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EDUCATION IN THE USA. Education in the United States of America is compulsory for children from the age of 6 till 16 (or 18)

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Education in the United States of America is compulsory for children from the age of 6 till 16 (or 18). It involves 12 years of schooling. A school year starts at the end of August or at the beginning of September and ends in late June or early July. The whole school year is divided into three terms/trimesters or four quarters. American students have winter, spring and summer holidays which last 2 or 3 weeks and 6 or 8 weeks, respectively. The length of the school year varies among the states as well as the day length. Students go to school 5 days a week.

The American education system consists of 3 basic components: elementary, secondary and higher education. There is also such a notion as preschool education. At the age of 4 or 5 children just get acquainted with the formal education in a nursery school. The preschool education programme aims to prepare children for elementary school through playing and help them to acquire the experience of association. It lasts for one year. Then they go to the first grade (or grade 1).

Elementary education starts when pupils are 6 years old. The programme of studies in the elementary school includes the following subjects: English, Arithmetic, Geography, History of the USA, Natural sciences, Physical Training, Singing, Drawing, wood or metal work. The education is mostly concentrated on the basic skills (speaking, reading, writing and arithmetic). Sometimes children also learn some foreign languages, general history and such new subjects as drug and sex education. The main goal of elementary education is the general intellectual, social and physical development of a pupil from 5 to 12 or 15 years old.

Secondary education begins when children move on to high or secondary school in the ninth grade, where they continue their studies until the twelfth grade. The secondary school curriculum is built around specific subjects rather than general skills. Although there are always a number of basic subjects in the curriculum: English, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and Physical Education, the students have an opportunity to teach some elective subjects, which are not necessary for everybody. After the first two years of education they can select subjects according to their professional interests. The electives are to be connected with the students' future work or further education at university or college. Every high school has a special teacher — a guidance counsellor who helps the students to choose these elective subjects. Moreover, he helps them with some social problems, too. The elective courses are different in various schools.



Members of each grade in high school have special names: students in the ninth grade are called freshmen, tenth graders are called sophomores, eleventh graders are juniors and as for twelfth graders, they are seniors.

After graduating from high schools the majority of the Americans go on studying at higher education establishments. In universities they have to study for four years to get a bachelor's degree. In order to get a master's degree they must study two years more and, besides, be engaged in a research work.

Vocabulary Notes

compulsory — обов’язковий
to involve — включати
schooling — навчання в школі

trimester — триместр
quarter — четверть
respectively — відповідно
elementary education — початкова освіта
secondary education — середня освіта
higher education — вища освіта
notion — поняття
preschool education — дошкільна освіта
nursery school — дитячий садок
to aim — бути націленим
to acquire the experience of association — отримати досвід спілкування

grade — клас
drug education — уроки, присвячені вивченню соціальної ролі наркотиків
skill — навик
goal — ціль
curriculum — навчальний план
elective subject — предмети на вибір
guidance counsellor — порадник щодо професійної орієнтації freshman — новачок
sophomore — студент другого курсу коледжу або учень 10-го класу середньої школи
junior — студент передостаннього курсу коледжу або учень 11-го класу середньої школи
senior — студент останнього класу коледжу або учень 12-го класу середньої школи
majority — більшість
bachelor's degree — ступінь бакалавра
master's degree — ступінь магістра
to be engaged in — займатися чим-небудь
research work — науково-дослідницька робота

 

E x e r c i s e s

I. Answer the questions:

1. At what age do American student start and finish their compulsory education?

2. How are school years called in the United States?

3. The length of the school year varies among states, doesn’t it?

4. What are the basic components of American education?

5. Do all children have to attend nursery school?

6. When does elementary education start?

7. What is main aim of elementary education?

8. The secondary school curriculum doesn’t imply a number of basic subjects, doesn’t it?

9. What are elective subjects?

10. Who is a guidance counselor?

II. Fill the gaps with the appropriate word or word-combination from the text:

1. Education in the United States of America is ........................ for children from the age of 6 till 16 (or 18).

2. The whole school year is .............. ......... three terms/trimesters or four quarters.. 3. The .................... of the school year varies among the states as well as the day length. Students go to school 5 days a week.

4. At the age of 4 or 5 children just ........ .......................... ......... the formal education in a nursery school.

5. The preschool education programme aims to prepare children for elementary school through playing and help them to acquire the ..................... ... ........................... .

6. The education is mostly concentrated on the ................. .............. (speaking, reading, writing and arithmetic).

7. The secondary school ................................ is built around specific subjects rather than general skills.

8. After the first two years of education they can select subjects according to their.......................... ....................

9. The ........................... are to be connected with the students' future work or further education at university or college.

10. Every high school has a special teacher — a ..................... ..................who helps the students to choose these elective subjects.

11. Students in the ninth grade are called ....................... .

12. Students in the tenth grades are ....................... .

13. Students in the eleventh grades are called ................... .

14. Students of the twelfth grades are called ..................... .


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