Choosing A School: A Look At The American Curriculum

There are currently around 200 private schools in Dubai, and around two thirds of those offer either the American, British or International Baccalaureate (IB) curricula.

Deciding on a curriculum is one of the most important decisions you will make when choosing a school for you child, whether you are looking for a new school, or even if you’re looking to change schools.  

So what are the options, benefits and qualifications pupils can expect from these three different curricula?

In this short series of articles, Connector looks at what stands out among the different curricula to help parents decide what fits best for their child. We also ask members of senior leadership teams what they think ae the key benefits of the curriculum their school offers.

This article looks at American curriculum.

Curriculum Overview

The US curriculum is based on American Common Core State Standards for English language, arts, mathematics, history and geography, science, social studies and physical education.

Qualifications

The high school diploma is awarded to students who graduate from secondary school. Additionally, the General Educational Development (GED) and Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT) are certificates recognised in the US. College Board Advanced Placement (AP) allows secondary school graduates to earn undergraduate credits for first-year university courses.

How Work Is Graded

For the General Educational Development, students can earn a score between 200 and 800 for each section of the test. The minimum passing requirement is an average of 450 points in all content areas, and a minimum score of 410 in any of them. SATs are scored between 200 to 800 points per content area, with total scores between 600 and 2,400. 

What The Senior Leadership Think Are The Key Benefits Of Their Own Schools Curriculum

Dr. Adrianna Chestnut, Principal of Bright Learners Private School explains "A school is defined by its curriculum. The curriculum distinguishes international schools from one another, attracting both staff and students while helping to establish the school ethos and helping in creating a path for the student. America is often referred to as “the melting pot”, which is the heart of the American immigration system. The melting pot comes from the idea that all of the cultural differences in the United States melt together, as if they were metals being melted down to become a stronger alloy. Similarly to that melting pot, I believe that the American curriculum is sought after for its diversity and flexibility of the curriculum. This diversity is what I feel makes our system strong and it is evident in the form curriculum, assessments, learning approaches and teaching strategies."

The top 3 benefits of the American curriculum for a student according to Dr. Adrianna Chestnut are:

Diversity in Curriculum: The American curriculum, which is standards based is an exploration that allows students to discover their interest, while building on core academic skills. It is also intended to prepare students for college and careers by emphasising innovation and social interaction. Within this structure, students are required to learn a wide range of subjects from kindergarten to grade 12, including English, math, science, foreign languages, history, art, music, and physical education. However, once students are in the higher grades, they have the opportunity to take part in courses that are aligned to their personal interest. Thus, when the foundation is established, students can carve out their own path.

Diversity in Assessment: Standardised assessments are not the only type of assessment used in American curriculum schools. In the American system, nationally standardised assessments allow the opportunity to establish students levels. These assessments are not the sole determining factor of the students academic future. It is understood that assessment must be varied and ongoing. Thus, the overall academic performance of a student is based on a variety of factors, including their cumulative GPA (Grade Point Average), outcomes from different tests, teachers' feedback, personal accomplishments, and extracurricular/volunteer activities.

Diversity in Teaching and Learning: The American curricular program encompasses not just textbooks and lectures, but also a wide array of instructional techniques and evaluation methods. It is my belief that this is what makes our curriculum so beautiful. Teachers have the autonomy to teach and instruct students in the way they best learn. Collaboration, innovation and hands on learning are encouraged as we strive to meet the needs of all students. It is well understood that learning is not a one size fits all, thus we have to cater to the individual and diverse needs of our students. With a focus on growth, development and the personal journey, each child has a place within the American System.

Choosing A School: A Look At The International Baccalaureate (IB) Curriculum

Choosing A School: A Look At The British Curriculum

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