Talk:Education in the United States/Archive 2007

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new history article

I have started a new article on History of Education in the United States. It will be much longer than the history section here, and have a useful bibliography. Rjensen 03:37, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Table of years

In the last year, the fairly clear descriptive table that was in this article has been replaced with a coloured table that groups years into different educational establishments. It gives each year a grade. The table needs a descriptive key to make it work. Are the abbreviations some form of US standrad nomenclature? If so could someone produce a reference to a definitions page (eg a US government page or ...). (((Meanwhile I have put Freshman/Sophomore/Junior/Senior into the table. These terms are incomprehensible to most non-US folk and must be clearly explained for general discussions about US education to be understood.))) -- SGBailey 20:35, 20 February 2007 (UTC)

Two Majorities

In the curriculum issues section, it said that "A majority of people in the United States support evolution, a majority also supports creationism." I am paraphrasing a bit, but it did say that there is a majority of people who advocate evolution, and a majority that advocates creationism. I changed it so that it now says that a majority advocates evolution, but many advocate creationism. I am not sure though what the majority is though. If someone does no which side has more supporters, please change what I wrote. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 21:35, 30 April 2007 (UTC).


"In the subject of teaching in the United States, many other countries criticize the fact that American students learn very little about the world outside America. This has long been the subject of a section on Australian ABC comedy The Chasers War on Everything called "Firth in the U.S.A". Charles Firth attempted to pass off well-known historical world landmarks as Australian, such as the Leaning Tower of Pisa and Mount Rushmore. All those interviewed believed him."

I moved this from history to competitiveness. It looks like that's where it was intended to be. I don't think it should be included in the article, though. It says that it is a fact that American students learn very little about the world outside America, then it goes on to give worthless supporting evidence. The evidence given is anecdotal, unscientific and could be easily manipulated by the show's producers. They could simply not include the Americans who knew the correct answers. Also, it looks like a plug for this tv show. It might be worth keeping to describe a belief among non-Americans that Americans are uneducated about the rest of the world, though. 18:31, 28 May 2007 (UTC)

International Baccalaureate

This article completely misses the point of the International Baccalaureate, which is obviously (look at the name) not a part of the American educational system.

Actually, unsigned participant, a few American schools are offering such programs. (SEWilco 16:16, 19 June 2007 (UTC))

The current table of grades makes no sense

I am challenging the following edit: [1]. On 30 October 2006, User:Lordmetroid switched the article from what was previously an accurate and very readable table of grades to the predecessor of the very strange grade table in the article. The current table is highly inaccurate and constitutes original research in violation of Wikipedia official policy Wikipedia:No original research. NO ONE in the United States uses the abbreviations given in that table (e.g., H10 for the high school sophomore year). The ONLY grade that is routinely abbreviated to a letter by Americans is kindergarten, which is abbreviated to K as in K-12.

If no one defends the status quo, I'm reverting back to the original table in two weeks. --Coolcaesar 08:16, 14 June 2007 (UTC)

Agree; I haven't encountered the abbreviations in that table either. They appeared in the article Education in Sweden, and proposed but not included for Japan (Talk:Education in Japan#Template:Education infobox). A global classification would be nice if there is one; I see some universities consider some countries to measure the equivalent of a U.S 12th grade education after 1-2 years of university or passing a test. (SEWilco 19:28, 18 June 2007 (UTC))
Okay, I'm going to fix the table now. --Coolcaesar 22:54, 14 July 2007 (UTC)

What is K16 study?

Could somebody possibly add an explanation of K16 study in the opening section. Presumably the term is obvious to someone in the US but is meaningless to everyone else. I can find no Wiki link for K16. It sounds as though it ought to be a new incarnation of the dog K-9 from Doctor Who! Also I am totally perplexed by the sections on grades and grading scales. You need to explain these concepts more fully bearing in mind that most countries don't use the grade system. Age equivalents would be helpful in the text for non-US readers. (See the article on Educational stages for some examples.) Dahliarose 11:05, 19 June 2007 (UTC)

I think someone meant K-12 + 4 college, but that was wrong because the figure includes graduate students. Fixed. The Census Bureau source actually used words to describe the levels of study. (SEWilco 16:13, 19 June 2007 (UTC))
I'm still confused. What is K-12 +4 college? What is a graduate school? Is it the same as a high school (presumably up to age 18) or is it the equivalent of a university (up to age 21)? Dahliarose 16:59, 19 June 2007 (UTC)
Education through 12th grade, 4 years of college for an undergraduate degree, and any graduate school after that first college degree. (SEWilco 03:57, 20 June 2007 (UTC))
I've now answered my own question as I've discovered that there is an article on graduate schools which explains what they are (a postgraduate institution which seems to be specific to the US, hence my confusion). I've added the appropriate Wiki link so that other readers will be able to understand the term. Dahliarose 08:49, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

Grading scale

This section needs some further explanation as it is somewhat baffling for non-US readers. The tables seem to reflect some type of marking scheme but when are children given these marks? Are the grades based on internal school examinations or externally marked examinations or are they based on some form of continuous teacher assessment? Are children given grades every week, every month, every term or just at the end of the school year? Dahliarose 08:49, 20 June 2007 (UTC)

You are correct. Is that better? (SEWilco 12:17, 20 June 2007 (UTC))
That is an improvement but it still only makes sense when read in combination with the article on report cards. I think the main article should make it clear that these gradings are based on teacher assessment (if I've understood correctly). I think it might make more sense too if the whole section on grading scales could be combined with the section on standardised tests so that a clear explanation is given of the internal and external tests. Both sections should really come before the section on extracurricular activities. Dahliarose 12:56, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
The grading section is out out of place, and is helpful as a guide toward expected achievement levels, but because such grading is used continuously it probably doesn't quite belong within a standardized exam section. But that depends upon the phrasing and context. Perhaps by moving the testing sections ahead of extracurricular, this brief section on general grading can server as a segue to extracurricular activities also. There is a connection between grades and extracurricular activities, as many schools require a passing grade in order for have "eligibility" for extracurricular activities. That is, there is an official priority for academic tasks ahead of other activities which the school may be involved in. The eligibility requirements could be mentioned early in the extracurricular section; there would be a flow of grading policies if you're reading the whole article, while the activities section could stand alone as well if it only mentions its related requirements. (SEWilco 19:22, 20 June 2007 (UTC))
I've now repositioned the section on grading scales so that it comes after the section on the various types of schools, which seems more logical to me. It then runs smoothly into the section on standardised tests. I've rearranged it in a more logical order with the explanation first and the table following. I hope I haven't misunderstood or misinterpreted anything. Dahliarose 20:04, 20 June 2007 (UTC)
Looks better. Everyone will fix whatever it needs. (SEWilco 03:18, 21 June 2007 (UTC))

Kindergarten in the US and the need to state time spent in school

Does this author realize that Kindergarten is just one year in the US? I know that there are some kids who can wait until they are 6, but I've not heard of them waiting until 7 to attend.

Also, there are states where the school system is rigidly age-oriented. The child starts Kindergarten at 5 and can neither be advanced or held-back. It is a belief that it stunts the child socially. These schools offer advanced and remedial instruction by forming classes into smaller groups, thus attempting to provide the child with a challenging, yet not too challenging, education. This was the approach in Louisville, KY.

It is also important to state how many hours per day each grade typically spends in school and with what length of breaks. Our system is totally different than the Germany system, for example. They learn nothing in Kindergarten for 3-4 years. They then go to 1st grade at 6-7 years old. The 1st and 2nd grades last only 4 hours a day. From the 3rd grade on, they are only in school for 5 hours a day. Their new "full-day" schools includes after-school care and school club activities, but no actual increase in instructional time. People here cannot conceive of the idea that we train our kids to function in the work world by sending them for 7-7 1/2 hours per day, after the 6th grade - if this has not changed since my day - and give them 2 15 minute breaks and a 1/2 for lunch.


I'm not sure I fully understand the system in the US. However, most countries don't use a system of grades so the US system has to be explained in a way which can be understood by readers in other countries which means giving ages rather than all these confusing grade references. In many countries kindergarten is in fact part of nursery or pre-school education, so perhaps the US usage of the term kindergarten needs to be more fully explained. Dahliarose 16:04, 26 June 2007 (UTC)

minor: second sentence

Shouldn't the second sentence say, "primary and secondary" instead of "elementary and high school"? (because "primary and secondary" includes middle school) Dlkcsmith 00:16, 15 July 2007 (UTC)

Actually, it should probably include middle school as well. Most Americans don't understand the terms "primary and secondary education" because they're not commonly used in American newspapers or on TV (few TV reporters would use such obscure terminology unless they want to get fired). Only well-read intellectuals (that would include me) and people who actually hold college degrees in education are familiar with that terminology. --Coolcaesar 05:47, 16 July 2007 (UTC)


Wow you mean to tell me theres no criticism of the American public school system??!!....Yeah riiiight somebody's being TOO neutral if you ask me --Blackdragon6 18:09, 15 August 2007 (UTC)

I agree that this article really needs a criticism section.

Postgraduate Education

This article is about education in the United States yet it makes use of the term "postgraduate" in two instances. I thought that this term was used in Europe and that Americans almost always use "graduate school" to refer to post-tertiary education. Is there a reason why this terminology (postgraduate) is being used in this article? It would seem that being consistently accurate would be more importance than trying to vary word choice. (talk) 00:05, 23 November 2007 (UTC)

Edited Total Budget

Someone provided a link to the NCES data tables which state - "In millions of dollars (141,322 represents $141,322,000,000). For school years ending in year shown below" Yeah, $141,322,000,000 does not equal 1.14 trillion. It equals 141 Billion. Sloppy. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:23, 4 December 2007 (UTC)