The British vs the American Curriculum- A snapshot of the major differences

America versus british flag

Here is a snapshot of the the main differences between the British and the American Curriculum: 

British   American
Categories Age Year Exams Categories Age Grade Exams
Nursery Before 4 NA No exams Preschool Before 4 NA No exams
Reception 4-5 Year 1 No exams Kindergarten 4-5 NA No exams
Primary School 4-5à11 Year 1-6 Take an exam called sats, in year 6. Elementary School 5-9 Grade 1-5 Coursework and state wide examinations conducted
Secondary School 11-12 à16 Year 7-11 Cambridge International Examinations- taken in Grade 10 and 11 Middle School 9-12 Grade 6-8 Coursework and state wide examinations conducted
Option 1, 2 and 3:6th Form, College, A level 16-18 Year 11-13 Cambridge International Examinations taken in Grade11- 13 High School 13-16 Grade 9-12 Coursework and state wide examinations conducted

 

GCSE Exams

Unlike in the US, assessment is not on a continuous, but is primarily cantered on national standardized exams. At the end of Year 11, students take national standardized exams, the GCSE exams (General Certificate of Secondary Education). Students may choose the number and subject of their exams (from the 48 GCSE exams available). They may opt to sit higher (possible results: A* – D) or lower (C-G) level exams. However, English, Math and Science are required subjects, and UK universities typically expect students to sit at least five GCSE exams.

Post-16 in the British system

After GCSEs, students may choose to pursue either an academic or vocational track. Students on a vocational track can choose to obtain a work qualification such as the BTEC or OCR Nationals. Students continuing on an academic track attend sixth form colleges during Years 12-13.

Students may choose the number and subjects of their A levels (from approximately 80 subjects available). However, universities typically expect students to complete at least 2 A level qualifications, and some university degree programs may specify A level subjects and results required for admission.

A level results range from A – E and are awarded by external examination bodies. Scores are based primarily on the AS and A2 level examinations, but may also include teacher assessment of coursework. AS level exams are sat at the end of Year 12, while A 2 level exams are sat at the end of Year 13.

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