American Curriculum

American Curriculum

  • Most American curriculum schools in Abu Dhabi follow the U.S. Common Core State Standards for English Language and Mathematics, and Next Generation Science Standards for Science. 
  • Students in secondary school (Grade 9 and onwards) studying in an American curriculum school can personalize their education experience by choosing from a range of elective subjects. 


  • Entry to Pre-Kindergarten typically begins at age 3. 
  • Students complete 12 years of schooling beyond Kindergarten. 
  • Typically, in high school, courses are expressed as “Credits”, representing the number of hours of study the student engages in. 
  • Students graduate with a High School Diploma, a school-leaving qualification that reflects their academic work from Grades 9-12.
  • The table below shows the academic journey that a student studying an American curriculum is expected to take:
Age Grade
3-4 Pre-Kindergarten (Pre-K) 
4-5 KG1
5-6 KG2
6-7 1
7-8 2
8-9 3
9-10 4
10-11 5
11-12 6
12-13 7
13-14 8
14-15 9 (Freshman)
15-16 10 (Sophomore)
16-17 11 (Junior)
17-18 12 (Senior)


  • Assessments in the American system may be internal (i.e. set and marked by the teacher), or external (MAP®, AP, etc.).
  • Unlike most other curricula, there is no external exam or qualification that students must pass to obtain a high school diploma. Students only receive a Grade Point Average (GPA) as an indication of their academic achievement at the end of their schooling.
  • Optional Advanced Placement (AP) Assessments are standardized tests taken by high school students to demonstrate mastery in subjects.
  • High performance in an AP exam may be accepted by some colleges and universities as credits toward the student’s bachelor's degree.
  • In Grade 11, students can take the SAT or the ACT, two standardized tests that are a prerequisite for applying to colleges in the U.S.
  • In Grade 8, 9 or 10, students may choose to take the PSAT (based on their relevant grade), a preparatory version of the SAT.
  • All students in Grades 3-9 studying a U.S. curriculum have to take NWEAMAP® or Iowa Assessments, in English (Reading/Language Usage),Mathematics and Science.


Schools may be accredited with one of five regional U.S. Accreditation agencies:

  • American International Accreditation Association (AIAA).
  • Middle States Association-Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools (MSA-CESS).
  • New England Association of Schools and Colleges (NEASC).
  • Accrediting Commission for Schools-Western Association of Schools and Colleges (ACS-WASC).
  • Cognia (previously AdvancED).

Further Details

  • More details on the Common Core Standards are available here.
  • Details on the Next Generation Science Standards are available here.