Concerning the age of entry to school education in the U.S., it is different, according to the state, between 5 and 7 years of age, 6 being the most common; and the age of leaving differs between 16 and 18 years of age, the most common being 16. The extent of primary education differs from four to seven years. According to its length it is followed by three years of middle school education. Secondary education occurs in grades 7-12, depending upon the rules and policies of states and local school districts. No national structure, curriculum or governing law is present.
There is no national structure, curriculum or governing law; all laws and policies are laid down and imposed by the 50 state governments and the over 14,000 local school districts. The twelfth grade has been set as the completion of secondary school, and the widespread name for the secondary graduation qualification is the High School Diploma. This diploma name covers a diversity of awards for a variety of curricula and standards. There are Honors/Regents, academic/college introductory, professional, and general/basic high school diploma tracks. There is a state-wide minimum course obligation and other graduation requirements in each State which more often than not corresponds to the general/basic track. Vocational and academic/college preparatory or honors/regents diplomas regularly have extra set curricular requirements and/or standards which aspirant graduates must meet or exceed. What is more is that the bulk of US secondary school districts and private schools allow students to partake in the Advanced Placement (AP) programme of the College Board. This programme permits capable students to take college level introductory courses in selected subjects taught by certified faculty. A vast number of secondary schools also present the International Baccalaureate (IB) as an elective path; completion of IB needs usually requires an additional summer or semester of study beyond the 12th year. The title “High School Diploma” remains the most commonly recognized name for the U.S. secondary school leaving diploma.
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