All About Secondary Education System in USA

What does secondary education mean? 

Secondary education refers to the stage of education following primary education. Subsequent stage of education is typically college or university.

Secondary education is categorize by transition from primary education for minors to tertiary, “post-secondary”, or “higher” education for adults.

All About Secondary Level Education System in USA

What is secondary level education in USA?

The American secondary system is among the most effective – this fact is recognized by many authoritative experts in the field of pedagogy.

High school in the United States aims to educate initiative young people who are able to think critically and make independent decisions.

It is possible to get a secondary school education degree in the USA for foreigners at public schools and public schools

The academic year in public educational institutions is divided into trimesters:
  • Autumn – from late August / early September to December;
  • winter – from early January to March;
  • Summer – from April to early June.

For private schools, training over two semesters is more characteristic. In secondary schools there is a five-day working week, the school day lasts 5-6 hours.

US secondary education system

The education system in the USA has the following structure
  • Primary (Elementary School) – from 1 to 5 grade, 6 – 11 years old;
  • Secondary (Middle School) – from 6 to 8 grade, 12 – 14 years old;
  • Senior (High School) – from 9 to 12 grade, 15 – 18 years.
At the elementary school stage, children are taught reading, writing, counting and later – mathematics, grammar and spelling. The children are surely engaged in creativity, physical education and natural science.

U.S. High School provides an opportunity to further study music, theater, visual arts, foreign languages, and computer science.

Compulsory disciplines include mathematics, English, history, the general course of natural sciences (science), combining chemistry, physics, biology, etc.

High School in America is the final 4-year cycle of secondary school education degree. High school students get even greater freedom of choice of academic disciplines in areas of interest to them.

All compulsory disciplines (English, mathematics, natural sciences, social sciences, physical training) include various courses.

For example, in the “Social Sciences” section, children can choose
  • World history or the history of the United States,
  • Political science,
  • Sociology, etc. 
Any high school in the United States offers an optional study of a number of disciplines: business, music, creativity, foreign languages.

Graduates receive a diploma of completed secondary education – High School Diploma, which gives the right to higher education or employment.

For students who want to study in the United States and prepare for admission to a university, there are two-year programs of increased complexity.

The Advanced Placement program (AP) offers the study of more than 30 disciplines at the level of initial university courses. Leading higher educational institutions of America, Great Britain, Canada and other countries give graduates of this program priority rights for admission, and sometimes credit for specialized subjects for the chosen specialty is counted.

The International Baccalaureate (IB Program) opens before the graduates the doors of the best universities in the world, such as the Ivy League, Oxford, Cambridge, etc.

For two years, graduates study disciplines, conditionally divided into 6 groups, at high (HL) and standard (SL) levels. Usually 3-4 subjects are studied at a high level specialized for further education.
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The main groups of items:

  • English language and literature;
  • foreign language and literature;
  • Mathematics;
  • Social sciences (philosophy, history, psychology, the basics of business and management, economics, etc.);
  • natural sciences (biology, chemistry, physics, ecology);
  • Additional disciplines (one of the courses of 3-4 groups, music, theater, art, etc.).
Studying in the USA under the IB program involves writing an extended essay, certification in the course of  TOK (cognition theory) and CAS (creativity, action, service).

In addition to state educational institutions, private boarding schools are very popular , where about 5% of students receive their studies. Their campuses unite educational buildings and residential residences, have a developed sports infrastructure.

The small number of groups, intensive academic workloads, an individual approach to each child determine the high quality of study.

In private schools, children actively participate in the work of theme clubs, attend music, choreographic, art studios – all days are planned so that the children spend time with maximum benefit.

For foreigners, it is possible to study the ESL course “English as a Second Language” in parallel with the curriculum.

The grading system in the USA is different from the other countries. For each of the required subjects, you need to collect the required number of academic loans.

This is a kind of credit unit, which allows you to digitally evaluate the result of study. In high school, credit is credited for studying one subject throughout the year.

In the states, there are different requirements for the required number of credits: on average, in mathematics and English, you need to earn 4 credits per subject, in social and social sciences – 3 credits, in physical education – 1, etc.

Also in America there is no 5-point or 12-point grading system as in Ukraine. Students are given letters that indicate a certain number of points.

 For example:
The highest mark is A * (93-100), then A (90-92), B (87-89), C (70-79), D (60-69), F (0-59). The maximum score is 100. All excellent students aspire to it.

Schools in the United States differ from the other countries’ grading system, but this is for the best. After all, once you get used to it, it will be easier for a student to navigate in grades when entering an American university.

Secondary education in America is impossible without intensive sports. Each educational institution has a large selection of sports sections; teams participate in tournaments of different levels.

Team sports are very popular –
  • Volleyball,
  • Basketball,
  • Football,
  • Baseball,
because they form a team spirit, a sense of responsibility, self-discipline.

A package of documents for admission to an American high school:

  • statement with grades for the last 2-3 years of study, certified by the educational institution;
  • letters of recommendation;
  • certificate of TOEFL or other English language exam;
  • introductory essay;
  • Portfolio – creative works, sports awards, diplomas, certificates, etc. (depending on the school).

Features of school education degree in the USA  

Education in America is known for its practical focus. Children do not just study materials from books, they conduct many experiments and studies.

So, for example, in biology, chemistry and physics, students conduct many experiments under the supervision of teachers.

It helps with a better understanding of the subject and makes the learning process more interesting and effective.

On humanitarian subjects, children learn to discuss with peers and to reasonably prove their opinions. The development of such skills helps American students stand out from others.

Teacher’s help children try different areas of activity and quickly decide what they want to do in the future.

It is also important that in addition to the academic component of study, a variety of interest groups and sports sections are provided for all children.

Each American school has its own football team, support group, etc. Talented members of sports teams often receive sports scholarships for training. Many universities thus increase their ranking.

Secondary education in the US begins at 5 years old. In fact, this is still a kindergarten. But the second year of study is the first year of the Primary School. Primary School in the USA lasts 5 years.

Then comes the education at High School / Middle School (grades 6-8), then – education at the High School / High School (grades 9-12). Children usually finish secondary level of education at the age of 18.

Education at High School ends with a Secondary level Education degree or Diploma. A diploma is the basis for continuing education already at a college or university in the United States.

Some Important Data
In the United States, there are over 90,000 public and 30,000 private high schools. The Americans themselves, provided they have sufficient financial resources, certainly prefer private high schools.

In the United States there is a wide selection of private schools: schools for boys, schools for girls, religious schools, and military schools.To know more please click on the below list as per your choice:

The main task of private schools: to prepare students for admission to prestigious universities.
Unlike European private secondary schools (for example: Great Britain or Switzerland), only a few private secondary schools in the USA offer “full board”: accommodation and meals on the school grounds.

Most often, accommodation in an American family is offered. High schools in the USA are famous for their individual approach to each student, respect for him as a person, the friendly attitude of teachers to students (the teacher is primarily an ally, friend, mentor) as well as a great emphasis on the independence and independence of thinking, a practice-oriented approach and great attention to sports and health of students

Advantages and Disadvantages of Secondary Education in the USA

Secondary education in the USA has many advantages:
  • guys get a diploma that gives the right to enter universities in almost any country in the world
  • During their studies they improve English to the ideal, which means that further studies at the university will be much easier.
  • There is the opportunity to live a long time in the country, to see the inside out and decide whether the child can continue to live and study at the university here.
  • US schools are aimed at the comprehensive development of personality. By participating in school life you will be able to develop additional skills for yourself in a certain field (sports, art, science), which will help to stand out among other applicants when entering a university.
The disadvantages include only the price, although education is completely worth the money, and the distance. Otherwise, studying at school in America will be a huge investment in the successful future of the child.

How much is secondary education in the USA

Schooling in the USA is not cheap, but it’s definitely worth it. The price of a one-year private school curriculum averages from $ 40,000. This is a package price and you do not need to think about the cost of living, meals and so on.

The price usually includes:
  • training;
  • accommodation;
  • food (full board);
  • registration fee (not always);
  • teaching aids;
  • insurance;
  • sports, crafts, creativity;
  • leisure programs;
  • Planned sightseeing and recreational activities.
In addition, secondary education degree in the United States involves a number of other expenses. Everything related to air travel, transfers and visa fees are considered separately.

Prospects after graduation

Perfect English – it’s still easy to say! Here is the main thing that gives a complete secondary education in the USA. With it, doors are opened to you in almost all the top universities in the world.

You can easily communicate with the admissions committee, go through interviews, take tests, in general, greatly facilitate the admission process.

Of course, academic results are also important, but excellent English and extracurricular activities will greatly help when entering US universities.

Also, the US certificate is better quoted in the world than Ukrainian. An American certificate of secondary education will be accepted in almost all top universities.

You will not need to take additional preparatory courses, take one more year of study to level the difference or somehow additionally prepare.

For universities, a high school certificate in America means that the student received a quality education. And this is the main thing.

With the Karandash educational agency, you can choose the best US schools for your child, read reviews of children and parents, and learn the cost of education.

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