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The Caribbean Examination Council (CXC)

Established some 35 years ago, under agreement by the participating governments in the area the Caribbean Examination Council in Barbados continues to provide CXC certification for students to continue their education in international institutions.

The establishment of the council in Barbados was under Agreement by the Participating Governments in the Area to conduct such examinations as it may think appropriate and award certificates and diplomas on the results of any such examinations so conducted. The Council is empowered to regulate the conduct of any such examinations and prescribe the qualification requirements of candidates and the fees payable by them.


Structure of the Council


The Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies


The Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana


Three representatives of the University of the West Indies appointed by the
Vice Chancellor of the University of the West Indies, regard being given to the
geographic dispersion of the campuses


One representative of the University of Guyana appointed by the
Vice Chancellor of the University of Guyana


Two representatives appointed by each of the Participating Governments
of Barbados, Guyana, Jamaica and Trinidad & Tobago and one representative appointed by each of the other Participating Governments

  One representative of the teaching profession appointed by each National Committee from among its members


It comprises 16 Participating Territories, Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, Belize, British Virgin Islands, Cayman Islands, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, St. Lucia, St. Vincent and The Grenadines, Trinidad and Tobago and Turks and Caicos Islands.


Members of the Council hold office for a period of three years. The Chairman and Deputy Chairman are elected from among the members of Council to hold office for three years or for the unexpired term of their appointments as members of the Council. The Council organises its business on a triennial basis, using the calendar year as its operative year.


The Registrar and Pro-Registrar

The Registrar is the Chief Executive of the Council and the Council may delegate to him any of its duties relating to the holding of examinations and the appointments of staff members other than himself or the Pro-Registrar. The Registrar is based at the CXC Headquarters in Barbados and the Pro-Registrar is based at the CXC Western Zone office in Jamaica.


Committees of the Council

Policy is determined by the Council which meets annually. The work of the Council is conducted through the Administrative and Finance Committee (AFC), the School Examinations Committee (SEC) and its Sub-Committee (SUBSEC).


Criterion-Referenced Approach

CXC examinations are criterion-referenced. When setting standards or cut-off scores for each grade for Criterion Reference Tests, examiners are primarily concerned with whether or not candidates have reached established levels of mastery. They are interested in comparing examinees' performance, not with other examinees in the group, but with the preset standard judged to be adequate for the award of particular grades.


Examiners therefore determine the competencies, abilities and skills that candidates must demonstrate in order to qualify for particular grades. They look for certain qualities in the examinees' performance and use their judgment in so doing. This is not to say that the examiners completely ignore the general performance of the candidate population.


The examiners study the mark distributions and statistics on the examination; as a result, they sometimes decide to modify their original judgments, but they do not make grade decisions based firstly, or primarily, or solely, on specific percentages of candidates attaining at each grade or on the number of standard deviations candidates' scores lie above or below the mean.


The critical question is - Has a candidate demonstrated a given level of competence allowing the examiner to state with some degree of certainty that the candidate has attained the minimum standard required for a particular grade?


Standard Setting

Preliminary grade cut-off scores are specified at paper development. Subsequently, in a validation process, which takes place at the end of the marking exercise and during the grading exercise, the quality of candidates’ performance and scores are compared across adjacent years and sittings, and the preliminary cut-off scores may be adjusted. This is done in order to ensure that the objectively defined standard (that is, level of competence) connoted by each grade is maintained across time.


Further information on the Caribbean Examination Council in Barbados can be sourced at


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