What is the difference between British and American curriculums?
The British curriculum is usually understood to refer to the National Curriculum for England and Wales – a government-mandated curriculum with regular testing across all public and many private schools. The aim is to ensure specific standards are met in the achievement of Maths, English and Science with standardized resources and teaching standards. Additional Humanities, Languages and Arts subjects, together with Personal, Health and Social Education and Physical Education are mandated for students up to the age 15. At 16 years, all students will also sit public examinations – GCSE’s – and may then study further until age 18 when they would sit 3-4 A (Advanced) level exams or equivalent which are a pre-requisite for university entry.
The US curriculum is not a US-wide system. Federal, State and Local authorities are responsible for the school management and curriculum in the US and choose the subjects and resources to be used. The Federal No Child Left Behind policy mandates that standardized testing takes place in US schools, but the individual School Authorities are responsible for setting these. Students study a similar range of subjects to those in the UK, but with a greater emphasis on co-curricular and extra-curricular activities – particularly in regard to sports. Students are also assessed by their teachers on an on-going basis and receive annual report cards. If they fail to make sufficient progress, they may be required to attend summer school for remedial teaching. Students earn credits from their subjects which can be used toward College entry. Students will leave High School with a High School Diploma which is usually not sufficient for University entry. Most students wishing to attend university will take either the SAT (Standardized Assessment Test) or AP (Advanced Placement) which are administered by the College Board on behalf of all universities.