Difference between British and American curriculum

Students from British and American curriculum schools


A Guide to American Vs British Curriculum: Difference between US and UK Curriculum

This guide to American verses British Curriculum provides the main differences between the British or the UK curriculum and the American curriculum. We look at the structural and organisational differences as well as differences in the content.

 International Schools that follow a British Curriculum and American curriculum in Bangkok prepare students to enter school, college, and universities in the UK and the United States, respectively.

While the British Curriculum puts a lot of emphasis on GSE subject exams and the A –levels, the American curriculum lays more emphasis on student choice and freedom. These curriculums also differ from the way they are managed or accredited to the actual content. However, the International Schools are also overseen by the Thailand education ministry and departments for purposes of ensuring good quality.

The differences between American and British Curriculum.

International Schools that follow the UK curriculum are certified by the UK board but those following the American curriculum are certified by the American curriculum board. The American curriculum emphasizes choice and freedom and students are encouraged to be critical thinkers with a mix of assignments, quizzes, and presentations instead of just examinations. In this case, students pursue only the SAT and ACT as national-wide standardized tests.

SAT is the most common test in this case and students are tested on math, critical reading, and writing based on what they study in school. The results are used to apply for university. Since students are relocated at the secondary level, they are taught math and science are taught sequentially one after the other.

On the contrary, the UK IB Curriculum stretches on the importance of GSE subject exams and the A –levels. Students are able to select their desired subjects before grade 9 and they will study them for the next two years.

The British curriculum teaches math and science subjects simultaneously.

Children studying at an international school with British and American Curriculum

Key Stages

Also known as the National Curriculum of England, the British curriculum taught in Bangkok international schools is similar to that taught by schools in the United Kingdom. In this curriculum, children start year 1 at the age of 5 or 6 years. Core subjects are taught at key stage 1 for two years. These subjects include mathematics, English, science, geography, computing, and many more.  They then start learning modern foreign and ancient languages at Key stage 2. Assessment is done twice, one at the end of Key stage 1 and the other at Key stage 2 or at the end of year 6.

Students then learn Citizenship at Key Stage 3 in year 7 and more emphasis is placed on mathematics, science, English as the core subjects, and computing, citizenship, and physical education as foundational subjects, in year 10 or year 11 when students enter Key stage 4.

Students then take the IGCSE exam at the end of Key stage 4. Those wishing to proceed to university go to Key Stage 5 or Sixth Form and take the Advanced Level (A levels) for two years. Another option would be for them to take the IB exam in Year 1

American curriculum Bangkok in International Schools starts with children at the age of 5 and 18 at the Kindergarten or pre-schools. They learn drawing, letters, numbers, shapes, and colors at this stage. The emphasis is on play-based learning. Students enter elementary school at the age of 6 and 7 – commonly known as primary or grade school. The child learns from grade 1 to five and then proceed to sixth grade. The student then enters junior high or middle school at 12 or 13 years in the seventh grade. High school or ninth grade starts at the age of 14 or 15 and usually ends when the child is 18 years.

To prepare for the university studies, students can then proceed to grade 11 to 12 to take International Baccalaureate (IB) classes or Advanced Placement (AP) courses. Students can then take the SAT or ACT at Grade 11 if they wish to proceed to a US college or university.

International school students go to university in the US and UK

International schools that offer the American curriculum develop their own programs of study because, in the United States, different states do not follow a unified national curriculum but instead develop their own. Therefore, the US curriculum will vary from one International School to another.

However, all of these schools adopt the Common Core standard which emphasizes English language arts/literacy (ELA) and in mathematics. They have to follow guidelines and standards and be accredited by different bodies including New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC), Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC), Middle States Association of College and School, and New York State Board of Regents.

International Schools in Thailand are the best choices for children of diplomats and corporate executives who are moving to Thailand. International Schools in Thailand, which offer IB Curriculum or British curriculum, and American curriculum in Bangkok maintain good standards – they are accredited or are members of the Council of International Schools and many other organisations and groups.