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The United States Educational System-Based on Age Essay

The United States educational system based on age is adapted to United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization’s (UNESCO) International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) levels. In order to define the levels of education uniformly across all countries, this publication used terms to compile worldwide comparable statistics on education. The organization differentiated seven levels of education ranging from preprimary to tertiary.

International descriptions of preprimary, primary, and tertiary education are parallel to the classification used in the United States. On the other hand, lower and upper secondary education has slightly dissimilar meanings. Level zero is called as preprimary education or commonly known as early childhood education. “It usually included education for children aged 3-5, although in some countries, it starts as early as age 2 and in other continues through age 6. In the United States, preprimary education includes kindergarten (Matheson, Salganik, Phelps & Perie, 19).

” Primary education (level 1) runs from about ages 6-11, or about first through sixth grades in the United States. Specialization rarely occurs in any countries before secondary education. Secondary education covers ages 11 or 12 through 18 or 19 and is divided into two levels: lower and upper secondary (levels 2 and 3). For purposes of statistical comparability, the United States has defined lower secondary education as grades 7 through 9 and upper secondary as grades 10 through 12.

“In the United States, lower secondary education ends with an examination and constitutes the completion of compulsory education (Matheson, Salganik, Phelps & Perie, 19). ” Upper secondary education immediately follows lower secondary education and includes general or academic, technical, and vocational education, or any combination thereof, depending on the country. An upper secondary attainment level is roughly equivalent to a U. S. high school diploma. The United States Educational System-Based on Age Page 2

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Higher education, also referred to as tertiary education, includes three ISCED levels and is equivalent of postsecondary education in the United States. “Non-university higher education includes education beyond the secondary school level involving programs that terminate in less than a 4-year degree (Matheson, Salganik, Phelps & Perie, 19). ” This type of education is at ISCED level 5. ISCED level 6 comprises education programs that lead to a 4-year undergraduate degree. These programs are typically located in universities and other 4-year institutions.

The highest level, ISCED level 7, includes graduate and professional degree programs. Compulsory education ends at different ages across other countries. In the United States, Canada, France, Germany, and the United Kingdom, mandatory schooling ends at age 16, the end point is age 14 in Italy and 15 in Japan. In Germany, full-time compulsory education ends at age 16, although students are required to be enrolled at least part-time through age 18 (Matheson, Salganik, Phelps & Perie, 14). After compulsory education, enrollment rates drop off.

In the United States, enrollment in secondary education dropped from 72 percent for 17-year-olds to 21 percent for 18-year-olds. In the United States, the first opportunity for students to receive secondary certification is upon completing high school, usually at age 17 or 18. In United Kingdom, students take the examination for the general certificate of secondary education when they are 16. Youth who do not continue to upper secondary schooling and are unemployed are eligible for training programs supported by the government but outside the education system.

In Germany, the majority of secondary school students who continue after age 16 and are not preparing for university education participate in vocational training at the upper secondary level, including the country’s dual system of pert-time schooling and part-time apprenticeship. The United States Educational System-Based on Age Page 3 Participation in higher education in the United States and Canada was among the highest in the world in 1992. However, this doest not mean that young adults the age of U. S.

college students are more likely to be enrolled in education programs in the United States than in other countries (Matheson, Salganik, Phelps & Perie, 15). The disadvantage of ISCED levels are planned mainly for (educational) statistical reasons and for validating quantitative productivity. “ISCED would have restricted use for the purpose of comparability, recognition, mobility and European cooperation in VET. No sector specific and job specific definitions or typology of skills are available (Hoffmeyer-Zlotnik, 223-240).

” ISCED 1997 is in most contemporary and western countries a useful system to categorize school leaving certificates. In countries with complicated educational systems, like Germany, the ISCED 1997 categories cover hardly the community situation. “Another disadvantage of ISCED 1997 is the risk misclassification, how national diplomas are sorted into the ISCED 1997 codes. Asking the respondent about the ISCED codes increases the interview burden for the respondent (OECD). ”

Education is associated to numerous aspects of social disadvantage all through an individual’s life span. “This includes their time in pre-primary education, in the compulsory schooling system during their childhood years, as young adults in post-compulsory education and during the years of adulthood (Machin, 10). ” Social disadvantage also matters for the phase of post-compulsory education, where it is evident that educational inequalities linked to family background tend to persist and become larger (Feinstein, 213-229).

The possibility of staying on after the compulsory school-leaving age is connected to family setting and social drawback in many countries. Since involvement in higher education improves life likelihood and triumph as an adult, this The United States Educational System-Based on Age Page 4 compounds the previously wide disparity linked to social disadvantage that arise in the childhood years (Machin, 11).


• Feinstein, Lee. “Mobility in Pupils: Cognitive Attainment during School Life. ” Oxford Review of Economic Policy 20 (2004): 213-229. • Hoffmeyer-Zlotnik, Jurgen.

“How to Measure Education in Cross-National Comparison: Hoffmeyer-Zlotnik/Warner-Matrix of Education as a New Instrument. ” Mannheim: ZUMA 11 (2005): 223-240. • Machin, Stephen. Social disadvantage and education experiences OECD, Paris, OECD social, employment and migration working papers, Paris: OECD Publications, 2006. • Matheson, Nancy, Salganik, Laura, Phelps, Richard, & Perie, Marriane. Education Indicators: An International Perspective, Pennsylvania: DIANE Publishing, 1997. • OECD. Education at a Glance, OECD Indicators 2004, Paris: OECD Publications, 2004.

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