Start with the basic facts. While 91% of students graduate High School in the U.K., a measly 77% of students graduate in the U.S. according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operations and Development (OECD).
This means the U.K. is doing something obviously.
What might that be?
In the U.S. Elementary school goes from ages 5-11. Middle school goes from ages 11-14 and High School from ages 14-18. High school may offer some electives but with all of the requirements that have to be met to graduate, most students only have enough time to explore a few topics they are truly interested in.
The U.K. separates school by four stages in a different fashion from the U.S. Stage one covers ages 5-6, stage two covers ages 7-10, stage three covers ages 11-13 and stage four covers ages 14-15. The 16 and 17 year olds’ spend time in something called a sixth form.
The sixth form is an optional portion of school meant to prepare students for college or allow them to spend two years in a college that offers courses for the sixth form.
Again, the difference in this type of education shows up in the numbers. 46% of college students in the U.S. graduate college, in the U.K… 65%.
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