Social Biology, Integrated Science, Physics, Principles of Accounts and Principles of Business.

As part of the preparation for e-marking, 22 Chief Examiners, Assistant Chief Examiners and Team Assistants had their final training session  last week at CXC’s Headquarters in Barbados by CXC and RM to use of the e-marking tool called RM Results. The 22 persons were taken through the steps for the standardisation and script-marking processes using the RM Results e-marking software.

CXC will open the system for markers to commence live e-marking on Friday 20 June and markers who have been trained and who are approved for e-marking will have a four-week window to complete the scripts assigned to them.

“E-marking will help CXC to capture a lot more detailed information than we were able to do with paper-based marking, and improve our analysis of the examinations, down to the level of the questions,” explained Mrs Brendalee Cato, Assistant Registrar – Measurement and Evaluation working on e-marking. “The accuracy of the scoring will improve and the likelihood of errors is significantly reduced since the system automatically calculates scores as the script is being marked,” Mrs Cato added.

In 2013 CXC used the e-marking software to e-mark two subjects: Integrated Science and Physics. These subjects were marked using both the traditional paper-based format along with the e-marking tool as part of the experiment. The result showed a high correlation between the scripts marked face to face and the same scripts marked using e-marking. This provided the confidence for CXC to increase the number of subjects and papers in 2014.

CXC wishes to assure the public that the move to e-marking does not compromise its usual high standard of quality assurance. The e-marking solution enhances some of the quality assurance procedures and will result in more detailed analysis of examination performance.

Caribbean School Northgate College Wins Global Award for Space Experiment

Front (L-R): Yoland La Pierre (NGC Director), Charise Laveau, Shanade Ali, Chaela Wooding, Jenae Edwards, Shaniah Rudden, Jeanelle Looby (Teacher) Middle: (L-R) James Mohammed,   Ethan Wilson, Nicholas Maharaj, Phillip Janes, Brian Ripoll, Arendel Owen Back (L-R): Zachary Joel, Daniel Harper,  Sebastian Rudden, Conrad Taitt, Brandon Wooding, Deron Khelawan, Ruth Rudden (Teacher)
Front (L-R): Yoland La Pierre (NGC Director), Charise Laveau, Shanade Ali, Chaela Wooding, Jenae Edwards, Shaniah Rudden, Jeanelle Looby (Teacher)
Middle: (L-R) James Mohammed, Ethan Wilson, Nicholas Maharaj, Phillip Janes, Brian Ripoll, Arendel Owen
Back (L-R): Zachary Joel, Daniel Harper, Sebastian Rudden, Conrad Taitt, Brandon Wooding, Deron Khelawan, Ruth Rudden (Teacher)

ST. AUGUSTINE, TRINIDAD. You wouldn’t normally expect to hear a conversation about “ionization in the earth’s atmosphere” happening between a group of twelve to fourteen year-old youngsters. But that conversation is exactly what led enterprising youth from the Caribbean nation of Trinidad and Tobago to the top prize in the Cubes In Space global contest.

Seven students from NorthGate College, in Trinidad and Tobago, captured the 2014 Cubes In Space™ MPAC Group Top Design Award, for a science experiment that will be launched into space on June 26.

One member of the team, thirteen-year-old, Deron Khelawan confidently explained, “the Ionization Investigation seeks to measure the extent to which an electromagnetic field is generated as the payload moves through the ionosphere.”

Their creative idea did not only impress their teachers and parents; it impressed a global panel of judges that included some of the finest minds in the aerospace industry.

“The quality of thought and depth of understanding of the science behind their experiment far exceeded most of what was submitted to us by other schools and countries. The NASA engineers to whom we have shown the proposal and video were utterly impressed and astounded that the application was submitted by middle-school aged students,” said Agee-DeHart, Founder of the Cubes In Space program.

The Cubes In Space program is a partnership between Rubik Learning Initiative, idoodlesoftwareinc., the Colorado Space Grant Consortium’s RockSat-C program and supported by the Sounding Rocket Program Office at NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility.

Yolande La Pierre, Director at the St Augustine-based secondary school was elated when she received news of the award.  “This achievement is a real testament to the potential that lives within our children.  It means a lot for us and for our education system to see their creativity, determination and teamwork rewarded in this way.

In a male-dominated science world, La Pierre was quick to point that there were six girls in the winning NorthGate team. One of them, twelve-year-old Chaela Wooding said. “Our project was a lot of fun, but we had to quickly learn about space and how it relates to our ordinary classes.  It was a lot of hard work for us, but we were able to get it all done in time. Now we’re all waiting to see what will happen when our cube actually goes into space.”

21st Century Skills

“The goals of the Cubes in Space program are to show students the interconnections between Science, Technology, Engineering, Math, Arts and Communications concepts and to teach students to become analytical and effective thinkers. Throughout the experience, students acquired key 21st century skills necessary for success in a highly connected, global society,” said Amber Agee-DeHart.

“The award validated our school’s holistic, values-based approach to education”, said Dr. Noel Woodroffe, Chairman and Founder of NorthGate College, adding, “We have always nurtured our students to think beyond the curriculum. The Cubes in Space program presented a wonderful opportunity for us to witness this in action as the teamwork, creativity and excellence we strive to instill, were on full display. This is indeed a proud moment for our Northgate College family across the world.”

NorthGate is an education initiative of Congress WBN, a global non-profit led by Dr. Woodroffe, with operations in over 85 countries.  The school, which started in Trinidad in 1999, now has centers in Jamaica, Kenya and Zambia and soon will shape more young minds for the 21st century with new centers in Nigeria and New Zealand.

Team member Zachary Joel, captured this international outlook of the school, saying, “Our teachers always tell us we are global and borderless. With this project I learned we can be borderless inside of a 4cm cube.”

Nurturing Young Minds

“Nurturing the young minds of the future with programs like Cubes In Space helps build the business and scientific leaders of tomorrow,” said Nicholas Andrews, Managing Director of The MPAC Group, London, sponsor of the Cubes in Space Top Design Award.

For NorthGate, building global leaders is already a deliberate target, and technology is the enabler. Their students in Trinidad and Tobago regularly use the Internet to connect with other NorthGate  counterparts around the globe. Teachers also use technology to allow experts and mentors from around the world to share their experience with eager youngsters.

That comfort with the technology allowed them to interview engineers and physicists from the Caribbean, US and the UK in the process of moving their idea from a concept to an actual experiment.  The team saw no limits to what they could accomplish.

“Everyone’s idea counted; whether it’s something minor like coming up with the name for the experiment, or the design for cube, or tools we could use. But everyone had to be confident with their contribution. We told ourselves even though we are from a small island in the Caribbean, we can make an impact on the world,” said fourteen-year-old team member Sebastian Rudden.

To Infinity and Beyond

And what an impact they are already making. The Northgate College experiment along with the other designs from around the world will be launched into space via sounding rocket from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, VA on June 26th, 2014.

Well before their experiment launches into space, though, the buzz around the achievement of NorthGate will already have been lifted through the stratosphere.

Bevil Wooding: Cubes In Space to Bolster Caribbean Education

Students from the Caribbean have the opportunity to compete with their counterparts from around the world to have their experiments launched into space. The payload will later be returned to the students for analysis.

In the region, the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC); regional Internet and cable service provider, Columbus International Inc.; the BrightPath Foundation, a technology-education non-profit, and the Caribbean Science Foundation; are collaborating to promote the competition in schools and youth organizations across the Caribbean.

Didacus Jules, CEO of CXC, the examining body that provides educational certifications in 21 English and Dutch speaking Caribbean Territories, is excited about the possibility for the Caribbean to be part of the initiative.

“Realizing the creative and intellectual potential of the Caribbean requires a multidisciplinary approach, both inside and outside of the classroom. Initiatives such as these should be encouraged and commended.

Scientists, from Aristotle and Einstein through to the great inventors of our generation have long extoled the value of curiosity to the process of discovery and innovation. Humans have an extraordinary capacity for continuous learning. The basic questions of “Why?” and “How?” are common in childhood. However, without incentive or opportunity, that natural curiosity can fade as we move into adulthood.

Creating and maintaining a healthy scientific curiosity about the world around us is the foundation of lifelong learning.   It is also one of the drivers behind a new global initiative, called Cubes in SpaceTM, designed for students aged 11-14 years old to develop STEM-based experiments for launch into space.

STEM is an acronym referring to the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics. The Cubes In Space™ program is a no?cost, global design competition that is part of a collaboration with Rubik Learning Initiative, the U.S. Space Agency, NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility, idoodlesoftware inc. and the Colorado Space Grant Consortium’s RockSat C program, to commemorate the 40th Anniversary of the universally popular Rubik’s Cube.

“Leveraging the excitement of space exploration, the Cubes In Space program offers students and educators the opportunity to learn about the methodology for taking an idea from design through the review process. Such knowledge and skills are essential for 21st century learners, workers, and citizens” said Amber Agee-DeHart, Founder of the Cubes In Space program.

In a technology-enabled world, skillsets in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics are foundational to the jobs and careers of the future. In emerging markets like Latin America and the Caribbean, STEM professions are crucial to sustaining development and addressing the complex challenges that must be overcome to build communities and transform nations. The problems of the future, need solutions-oriented thinkers to be nurtured today.

“The goals of the Cubes in Space program are to show students the interconnections between STEM concepts and to teach students to become analytical and effective thinkers capable of taking more difficult courses and pursuing technical careers in the future,” said Agee-DeHart.

Agee-DeHart is part of the Rubik Learning Initiative (RLI), which provides educational tools, programs and global expertise “to foster the development of creative and multilateral thinking”. She explained that Cubes In Space initiative will expose students and educators to RLI-developed, content and activities to prepare them for the design and development of an experimental payload to be deployed into a small 40mm Cube.

“To keep the students engaged between submission of their projects and the actual launch date, students would be given online access to a resource website where they will be able to interact with virtual mentors from the engineering design team members,” said Robert Sowah, CEO of Idoodlesoftware Inc (www.idoodlesoftware.com)., a Canada-based education software company that is supporting the initiative.

Sowah explained that Cube projects selected from around the world, will be loaded into a canister to be launched via sounding rocket from NASA Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, VA in late June 2014.

A video of the Cubes In Space launch will be available for all participants to view the progress of the stages before launch such as packing of their payload into the canister and integration into the rocket. After the launch, each project will be returned to the schools or organizations for students to observe and examine the effects of spaceflight and analyze the data. A formal survey and evaluation process accompanies the entire program to measure the degree to which goals and objectives were met and to learn ways to improve the program for the following years.

Get Involved

Teachers and educators around the world can register online for the Cubes In Space program through the website http://www.cubesinspace.com

The final registration date is April 18th, 2014 with the launch into space via sounding rocket from NASA Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, Virginia, USA, on June 26th, 2014.

Registrants will be given access to the background and instructional materials, lessons, and activities that would prepare students for the design through to the review process.

Once registered, students will be required to create a succinct proposal presentation that explains and pitches their design to be submitted as part of their application for spaceflight. Winning designs would be announced at the end of April and receive their Cubes in which to integrate their payload.

The launch into space via sounding rocket from NASA Wallops Flight Facility on Wallops Island, VA, USA is carded for June 26th, 2014. Further details on the terms and conditions for the competition are available on the cubesinspace.com website.

Bevil Wooding is the Chief Knowledge Officer of Congress WBN (www.congresswbn.org), a values-based, international charity and the Executive Director of BrightPath Foundation, a technology education non-profit organization. Reach him on Twitter @bevilwooding or on facebook.com/bevilwooding or contact via email at technologymatters@brightpathfoundation.org.

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