American vs Canadian High Schools
Parents with teenagers approaching high school age may be wondering what the differences are between American and Canadian high schools. Both educational systems have their pros and cons, but there are some key distinctions that set them apart. What is the difference between American and Canadian high schools?
This blog post will take a closer look at some of the most important ones. So whether you’re already in the process of researching schools or just curious about the topic, read on for an overview of the differences between American and Canadian high schools!
Top 15 Differences Between American and Canadian High Schools
There are various distinguishing factors between American and Canadian high schools. But the following 15 are some of the most significant ones:
1. School Structure
In America, high school typically lasts for four years, from grades 9-12. In Canada, it generally only lasts three years, from grades 10-12. So if your child plans to attend university in the States, they’ll need to take an extra year of high school first. Alternatively, if they’re hoping to go to school in Canada, they may be able to get a head start by finishing high school a year early.
2. Academic Requirements
To graduate from an American high school, students must complete a set number of credits in various core subjects like English, math, science, social studies, and foreign language. However, they also have the opportunity to take elective courses in order to explore their interests or prepare for college.
Canadian students also need to accumulate a certain number of credits to graduate, but the specific requirements vary from province to province, but students typically have to complete a core curriculum of English, Math, Science, and Social Studies.
3. Standardized Testing
In the United States, high school students typically take standardized tests like the SAT and ACT. These tests are used to help colleges evaluate applicants and determine whether or not they’re a good fit for their school.
In Canada, there are no standard nationwide exams like these. Instead, each province has its own secondary school entrance exam that students must take in order to be admitted to high school. However, some universities may consider them as part of the admissions process.
4. Class Size
Another biggest difference between American and Canadian high schools is class size. In the US, it’s not uncommon for classes to have 30 or more students. High schools in America are also often much larger than their Canadian counterparts, with some schools having over 2,000 students. In Canada, high school class sizes are typically smaller, with an average of 20 students per class. This allows for a more intimate learning environment and teacher-individualized attention.
5. Extra-curricular Activities
Both American and Canadian high schools offer a wide range of extra-curricular activities for students to get involved in. However, the two countries have some key differences regarding these activities. High school sports are a big deal in the US, and students often have to choose between playing a sport and participating in other activities.
In Canada, there’s less of a focus on competitive sports and more emphasis placed on other extracurricular activities such as music, drama, and art.
6. Advanced Placement Courses
In the United States, high school students can take Advanced Placement (AP) courses in order to receive college credit. These courses are offered in a wide range of subjects and are typically more challenging than regular high school classes.
In Canada, there is no equivalent to AP courses. However, some provinces offer advanced-level courses that allow students to earn university credit while still in high school.
7. STEM Courses
Another key difference between American and Canadian high schools is the availability of STEM courses. In the United States, many high schools offer courses in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM). These courses are typically designed to prepare students for careers in these fields.
In Canada, STEM courses are also available at some high schools. However, they are not as widely available as in the United States. This may be due, in part, to the fact that the Canadian educational system emphasizes a well-rounded education rather than vocational training. As a result, not all high schools in Canada offer STEM courses.
8. Teacher Certification
In order to become a certified high school teacher in the United States, candidates must have at least a bachelor’s degree and complete an accredited teaching program. They must also pass a series of exams in order to be licensed by the state.
In Canada, the requirements for becoming a high school teacher are similar. Candidates must have a bachelor’s degree and complete a teacher education program. However, they are not required to pass any exams in order to be certified.
The accreditation of high schools is another key difference between American and Canadian schools. Regional or national accreditation organizations typically accredit high schools in the United States.
Regional accrediting agencies in the United States include the Middle States Association of Colleges and Schools, the New England Association of Schools and Colleges, the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
Conversely, in Canada, high schools are typically accredited by the provincial government. Notably, there is no national accreditation organization for high schools in Canada.
10. Grading Systems
Grading systems are another key difference between American and Canadian high schools. In the United States, students typically receive letter grades (A, B, C, D, or F) on their report cards. In addition, a student’s grade point average (GPA) is often used to determine whether they are eligible for college scholarships or admissions.
In Canada, report cards typically use a percentage system. However, some provinces also use letter grades. For example, in Ontario, students receive both percentage grades and letter grades on their report cards. GPAs are not typically used in Canada to determine college eligibility. Rather, students’ transcripts are typically evaluated on a case-by-case basis.
Funding is another key difference between American and Canadian high schools. In the United States, public high schools are typically funded by a combination of federal, state, and local taxes. In addition, high schools may also receive funding from private sources, such as foundations or businesses. In Canada, public high schools are primarily funded by provincial governments. However, they may also receive funding from the federal government and from private sources.
Canadian high school students do not have to pay tuition to attend public high schools. In the United States, on the other hand, some states require high school students to pay tuition to attend public school.
Another key difference between American and Canadian high schools is the attendance policy. In the United States, students are typically required to attend school until they are 18 years old.
In Canada, the legal age of the majority is 19 in most provinces. As a result, high school students in Canada are not required to attend school after they turn 18. However, many students choose to do so in order to obtain a higher education.
13. Length of School Year
The length of the school year is another key difference between American and Canadian high schools. The typical school year runs from August to June in the United States. In Canada, the school year typically runs from September to June. However, some provinces have shorter school years, such as Quebec, where the school year typically runs from September to May.
14. Dress Code
Another key difference between American and Canadian high schools is the dress code. In the United States, many high schools have strict dress codes that students must follow. For instance, students may be required to wear certain types of clothing, such as collared shirts or skirts of a certain length.
In Canada, dress codes vary from province to province. However, they are generally not as strict as in the United States.
Lastly, prom is another key difference between American and Canadian high schools. Prom is a formal dance typically held at the end of the school year in the United States. n Canada, proms vary from province to province. Some provinces do not have proms at all, while others have informal dances that take place throughout the year.
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Our experienced and qualified educators will help your child thrive in an environment that prepares them for success in college and beyond.
Contact us today to learn more about our unique program and how we can help your family achieve their educational goals.