Schools in the United States and around the world offering the The American Curriculum have a syllabus that is rooted in the standards introduced by accreditation bodies such as the Common Core State Standards or the AERO Common Core Plus Standards for American international schools. Students are encouraged to think critically and demonstrate creativity, and ultimately, make sure the students are well prepared to attend university. Teachers are also responsible for delivering an academically challenging curriculum that meets each student’s needs and provide opportunities for social development, promoting students’ physical health, and investing into students’ moral growth.
What is the American Curriculum?
The American Curriculum is a rigorous, standards-based system that aims to educate the whole child. Within the United States, each individual state maintains the right to deliver standards of its choosing, relevant to the state and region. American schools abroad that offer the American Curriculum have the opportunity to choose the most recent and rigorous standards that are relevant to an international community within the host country. American schools abroad do not have the authority to accredit their educational programs, therefore the curriculum must be accredited in the United States by one of the six accreditation authorities. These authorities include the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools (MSACS), and Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).
What subjects are covered?
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.
Structure & Format
The academic year at American schools is divided into two semesters where credits are accumulated each semester. Generally, students in the American Curriculum go through 13 years of study from pre-Kindergarten to Grade 12. At all levels, English language arts, math, science, and social studies are core subjects. In addition, as part of having a holistic approach schools provide opportunities for students to take classes in visual and performing arts, foreign languages, physical education, and technology.
At Elementary School, students who are around age 4 to 11 are in Kindergarten through Grade 5. These years are designed for the youngest students to build a strong foundation of knowledge, critical thinking skills, and leadership ability. Next, students in Middle School typically aged 11 to 14 are in Grade 6 to 8. These years equip students as they prepare for high school through development of content knowledge and social skills. Students aged 14 to 18 will transition to High School where they will enter Grade 9 to 12. Students work to complete a certain number of credits (based on the school’s requirements) to earn a high school diploma and to be prepared for universities in English speaking countries around the world.
What is the aim of the curriculum?
After completing all required credits, students earn an American High School Diploma that can take them to leading universities around the world. Students aren’t alone in their journey to get a diploma. Throughout high school, students have access to academic advising and university counseling. These counselors help students in their application to universities and assist with organizing testing for the PSAT, SAT, ACT- assessments that measure the knowledge and skills that students learn in high school and need for academic success at university. American schools also often offer Advanced Placement (AP) courses to provide students with university-level academic courses that give them an advantage when applying to universities and for scholarships around the world.
The American Curriculum offers the full package to help every student become an educated, well-rounded graduate ready for university. It is integral to have a curriculum that is aligned to standards and to have certified teachers who are trained in content, how to incorporate the standards into instruction, how to personalize instruction to best meet all students’ needs, and how to design a diverse range of assessments that show students’ progress.
How is the grading system and requirements for graduation?
Students’ progress is assessed daily and is effective for determining students’ understanding in a particular subject. In a single week, teachers monitor student learning in a variety of informal, low-pressure ways such as class discussions, group work, graphic organizers, writing assignments, peer assessments, quizzes, reflections, and projects. These assessments allow teachers to quickly realize when students understand or are struggling. These assessments also are used to create a learning portfolio which encourages students to reflect on their strengths and weaknesses. In addition, parents have online access to grades for all assessments, giving them a complete picture of how their children are doing at any point during the school year.
Benefits/Advantages of the American curriculum?
The American Curriculum uniquely values a personalized learning approach. In class, teachers strive to differentiate and scaffold instruction; electives and after-school activities allow students to pursue subjects that pique their interests and talents. Additionally, the teaching environment can often be adapted to accommodate a student’s learning style.
Classes are rooted in content that aligns with standards, such as the Common Core State Standards or the AERO Common Core Plus Standards for American international schools. Standards hold schools accountable to challenge students academically, encourage them to think critically and demonstrate creativity, and ultimately, make sure the students are well prepared to attend university.
Another important aspect of American Curriculum is a holistic approach. By focusing on educating the whole child, teachers ensure that the child’s intellectual needs are met while also providing opportunities for social development, promoting students’ physical health, and investing into students’ moral growth.
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