British and American educational system
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please could you tell me about the difference between both of American and British education system

from primary school to the high school⁇
Jun 19, 2020 11:51 AM
Comments · 18
Irene asked: <em>But I still understand correctly that they cover content material that was actually taught in secondary school? I know they are divided into different subjects.</em>

Yes, indeed. Or, to put it another way - the content material which is taught in the last couple of years of secondary school is the material for GCSE exams. Around the age of 14, kids choose their GCSEs: maths - yes, plural ;) and English are mandatory, plus a couple of humanities (history, geography) , a science or two and usually a foreign language. There is also music, art, design and technology and a few less academic subjects which you can add to the mix. The school curriculum then follows the course for these exams for the next two years (years 10 and 11, equivalent to American 9th and 10th grade).
June 19, 2020
Ah, okay, so the GCSEs are more like exit exams than entrance exams. But I still understand correctly that they cover content material that was actually taught in secondary school? I know they are divided into different subjects.

My general point is that the US has no mandatory content-based exam system like this.
June 19, 2020
Hi Sara,
“The difference”? There is no small difference; the US system is <em>profoundly </em>(extremely, deeply) different from the UK one. Actually, the US system seems to be different from most elementary and secondary education systems used around the world.

First, language: Americans don’t say <em>primary school, </em>we say <em>elementary </em>school. But more than that, we have some different ideas about what it should be like, especially in the first few years (which we call <em>grades). </em>You see, American kids that age are not really taught much information (facts, concepts, stories of how things happened) at all. This is because of some ideas from 90 years ago in the US that said teaching that stuff too early hurts the kids’ development. Children should explore and learn on their own, even make their own knowledge.

So American kids read some very boring, easy silly stories in elementary school so that they learn what US elementary teachers call “reading skills”, but they don’t start learning much knowledge in school before age 9 or 10. When that happens the knowledge they do get is based on what textbooks their district, school, and individual teacher decide to use. They are maybe taught basic arithmetic, and that’s it.

This is the case across the different states in the US. The set of ideas is almost universal, because it is what US teachers get taught in their college educations. There are some exceptions, like the Core Knowledge movement, but that has 1,200 schools. There are more than 15,000 school <em>districts </em>in the US.

A result of this is that, in the US, we don’t have a set of content exams for students leaving elementary school/entering high school, as I understand is the case in most other countries. The British call theirs the GSCEs.
These ideas never really crossed the Atlantic to the UK. So, if I understand correctly, in the UK kids get the “classical” knowledge-filled education from their first day in what the British call <em>primary school. </em>

<em>Very different. </em>

June 19, 2020
Actually, the nomenclature isn't standardized for all of the United States. For example, in New York City, I went to a nursery school, which is also called pre-K in other places. Then it's Kindergarten, then Elementary School (designated as PS-## public school), Junior High School (designated as IS-##, intermediate school), then High School.

Junior High School is equivalent to "Middle School" in other states, which seems to be the more recognizable term, but it's still referred to as JHS here. I haven't heard of "senior high", but the designation may exist in other states.

June 19, 2020
Nursery => primary school => secondary school => college/sixth form => university

Kindergarten => elementary school => high school => senior high school => college, which is also called school; rarely called university

Key Points

British college corresponds with American senior high.
British university corresponds with American college.
In America, everything is a school.
June 19, 2020
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