High school

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The High School ( German spelling correct: High School ) or Secondary School is a secondary school of secondary education sector in countries such as Australia , Ghana , Canada , New Zealand , the Philippines , in South Africa and the USA . In these countries, it represents the last section of the statutory school education ( compulsory education ).

United States

The American High School is a comprehensive school for school education at secondary school level. It is comparable to the German comprehensive school , but there are no other secondary schools in the USA . Since all young people attend high school of the appropriate age, the level is more diverse than in German comprehensive schools.

The structure of the schools is very different from school district to school district: After the primary school or elementary school (a multi-year elementary school at the primary level, possibly including a kindergarten or pre-school year), there is a visit to a middle school and / or a junior High School (also short Junior High). The demarcation between these two types of school is not clear. The junior high usually includes grades 7 and 8, but occasionally also 6 and / or 9. The actual high school (also called senior high school or senior high) traditionally includes grades 9 to 12, where 9th grade students If you still attend junior high school, it does not start until the 10th grade. Junior high school and high school are almost always in separate buildings. The term Grade School is sometimes used as a term for all classes up to eighth, as there are no names for these classes, but they are usually referred to with numbers.

In Senior High School, the classes are not only numbered, the students in each grade also have special names:

  • The ninth graders are called Freshmen ,
  • the tenth graders are called sophomores ,
  • the eleventh graders are called Juniors and
  • the twelfth graders are called Seniors .

The same designations are also used in US colleges and universities for the first to fourth years of undergraduate studies.

Curriculum and teaching

In order to obtain a degree, some compulsory courses are usually required, and electives are also offered. In consultation with so-called guidance counselors , the students can determine the level of instruction by enrolling in easy ( regular or level ), medium ( advanced or pre-AP ) or difficult ( AP ) courses. A high school degree corresponds to either the middle school leaving certificate , the technical college entrance qualification or the high school diploma , depending on which train you enroll in. The high school diploma in connection with z. B. Advanced Placement courses, the successful completion of which can be credited towards further training in college, or a correspondingly high result in the SAT ( Scholastic Assessment Test ) entitles you to direct university admission in the states of the German-speaking area in Central Europe.

The high school is usually a three-quarter day school with six full hours of lessons per day and a lunch break in between , during which you can often eat in the associated school canteen . Classes usually start between 7:10 am and about 9 am and end between 2:10 pm and 3:30 pm; There is usually a supervised common room for students who arrive earlier or leave later (e.g. because their parents are working). Saturday and Sunday are free. In total, lessons are usually taught for about 36 weeks per year. In addition to the rather long summer holidays, there are also Christmas holidays and spring break (spring holidays ). In many states you have each during a half every day the same timetable that in Periods is divided.

American high schools usually offer extracurricular activities such as various sports (e.g. American football , soccer , basketball , baseball , swimming , golf , track and field , wrestling , volleyball , cheerleading ) and clubs ( z. B. theater club , debating club , National Honor Society , Future Farmers of America , Future Business Leaders of America ) on. These usually take place on every school day, with sports there are also games on the weekend. Sports usually run over a trimester , with certain standard assignments: e.g. B. American football and soccer in autumn, basketball and volleyball in winter, baseball / softball and athletics ( track ) in spring. The so-called major sports such as football, basketball and baseball are particularly important.

The school years are concluded with final examinations ( finals ) in all subjects, which are written, oral and, in some subjects, also practical tests, the grades of which make up a certain proportion of the last report card of the respective school year. As a rule, the high school is completed after attending the 12th grade with the receipt of the high school diploma . Even within a state, the level can vary considerably depending on the school district , as these districts (with school boards elected by the citizens ) have a relatively high degree of autonomy in their decisions. It also varies because the schools are financed in very different ways due to the different tax revenues in the districts, which has an impact on the quality of the teaching. Colleges and universities therefore require their applicants to take standardized tests, of which the SAT is the most important.

In addition, in some areas there are also some school leavers ( dropouts ) who , with the permission of their parents, leave high school without a qualification at the age of 16 or 17 after compulsory schooling . In some areas with very high dropout rates, the average level of students remaining in school is often slightly higher than in other high schools.

The discipline outside the classroom is usually very pronounced, and so in many schools you are only allowed to move inside the school building with a Hall Pass during class. Leaving the school premises during class is also strictly controlled. A malfunction within the pupil of the classroom by a detention ( Detention punished). After class is over, detention is not the only thing that takes place, but also tutoring. The teachers are expected to be available for free tutoring as well. At most US high schools, teachers are required to be there up to an hour before class starts.

Private high schools

In addition to the state high schools, there are also private high schools. The so-called prep schools ( preparatory schools ) are usually more respected than public high schools, although there is no legal difference between graduating from a private and a public high school. Unlike in German-speaking countries, where private schools are financed up to 90% by the state , American private schools do not receive any public funds, but are financed through school fees , sponsors and fundraising campaigns . A large part of the private schools are run by the church, and in many there is a uniform requirement . Religious instruction is only given at religiously oriented private schools .


In Canada, depending on the region, the term high school is also equated with the terms secondary school (in Quebec École Secondaire ) or Collegiate Institute . In general, this means a secondary school for the school years nine to twelve. However, every province in Canada has its own educational system, so there are different types of high schools. In some provinces, for example, a gradation between junior high and senior high is implemented. In the majority of Canadian high schools, the school year, similar to Germany, runs from late August or early September to mid or late June.

In Canadian high schools there are mostly numerous extracurricular sports activities. The most popular high school sports are ice hockey , rugby , soccer, lacrosse , field hockey , American football, baseball, basketball, volleyball, and track and field. Outside of sport, there are extracurricular activities such as computer or theater clubs.


In Australia, too, high school refers to a secondary school that is attended from the seventh or eighth to the twelfth grade, depending on the state. In Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory , the term refers to the time spent in school between the seventh and tenth years of school, while the eleventh and twelfth years are referred to as college . In Victoria State , the term high school was largely replaced by the term secondary school following the Labor government reforms in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Analogous to the US television series, in which life in a high school environment was filmed, there is an Australian version with Heartbreak High .

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. https://www.duden.de/rechtschreibung/Highschool
  2. ^ Definition: High School ( November 1, 2009 memento on WebCite ), Encarta Encyclopedia
  3. Definition: Junior High ( Memento of the original from October 31, 2009 on WebCite ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , Encarta encyclopedia  @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot / encarta.msn.com
  4. study by the US Department of Education to the drop-out Council on High Schools , 1996
  5. ^ Study by the Manhattan Institute for Policy Research , same topic , 2003