1. A standard-based curriculum
There are six accreditation authorities for the American Curriculum including the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSACS), and Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). All subject content must abide by the Common Core State Standards or the AERO Common Core Plus Standards. American international schools are able to design their curriculum based on standards that are relevant to their host country. These standards provide a guide for teachers to ensure students are moving in the direction to meet benchmarks set for each subject.
2. Provides an education from Pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12
The American Curriculum is divided into three stages: Elementary School, Middle School and High School. In Elementary School, students aged 4 to 11 enter Kindergarten to Grade 5. Students aged 11 to 14 progress to Middle School which covers Grade 6 to Grade 8. They then move on to High School until the age of 18 to complete Grade 9 to Grade 12. The core subjects at each level are English language, arts, mathematics, science and social studies. In addition, students are exposed to visual and performing arts, foreign languages, physical education and technology.
3. Various assessment methods
In the American Curriculum, students are assessed in an ongoing manner through class discussions, group work, graphic organizers, writing assignments, peer assessments, quizzes, reflections and projects. From there, teachers are able to identify each student’s strengths and weaknesses as well as help students who are struggling in certain subjects. Furthermore, teachers will create a learning portfolio for each student to compile their progress. This learning portfolio can be submitted to universities in the future as part of their admissions process.
4. Culminates in the American High School Diploma
The American High School Diploma marks the end of secondary school. It is also recognised as a pre-university qualification to gain entry into universities in America and other parts of the world. Students need to complete a certain amount of credits from Grade 9 to Grade 12 to be granted the American High School Diploma. In addition, students have the opportunity to sit for standardised tests such as the SAT, PSAT and ACT to measure their knowledge in certain subject areas. Scores from standardised tests are also an entry requirement by many American colleges. Besides that, students can sit for Advanced Placement (AP) courses to give them an advantage when it comes to applying to higher education institutions in America.
5. Emphasis on extracurricular activities
Schools that offer the American Curriculum encourage their students to be active in extracurricular activities such as sports, music and performing arts. Participation in extracurricular activities provides an avenue for social and physical growth. Students also gain soft skills such as discipline, teamwork and time management which are important for life after school.
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You may also be interested to read:
- 5 Things You Should Know About the British Curriculum
- 5 Things You Should Know About the Cambridge International Curriculum
- 5 Things You Should Know About the International Baccalaureate Primary Years Programme (IB PYP)
- 5 Things You Should Know About the IGCSE in Malaysia
- 5 Things You Should Know About the Ontario (Canada) Curriculum
- 5 Things You Should Know About the Victorian Curriculum (from Australia)