The education system in the United States can be perplexing for families who are new to the country. We examine everything from the K-12 program to SATs, ACTs, and Advanced Placement exams.
The United States spends more per pupil than most other developed countries. However, the United States ranked 24th in reading and 36th in math in the most recent Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).
Although the American education system differs from that of many other countries in that education is primarily the responsibility of state and local governments, the US federal government has attempted to standardize the curriculum across schools through the implementation of the Common Core – an education initiative that outlines what students should know in math and English by the end of each Grade level.
Standardized testing in schools, on the other hand, has become a contentious issue in the United States. A study from the Council of the Great City Schools estimated that students would sit around 112 standardized tests between Kindergarten and 12th grade. In fact, President Donald Trump has called it a “total disaster”. His administration is currently working to repeal the Common Core entirely.
In contrast to other countries’ end-of-school examination systems, students in the United States leave school with a collection of assessments that demonstrate their readiness for college or work.
K-12 is an abbreviation for ‘Kindergarten through 12th grade’. This equates to a school starting age of around five years old through Grade 12 at the age of about 18 years old. The school system is divided into three levels. It has elementary school (Grades K–5), middle school (Grades 6–8), and high school (Grades 9–12).
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