Jump in exam success rate for Class of 2011

| 22/09/2011

(CNS): This year’s graduating class achieved the highest ever external examination results recorded for the Cayman Islands public school system, with 45% of Year 12 students in 2011  attaining five or more Level 2 passes in external examinations (A*-C in GCSE or IGCSE exams or I-III in CXCs). However, Brac students continue to significantly outperform their Grand Cayman peers, with seven of Cayman's top nine students graduating from the Layman E Scott Senior High School (formerly the Cayman Brac High School). The highest achieving student overall was Katherine Lazzari (left), with 12 high level passes, 11 with A*, A or grade 1, as well as the top score in the region in CXC Integrated Science.

According to Education Ministry officials, in 2007 only 27% (84 students) achieved five or more high level passes, which in just five years has jumped to 154 students in 2011 across government schools. In 2008, the national average for government schools was 28%.  Since 2008, results have shown significant improvement, rising to 38% in 2009 and 39% in 2010. 

Performance varied between Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac in 2011. In Grand Cayman, in a year group of some 310 students, 43% of students achieved five or more Level 2 passes. In Cayman Brac, students significantly outperformed the national average, with a 66% pass rate at this level, in a year group of 32. 

The percentage of students achieving Honours status, with seven or more Level 2 passes, also improved in 2011, with 22% (76 students) achieving this standard. Sixty-two of this year’s honors students attended JGHS/CIFEC in Grand Cayman, and a further 14 were from the Layman E. Scott Senior High School (LSHS) in Cayman Brac.

“Standards matter,” Education Minister Rolston Anglin told educators at the ministry’s official launch for the new school year. “Behind every percentage point increase are children whose life chances have improved, because they have reached an important threshold for further studies or the world of work. These results tell us that our Caymanian students can achieve at a high level and that our system can improve.  We must believe that every child can, should and will learn,” he said.

Chief Education Officer Shirley Wahler noted that the significance of what has been achieved in 2011 becomes clear when the results are compared with performance in previous years.  In 2005, for example, only 23% of students in Grand Cayman achieved five or more Level 2 passes at grades I-III or A*-C. More recently, the results came in at 25% in 2007 and 27% in 2008, rising to 36% in 2009 and 37% in 2010. 

In Cayman Brac, results have topped 60% before, with students attaining 65% in both 2006 and 2010.  In other years, results have varied between 45% in 2008, 48% in 2007 and 56% in 2009.

In his address, Minister Anglin encouraged educators to feel proud of what they had helped their students to achieve in 2011, but at the same time to commit to striving for even better results in the coming year. “These results should be celebrated, because they represent real progress and real effort, but they can and must still improve. The Ministry and DES will remain focused on challenging and supporting our schools to ensurethat our students’ performance continues to improve, and that we move ever closer to our goal of success for all of our students,” he noted.

Education Ministry Chief Officer, Mary Rodrigues, advised that a more detailed analysis of the external examination results, and other performance data, is being finalized, for use by the Department of Education Services (DES) and schools to identify specific strengths and weaknesses and to set targets for improvement, by school, subject and teacher. She explained that the DES, through the work of newly appointed Senior School Improvement Officers, has been tasked with engaging with schools to develop additional strategies for improving results even further in 2012.

“At the same time the ministry will be working with the DES to establish national targets for external examination performance.  We will also be focusing on raising standards in mathematics, a significant area of underperformance nationally,” Rodrigues said.

The following 2011 Year 12 students achieved notable success.

Name Island

Total high grade pases

Number A*, A or 1 passes
Katherine Lazzari Brac 12 11
Kerry Antunez Brac 14 9
Astrid Scott Brac 11 7
Jessica Thornton Brac 10 7
Amanda Dixon GCM 11 6
Manuel Gonzalez GCM 9 6
Nicholas Scott Brac 10 6
Jovanni Anglin Brac 11 5
Melgreen Reid Brac 10 5
Felicia Connor GCM 9 5
Kayla Parsons GCM 8 5
Christina McLean GCM 8 5
Kristi Chin-Sinn GCM 11 4
Shantel Zoya Coombs GCM 8 4
Alicia Thompson GCM 8 4
Nadiyah Abdul-Jabbar GCM 9 3
Renita Barnes GCM 8 3
Andrea Watler GCM 8 3
Kerseanna Ewers GCM 8 2
Davanni James GCM 8 1


Category: Local News

Comments (33)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    CNS: I've stated congratulations already below but was told there was another article on law student successes, including Ms. Thea Bush…where did it go?

    CNS: Walkers' sponsored students excel at CI Law School

  2. Anonymous says:

    The successes are excellent and we Brackers are proud – and proud of the Grand Caymanians too.  But we do have a real problem with the non academic kids, or, more correctly, those with different competencies. A while back Mr. Hundt started a very successful Water Sports program where graduates worked themselves into excellent jobs in the Tourism Industry. What happened to this sort of progam? Can we reignite VoTech training and help ALL students succeed please?

  3. Patrick Schmid says:


    Many congratulations to these students, their teachers and parents!

    It is sad to see the negativity displayed by some in light of such obvious excellence. What the destructive criticism demonstrates is irresponsible behaviour that contributes to the unfortunate criminality witnessed recently.

    A society's inability to simply acknowledge achievement's ultimately contributes to the undercurrents of defiant behaviour that has surfaced so explosively in recent times.

    Anyway, I will not pay any more credence to those who prefer to call "the glass half empty instead of half full."

    For the detractors however, it is worthwhile reminding them that these examinations are set by external examining bodies, graded by professionals in the UK and throughout the Caribbean! Cayman nor its Government can influence the outcome.

    Please try to focus on the facts!:  there is much good  being done! Even the world's most privileged societies do not enjoy 45% of their students qualifying  for tertiary education. In fact I believe the average amongst "first world" countries is nearer the 30% mark!

    CONGRATULATIONS ONCE AGAIN TO THE STUDENTS AND THEIR PARENTS! I sincerely hope that the success continues.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thanks for your comments, Patrick. A lot of negativity is spewed on here often with fabricated information such as the "illiteracy rate in Cayman is 65%". I thought the following information from Wiki.answers.com for the U.S. was a relevant comparison:

      Only 32% of all students leave high school qualified to attend four-year colleges.


      Only 70% of all students in public high schools graduate, and only 32% of all students leave high school qualified to attend four-year colleges. Only 51% of all black students and 52% of all Hispanic students graduate, and only 20% of all black students and 16% of all Hispanic students leave high school college-ready. The graduation rate for white students was 72%; for Asian students, 79%; and for American Indian students, 54%. The college readiness rate for white students was 37%; for Asian students, 38%; for American Indian students, 14%. Graduation rates in the Northeast (73%) and Midwest (77%) were higher than the overall national figure, while graduation rates in the South (65%) and West (69%) were lower than the national figure. The Northeast and the Midwest had the same college readiness rate as the nation overall (32%) while the South had a higher rate (38%) and the West had a lower rate (25%). The state with the highest graduation rate in the nation was North Dakota (89%); the state with the lowest graduation rate in the nation was Florida (56%). Due to their lower college readiness rates, black and Hispanic students are seriously underrepresented in the pool of minimally qualified college applicants. Only 9% of all college-ready graduates are black and another 9% are Hispanic, compared to a total population of 18-year-olds that is 14% black and 17% Hispanic. We estimate that there were about 1,299,000 college-ready 18-year-olds in 2000, and the actual number of persons entering college for the first time in that year was about 1,341,000. This indicates that there is not a large population of college-ready graduates who are prevented from actually attending college. The portion of all college freshmen that is black (11%) or Hispanic (7%) is very similar to their shares of the college-ready population (9% for both). This suggests that the main reason these groups are underrepresented in college admissions is that these students are not acquiring college-ready skills in the K-12 system, rather than inadequate financial aid or affirmative action policies


  4. WreX says:

    So, does this mean that 55% of the students will have to repeat year 12 until they actually have a high school education or will they just be burped out onto the streets to apply for the jobs that even some well educated and experience Caymanians can't get?

    • Anonymous says:

      They do have a  high school education. The 45% are those who obtained 5 or more good passes  – enough to get them into a US college. Actually we compare quite favourably to the US average which is 32%.

  5. Deirdre says:

    Congrats to the Class of 2011!!

    Keep up the good work!! Whilst only some the results have been published, many other students also did well and they all continue to do well.

    Many, many students are dedicated to their studies and we must as a community continue to support them to ensure that they have every opportunity to acheive their very best.

    Our students face many challenges these days, much more than I did 23 years ago. However, there are now more opportunities for them to pursue further education which many have already taken advatange of.

    Great job again to all students!

  6. Anonymous says:

    To 14:22

    There are so many hateful people in these islands that they do not even know when to be happy for each other. It really nerve me when I see a good cause and these haters choose to thumb down.  Congratulations to all the young people that are doing well in school. You really make a big difference.

  7. anonymous says:

    Congrats to these students.  However, what were the scores of the other 325??? CNS, Can we get a list like this posted? Also a list of those that dropped out in last two years enroute to the exams (no need for names just numbers in each category, it is a small island).


    Don't fool ourselves Cayman….it's the other 325 that are the centre of ALL of our  problems and are being disenfranchised by OUR system.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Concratulations to all students!

    It is really sad that people are still comparing Cayman Brac and Grand Cayman. Don't you think that the students in Grand Cayman (and anywhere else in the world) would excel if there were only 8 students in each class?  

    In Grand Cayman there are 20-25 students in a class with only one teacher and no assistant. In Cayman Brac there are 7-10 students in a class, so it would be a crying shame if those students did not excel. With the classes that small, they are guaranteed individual attention from the teacher.

    With over 20 students in a class, the only students likely to get undivided attention from the teacher are the ones with behavioural issues! Please don't let the students in Grand Cayman feel that they are not as smart, or didn't do as well as the Cayman Brac students. It is proven that the smaller the class size, the higher the achievement rate!

    Well done class of 2011!!!

    • In the Know says:

      Actually class sizes at CBHS (or LSHS as it is now called) can approach 20 – this year there are several classes that have 15 – 18 students in them, yet still these teachers manage to get excellent results from them. Four years ago (in my graduating year) my science group had 20 students and that class  got a 100% pass rate for Integrated Science and a 75% pass rate for Human & Social Biology – a 2 year course that students took in 1 year following the early completion of their CXC Science course.

      Also, if you look at class sizes elsewhere in the world, they are generally way over the 20 – 25 you find in Grand Cayman (probably closer to 35), yet average pass rates are higher than in the Cayman Islands, which should indicate that a) the Brac students (and teachers) are doing very well in comparison to Grand Cayman and b) that there is something seriously wrong with our education system if so many students fail to achieve passing grades compared to those elsewhere in the world being educated in larger classes yet still doing better.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Now that's what I like to see. Positive news on young people!! Good job all. And with much respect, I salute these young people for setting a fine example for your counterparts in GCM. It's just goes to show how a big city environment has corrupted GCM's young people and forced them to NOT be able to do things like run waves, climb trees, go fishing, study in quite surrondings, swimming…..etc. Thank God the Bracca's got their head on straight and giving their children a simple, loving childhood.  REMEMBER, LESS IS MORE 😉

  10. Anonymous says:

    It is sad that so many people still do not understand that we are 3 seperate islands but we are 1 Country. We should be working together and be proud of all the children who graduated and excelled not just those from "our" island.

    Congrartz to All of  You. You have all made your families proud and are examples to those who follow.

  11. Anonymous says:

    so they make the exams easier and you guys start clapping kuz they're passing now?

  12. Anonymous says:

    The boys in Cayman Brac did just fine thank you – Out of the 7 who excelled 4 of them were boys. Congratulations to all.

  13. Anonymous says:

    well done.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Congrats Katherine and all top performing students. You have made us proud.

  15. Proud says:

    Firts of all, I would like to congratulate the students both in GCM and CYB for their hard work. Now, as i sit and read these comments, I see this is why young people in our islands turn to the worst. Instead of every comment saying "well done" it always and caymanian/bracker issue. We are all one and we need to give these young people positive advice, by just telling the brac students they did good is not what it is all about, praise every one of them no matter which island they are from. Remember, it starts at home. I had my daughter at 20 years old and i am raising her and my son the same way my parents raise me because at the end of it all, when they both turn 18, i know that i have did the best for both of them.



    Congratulations to you and may you continue to make your parents proud and your siblings to follow in your path. May god continue to bless you.Keep your head high. You are just one of the examplesthat the youth of the Cayman Islands should follow.



  16. CI Native says:



    Davanni James and Felicia Connor both have made your parents proud!!




  17. Anonymous says:

    CONGRATS!! to all students who have done so well. I am big on our children gaining good grades in schools and i am glad that i can still see a lot of good and hope in Cayman's future. I truly wish only the best for our children and hope that they can go on to be decent productive citizens of the WORLD! THINK BIG.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dear "Thumbs down", can you please explain what in my post you did not agree with?

      • Nunsense says:

        Since you asked so nicely, our excessive and uncalled for use of the ccaps lock and your failure to capitalise "i" earned you a "thumbs down".



        • Anonymous says:

          Should I give you a thumbs down for typing 'our' intstead of 'your'?"  How about the extra 'c' on 'caps'? Silly!

  18. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations to all of our Cayman Brac students – we are so very very proud of you all and know that you worked very hard to achieve this. Great job too parents and grandparents. This is also what happens when you still have a village helping to raise your children – in Cayman Brac there are eyes everywhere.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Impressive results for these students who worked hard.

    At the same time I am quite disturbed at the number of boys on the list. It reinforces the view that we're graduating boys who are ill-equipped to make it in these modern times…..and the evidence is clear where this leads some of them.

  20. ananymous says:

    congratulations to all students graduating with good grades. Congratulations too to all those parents, families and teachers who supported these children to achieve and aspire towards great things.  Keep up the good work. Achieve your dreams, Come home and be a mentor for other young ones like you.

    As a young Caymanian professional, i am very pround of you. The world is your oyster!  The Journey still continues… On to the next phase.

    As for the education system, please note that i do not beleive that these results are reflective of the system's performance.  I belevie that these young people have succeeded in spite of the system. Please address all the inherent issues with public education and stick to the plan so that the hundreds more students matriculting out of our school system annually may achieve great success.

  21. Anonymous says:

    Congratulations everyone!  Good news!  

  22. Anonymous says:

    Cayman Brac High is the best and cheapest "private" high school in the Cayman Islands. 32 students in the graduating class with the same available resources as the 310 in Grand Cayman.  Now that is good value!

    Congratulations to the top performers in Cayman Brac (for coming out on top) and Grand Cayman (just for surviving and still being able to post very respectable results). 

    But seriously, with these kinds of achievements in the sister islands and with escalating crime, more parents need to consider permanently moving to the Brac and commuting to work in Grand Cayman.  I'm sure Island Air will cut us a good deal.  Think of the benefits – smarter kids, better roads, less traffic, better quality of life.  Also, a huge economic injection for the Cayman Brac economy.

    Sounds like a win-win situation but I canhear the Brackers now – "Don't send your problems over to us!"

    • I.M.A. Caymanian Bracker says:

      Sorry, can't agree with you.  I say Welcome.  None of us here on the Brac like the tag of being known as a Welfare State/Island.  I hate it and hope that in the near future, my children will be free to be Caymanians and Brackers at the same time without the arguments that insue.  Luckily for them, they have a healthy respect and pride for their country.  I'm sure having parents from both Grand Cayman and Cayman Brac helps them with this.  

      As time goes on, more "Caymanians" are marrying "Brackers" and this problem will eventually go away. 

      Once again, welcome!

    • Anonymous says:

      You got that right bo-bo. After screwing up the big Island the way the you have – don't bother to spread the joy! It's OK, we just fine without it.

  23. Anonymous says:

    CONGRATULATIONS Katherine. So very very proud of you. Your number one Brac fan.

  24. Bracca says:

    A Bracca Dat!