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Thread: Clarification of educational terminology

  1. #1 Clarification of educational terminology 
    Forum Freshman
    Join Date
    Jun 2011
    I am regularly confused by various terminology used in educational systems in different countries: I'm from the UK and people telling me they've "majored in...", their child is in "grade...", they're at "college [the term is used here but apparently refers to a different stage]", is often meaningless to me. So I was writing this to seek clarification and I'll start by outlining the educational process in the UK.

    Primary 1 to Primary 7 (ages 4 to 11 respectively)

    Then either to a High school or Grammar school, typically, High schools teach people from year 8 to year 12 (ages 12 to 16), were they leave following GCSEs. Grammar schools (sometimes called colleges) have years 13 and 14 (ages 17 and 18) where students can do A levels.

    Then, if they do well enough in their A levels, University, often abbreviated to Uni (which I think is called college in other places?).

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  3. #2  
    Veracity Vigilante inow's Avatar
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Austin, TX
    There is some minor difference depending on decade or location, but in the US the basics are roughly this:

    Age 3 - Pre-school / Nursury school (or, toddler camp is maybe a better term given what it really is)
    Age 4 - Pre-kindergarten
    Age 5 - Kindergarten
    Age 6 to 10 / Grades 1 to 5 - Elementary school
    Age 11 to 13 / Grades 6 to 8 - Middle School (sometimes called junior high, but usually when grade 7 to 9)
    Age 14 to 18 / Grades 9 to 12 - High School
    College / University - Used interchangably - After high school

    Note, sometimes people go to junior college or community college which offers basic courses and sometimes 2 year degrees. Generally this is done as a stepping stone into more formal university.

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  4. #3  
    Forum Cosmic Wizard i_feel_tiredsleepy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Mar 2008
    Most of Canada uses the same system as the US.

    Quebec uses the same system as the UK, with some name differences.

    Pre-Kindergarten, 1 year. Starting at age 4.
    Kindergarten, 1 year.
    Primary 1-6
    Secondary 1-5
    College 2 years for university track, 3 years for vocational diplomas. (the official name of the public colleges is C.E.G.E.P., which stands for Collegial Education General et Professionel, with some accents that I'm too lazy to include) We don't do A levels though, you're expected to achieve a diploma in Liberal Arts, Social Sciences, Pure and Applied Science, Health Sciences, Music, or Art. There is also a general education component all are required to take, includes 4 first language (English or French), 2 second language (the other of the official languages), 3 physical education, 3 humanities, and 2 complementary courses from a stream outside your own.

    (Our universities use the major/minor system like the US, but you apply directly into your program of study, and it is usually difficult to change majors, it requires reapplying to the university)
    "I almost went to bed
    without remembering
    the four white violets
    I put in the button-hole
    of your green sweater

    and how i kissed you then
    and you kissed me
    shy as though I'd
    never been your lover "
    - Leonard Cohen
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