Q: How are the schools in Jamaica differnt from the schools in the US? Example: Is it Kindergarten to 12th grade? Do they have band, music, and art classes?
A: A child start out in kindergarten (pre-Kindergarten in the USA) at age 2 1/2, sometimes 3, or even 4 years old.
After that they go to Primary (Elementary School in the USA), where they typically start out at five years old or later depending on when they start kindergarten.
Primary school goes up to grade 6…at which point the child should be 11 years old. Here they take the GSAT exam to determine which high school they will attend.
High school goes from First Form (grade 7) to Sixth Form(grade 12) – this is Middle and High School in the USA.
Students with the hightest scores go to the traditional top High schools in the country.
While in High school, students in fifth form take the CXC exams (just changed to CSEC) on up to 8 subjects. If they want to do more subjects they have to go outside the school. Students must choose the subjects they will take while in fourth form.
Those who pass each subject with a scores of 1’s and 2’s that satisfy the basic requirement of 6 distinctions (1’s) and two 2’s…to get selected to go to sixth form.
In sixth form they get to take up to 5 subjects of their choice which will culminate in the GCE A-level exams.
Those who pass with distinction can apply and get accepted to the top Local Universities such as UWI and UTECH (the requirement for entrace is three GCE A-level subjects with high scores, plus the CXC taken and passed in fifth form).
Those who don’t get to go to sixth form can go to local community colleges, improve on their scores, take the CAPE (equivalent to GCE A-level), then get into University.
Do the Jamaican Kids learn art and music. etc…? Yes they do…typically in the top High schools in the country. In other high schools, they are more likely given introductory exposure to these Arts…
In the USA
Typically, after in high school student just have to graduate with a certain GPA, in some instances take AP courses for college credits, then take the SAT…and depending on their score in conjunction with GPA and extracurricular activities, they get to selected to various Universities.
The two systems seems to start out the similarly under different names, vary somewhat during the High school /middle school years, but seem to end at the same place.
Hope this helps
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