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Graduation Requirements in simple English please?

Original post made by Confused Parent, Palo Verde, on Dec 16, 2011

We were not educated in the US and both of us were educated in an English speaking exam orientated educational system.

We have been trying to follow and educate ourselves about the system our children will be using here in Palo Alto. We understand plain English, and do not understand all the jargon we are finding and when we ask we are given more jargon we don't understand.

Please can someone explain to us in simple English what A - G means? Is this the same as the letter grades, A meaning passing with honors and G meaning fail? In which case which are passing grades and which are honors grades and what is the difference between F and G failing grades?

Can someone also explain why a final exam occurs twice every year? Is there a special final exam at the end of 12th grade to examine a student's retention of knowledge for the previous 4 years of high school and what is this final exam called?

Thank you.

Comments (5)

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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2011 at 11:52 am

It's a long answer, and you deserve to get a better answer than this, but I'll try to answer

A-G has nothing to do with grades, it relates to University of California eligibility requirements see this link Web Link.

IF you would like your children to be eligible to apply to a UC, you need to make sure that your child is taking the right courses in Palo Alto, to meet those requirements, PAUSD does not make sure that happens, it's up to you to make sure.

In order to actually meet the A-G requirements, you need to make sure your kids are in the right Math lanes which start in Middle School. The higher lanes take you way above the A-G, and the low lanes can take you way below the A-G. Science lanes in High School depend on the Math lane.

The special High School exams to apply to colleges in the US are the SAT, and SAT Subject tests Web Link

and a host of other requirements which you should review at the colleges that interest you.

IF you are lucky to be from a country which has a better system to go to college, and you can even go to it for free, this may all not be necessary, but if your country has extensive academic requirements, you may want to stay even above the A-G requirements so that you comply with their requirements.

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Posted by parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Dec 16, 2011 at 11:54 am

LINK TO A-G requirements

Web Link

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Posted by palo alto mom
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Dec 16, 2011 at 3:43 pm

The A-G requirements should be called the California College requirements (or something a lot less confusing). These requirements are pretty consistent for most but not all US colleges. These classes need to be passed with a C for high school credit, you can get a D.

There is a test which kids need to pass to graduate from high school - the CASHEE. Web Link PAUSD kids take it their sophomore year and most pass it that year.

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Posted by former Paly parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 16, 2011 at 6:05 pm

The main thing about the States is there are quite a variety of requirements for 1)high school graduation and 2)college admission applications - these vary from state to state, school district to school district, university to university, so you are wise to get generally familiar with these parameters. There are books in the library or bookstore with lots of information about this process.
This is why we have the SAT and ACT and AP exams -- to build in SOME sort of standard measuring stick in a country without even a national curriculum.
There is an emphasis on extra-curricular activities that is not done in another country I am familiar with, so being aware of this (student's resume of activities) is important well before the student is submitting university applicaition (which are not standard by any means here).
I don't know how old your students are, but a nice high school counselor should be able to assist you with explaining these details.
Our students did not attend University of California, for example, for their requirements for applying for admission (which have changed over the years, incidentally) were not so critical to our family; they may or may not be to yours, but they are used as a sort of benchmark.
You can look on the web at private American universities that MAY interest your family and read up on their admissions applications requirements (for example, how many yrs of Math or foreign language, etc.) - these WON'T speak of A-G requirements as they are irrelevant.
Also be advised that there are MANY potential scholarship award opportunities at private universities, so though there costs and fees appear horrifically high often, these are sometimes greatly lessened with such scholarship type awards. (Potential scholarships are often numerous and listed somewhere on a university's website or in their fancy brochures).

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Posted by former Paly parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Dec 16, 2011 at 6:07 pm

oops - forgive my several typos.

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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