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EDUCATION IN THE USA
The general pattern of education in the USA is an eight-year elementary school, followed by a four-year high school. This has been called 8—4 plan organization. It is preceded, in many localities, by nursery schools and kindergartens. It is followed by a four-year college and professional schools. This traditional pattern, however, has been varied in many different ways. The 6—3— 3 plan consists of a six-year elementary school, a three-year junior high school, and a three-year senior high school. Another variation is a 6—6 plan organization, with a six-year elementary school followed by a six-year secondary school.
American education provides a program for children, beginning at the age of 6 and continuing up to the age of 16 in some of the states, and to 18 in others. The elementary school in the United States is generally considered to include the first six or eight grades of the common-school system, depending upon the organization that has been accepted for the secondary school. It has been called the "grade school" or the "grammar school".
There is no single governmental agency to prescribe for the American school system; different types of organization and of curriculum are tried out.
The length of the school year varies among the states. Wide variation exists also in the length of the school day. A common practice is to have school in session from 9:00 to 12:00 in the morning and from 1:00 to 3:30 in the afternoon, Monday through Friday. The school day for the lower grades is often from 30 minutes to an hour shorter. Most schools require some homework to be done by elementary pupils. Elementary Schools, High Schools and Institutions of Higher Learning
Elementary Schools, High Schools and Institutions of Higher Learning. There are eight years of elementary schooling. The elementary school is followed by four years of secondary school, or high school. Often the last two years of elementary and the first years of secondary school are combined into a junior high school.
The school year is nine months in length, beginning early in September and sometimes a shorter one in spring. There are slight variations from place to place. Students enter the first grade at the age of six and attendance is compulsory in most states until the age of sixteen or until the student has finished the eighth grade.
The elementary schools tend to be small. The high schools are generally larger and accommodate pupils from four or five elementary schools. A small town generally has several elementary schools and one high school. In some rural communities the one-room country school house still exists. Here may be found from five to twenty-five pupils in grades one through eight, all taught by the same teacher.
Admission to the American high school is automatic on completion of the elementary school. During the four-year high school program the student studies four or five major subjects per year, and classes in each of these subjects meet for an hour a day, five days a week. In addition, the student usually has classes in physical education, music, and art several times a week. If he fails a course, he repeats only that course and not the work of the entire year. Students must complete a certain number of courses in order to receive a diploma, or a certificate of graduation.
Institutions of higher learning supported by public funds are not absolutely free. The state colleges and universities charge a fee for tuition or registration. This fee is higher for those who come from outside the state. Working one's way through college is commonplace.
Usually there is no admission examination required by a state university for those who have finished high school within the state. Sometimes a certain pattern of high school studies is necessary, however, and some state universities require a certain scholastic average, or average of high school grades.
Private colleges and universities, especially the larger, well-known ones such as Harvard, Princeton, and Yale, have rigid scholastic requirements for entrance, including an examination.
It usually takes four years to meet the requirements for a Bachelor of Arts or Bachelor of Science degree. A Master of Arts or Master of Science degree may be obtained in one or two additional years. The highest academic degree is the Doctor of Philosophy. It may take any number of years to complete the original research work necessary to obtain this degree.
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