Comparisons/differences between the UK and USA school systems
This is an incredibly rough guide to try and explain to differences between the school systems in the UK (based on my knowledge of schooling in Shropshire) and in the USA (based on my knowledge of school in Chandler, Phoenix, Arizona). Both countries have incredibly complicated systems that vary from county to county and are not easily compared to each other, but this is my best shot and will be updated as I get the hang of the USA educational system. Hopefully, if you're moving from the UK to the USA as we did, this might at least give you a starting point so at least you know the right questions to ask...and it may also help those of you from the UK (or USA) understand some of my posts about Goth Child's and Melchett's school experiences a little better. Fingers crossed...
Preschool = 3-4 yrs = Nursery School (neither compulsory education)
Elementary School = Primary School
Kindergarten = 5-6 yrs = Year 1 (many UK schools also have a Reception year for 4 year olds)
1st Grade = 6-7 yrs = Year 2 (end of Key Stage 1)
2nd Grade = 7-8 yrs = Year 3 (start of Key Stage 2)
3rd Grade = 8-9 yrs = Year 4
4th Grade = 9-10 yrs = Year 5
5th Grade = 10-11 yrs = Year 6 (end of Key Stage 2 and final year of primary school)
6th Grade = 11-12 yrs = Year 7 (first year of new secondary school, start of Key Stage 3)
Junior High = Secondary School
7th Grade = 12-13 yrs = Year 8
8th Grade = 13-14 yrs = Year 9
High School = Secondary School, into 6th Form College
Freshman year = 14-15 yrs = Year 10
Sophomore year = 15-16 yrs = Year 11 (last year of compulsory schooling in UK)
Junior year = 16-17 yrs = Year 12 (first year of 6th Form College)
Senior year = 17-18 yrs = Year 13 (end of Key Stage 5 and final year of 6th Form College)
The School Year
The school year is different according to which county the schools belong to in the UK, but are roughly 39 weeks.
In Shropshire, where we moved from, the school year was split into 3 terms:
- September to Christmas/New Year holidays in December,
- January to Easter holidays around March/April,
- then from Easter holidays to July
In Chandler, Phoenix, where we live now, the school year is split into quarters:
- July to end of September (followed by 1st intercession or 'Fall Break')
- October to end of December (followed by 2nd intercession for 'The Holidays')
- January to mid-March (followed by 3rd intercession or 'Spring Break')
- April to last day of school on June 1st
Exams and Testing
In the UK, students take exams in various subjects called GCSEs (General Certificate of Secondary Education) at the end of Year 11 (15/16 yrs). They studying for their GSCE exams at the start of Year 10 (14-15 yrs).
If students choose to stay on at school past 16, they can take A levels and/or AO levels at 6th Form College (or alternatively Technical Colleges).