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Examination Boards in Barbados

Examination boards in Barbados have a primary function and that is to set examinations, mark them and distribute the results. With this in mind, examination boards have full power to award qualifications to students who would have set the necessary exams required by them at the time. Most exam boards are run as not-for-profit organisations.


In Barbados, there are three (3) examination boards on the island. The Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC), the Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) and the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC) The two aforementioned examining boards are registered trademarks of the Caribbean Examinations Council (CXC).


Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC)

The Caribbean Secondary Education Certificate (CSEC) examination is offered in January for re-sit and private candidates and in May/June for in-school candidates and private candidates.


CSEC subjects are examined for certification at the General and Technical Proficiencies. The General and Technical Proficiencies provide students with the foundation for further studies and entry to the workplace. 


The Council now offers a total of 33 subjects, that is, 28 subjects at General Proficiency and 5 at Technical Proficiency.


The six-point grading scheme reports on the performance of the candidate under six overall and profile grades as follows:

• Overall grades  - I, II, III, IV, V, VI
• Profile grades - A, B, C, D, E, F


The Council has advised tertiary institutions and Ministries of Education in participating territories that Grades I - III at the General and Technical Proficiencies should be considered as satisfying the matriculation requirement for four-year programmes at universities and entry requirement to community colleges, teachers’ colleges and any tertiary institution offering post-secondary programs.


The Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE)

The Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Examination (CAPE) is designed to provide certification of the academic, vocational and technical achievement of students in the Caribbean who, having completed a minimum of five years of secondary education, wish to further their studies. The examinations address the skills and knowledge acquired by students under a flexible and articulated system where subjects are organized in 1-Unit or 2-Unit courses with each Unit containing three Modules. Subjects examined under CAPE may be studied concurrently or singly.


The Caribbean Examinations Council offers three types of certification. The first is the award of a certificate showing each CAPE Unit completed. The second is the CAPE diploma, awarded to candidates who have satisfactorily completed at least six Units, including Caribbean Studies. The third is the CAPE Associate Degree, awarded for the satisfactory completion of a prescribed cluster of seven CAPE Units including Caribbean Studies and Communication Studies. For the CAPE diploma and the CAPE Associate Degree, candidates must complete the cluster of required Units within a maximum period of five years.


Recognized educational institutions presenting candidates for CAPE Associate Degree in one of the nine categories must, on registering these candidates at the start of the qualifying year, have them confirm in the required form, the Associate Degree they wish to be awarded. Candidates will not be awarded any possible alternatives for which they did not apply.


A CAPE syllabus tells what the rationale is for offering the subject, provides the general aims of the syllabus, gives the general objectives and the specific objectives that students must satisfy, outlines the content to be covered and explains the evaluation procedures.  In most cases, the syllabus also provides a list of suggested resources and special notes for the further guidance of the teacher.


Click here for further information on Examination Boards in Barbados.


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