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School grades (US)

School grades in the USA. It is hoped that this reference chart will be useful to those unfamiliar with the US school system. Primary education and secondary education together are sometimes referred to as K-12 (kindergarten through twelfth grade). It should be noted that practice can vary from this general picture.


  • Pre-School[?], Nursery School, or Head Start; Under 5
  • Elementary School In the nineteenth and early twentieth century, Elementary School or Grammar School included grades one through eight, high school included grades nine through twelve.
    • Kindergarten 5-6
    • 1st Grade 6-7
    • 2nd Grade 7-8
    • 3rd Grade 8-9
    • 4th Grade 9-10
    • 5th Grade 10-11
  • Middle school (also called Junior High School[?])
    • 6th Grade 11-12 (not always. Some Elementary Schools include 6th grade as their highest grade.)
    • 7th Grade 12-13
    • 8th Grade 13-14
  • High school
    • 9th Grade (Freshman year) 14-15
    • 10th Grade (Sophomore year) 15-16
    • 11th Grade (Junior year) 16-17
    • 12th Grade (Senior year) 17-18

"Intermediate school" or "Junior high school" may refer to schools that begin in 7th grade and end in either 8th or 9th grade, where 6th grade is the final grade in elementary school, and in the case ending in 9th grade, only grades 10, 11, and 12 are in high school. The term "junior high school" and the arrangement beginning with 7th grade is now much less common.

  • College or University Undergraduate grades are also called Freshman, Sophomore, Junior, and Senior years.
    • Undergraduate
      • College or university
        • Four years leading to a a Bachelor or Arts (BA) or a Bachelor of Science (BS) degree.
      • Community college
        • Lower division, two years leading to an Associate of Arts (AA) degree.
        • Upper division, two years leading to B.A. or B.S.
    • Postgraduate
      • Two years leading to a Master of Arts (MA) degree.
      • Four or more years leading to a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) degree or two or more years after earning a Masters.

See also: School grades (Canada), School years (United Kingdom)

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