The K-12 equivalence in the West Indies


New member
For those who attended school in the WI, can you give a run down on the education system? What are the standards compared to K-12 based on age level up to 18? Give a rundown.

I have known two people who were fortunate to skip a grade after moving here because they were above the US age standard.


Registered User
Starts off at stage 1 2 3 and then you move on to standard 1 2 3. 4 5
In standard 4 you take an exam starting about age 10 to enter secondary school where you start at form 1 to 5
At form. 5 you can be about 15 yrs and then be out of school

You do we'll on your o level or Cxc exam you can go on to A level


in tnt,

First year and Second year - Infant (kindergarten) classes
Standard/Grade 1-5 - Primary/Elementary school
Form 1- 3 - Middle school/Junior High/Lower Secondary school
Form 4- 6 - High School, Upper Secondary school...


Official Winin' criminal
Didnt know st. lucia was different, well in Trini after pre-school its:

Primary level: First year and second year (2yrs) then Standards 1-5 you sit an exam (SEA) and then you're placed in a secondary school based on your performance.

Secondary: Form 1-5 (before depending on if you passed for a Junior secondary which only went from form 1-3 then you sit an exam to go to another school usually a Senior Comprehensive for another 2 years, but these have been phased out and all schools are 5 years now) at the end of Form 5 you sit CXC and you graduate and you can finish school, however you can continue on to do A'levels or what is now known as CAPE which is 2 years.


Registered User
In st Lucia used to be if your azz ain't pass for secondary school in three tries you got to standRd 6 and considered a dunce


a more in depth breakdown.. this is from my high school website..add NCSE to the list of exams...

Our academic programs are rigorous and comprehensive, in many ways exceeding the requirements of the Trinidad and Tobago Ministry of Education. Lower school girls (Forms 1-3), study English Language and Literature, Mathematics, Integrated Science (in Form 3 this is divided into Chemistry, Biology and Physics), Social Studies, Geography, History, Art, Drama, Dance, Music, Physical Education, French, Spanish, and Personal Development. They are prepared for the National Certificate of Secondary Education (NCSE) Examinations which are based on continuous assessment from Form 1 to 3 (60%) and an national examination at the end of Form 3 (40%). Form 1 students also have weekly Library/ Information Literacy classes.

At the end of Form 3, students choose specialties, around a core group of subjects, (English Language, English Literature, Mathematics, one foreign language and one science subject. The additional subjects are generally chosen on the basis of the prerequisites for their future careers; Natural Sciences, Modern Studies, Modern Languages or Business Studies. Over an 18 month period, they are prepared for the Caribbean Examinations Council Ordinary level examinations at the end of Form 5, where they are awarded a Caribbean Secondary Examination Certificate (CSEC).

Usually, there is further specialization in Form 6, where each student is required to choose at least three two-unit courses and Caribbean Studies and Communication Studies in preparation for the Caribbean Examinations Council Caribbean Advanced Proficiency examination.


oh yea Lucianite.. they used to call that Post-Primary.. where i have no clue what people did there.. learn how to sew and learn spanish.. i dunno.. but they phased that out in tnt where every student advances to secondary school.. the quality of that schooling for those who didnt pass though.. remains dubious


Players Play I Coach
I don't what it like now in Guyana but ah do know it's fallen backwards like mug...

But if ah use myself as an example I quit school in form 3

I already had five subjects GCE but they was changing @ that time to cxc...

When I came here and tried to get a High School Diploma they said I needed to get 15 subjects..

I wasn't about all that so I took the asvab and scored in the 68percentile group..
Which is considered to be 12th grade in the armed forces conversion..

So when I went to the entrance station I had to retake the asvab cause they thought my score was so high and that the recruiter help me or something like that...

I ended up scoring a 70 which is near perfect and my GT score went from 129 to 133..

Most primary schools in Guyana @ the time was religious based, ah don't know if that mean anything...

Common Entrance exam which was taken in fourth standard was "steering" mechanism which when independence was gained went thru a radical change...


another distinction made between most west indian schools and the US system, is that at 10/11 children are aware of the importance of the Common Entrance/SEA/GSAT/whatever they call the 11+ exam in other caribbean countries, and how this exam will impact their futures -(which in itself is both good and bad as its a lot of pressure but most children deal with it and go on... )... and if you don't do well then you are more or less steered to vocational schools... whereas in the US, you are sent to middle school and high school regardless ... i dont know if post-primary still exists in other countries but it really doesnt exist formally in TnT any more..

Alpha Unit

I can't say how the system compares in terms of what grade is equivalent to which forms back home, but I came here midway through form 4 @ 15 and was put in 9th grade to finish out the semester. I didn't learn anything new save for American History until I got to the 12th Grade.


Official Winin' criminal
6 form is closer to community college or High School AP, than normal HS.
Yea in a way it is, in Trini when they introduced CAPE (Caribbean Advanced Proficiency Exam) to take over from what was known as the A'level exam a lot of people ended up skipping it because some tertiary schools were offering you the chance to do your degree without having to go throught that. I did CAPE and I think it helped because some of the basics you do in Year 1 and university is covered in CAPE so it sort of provided a foundation where the teachers actually interacted with you rather than just being thrust into university where the lecturers dont have time to deal with you individually when they have a class of 500