Frequently Asked Curriculum Questions

U.S. Education System School Leaving Qualifications

Primary and Middle School


There are no widely recognized primary or middle school leaving qualifications in the United States. School-level education is considered to be comprehensive from year 1 through year 12, and there are no intermediate awards prior to the completion of secondary school. Some schools and school districts will issue certificates to students who complete kindergarten, elementary or middle school, but these do not have significance other than as achievement markers for having completed the specified grades. Students who do not complete secondary school are considered to be drop-outs, as there are no recognized qualifications issued to students who do not complete secondary education through the 12th year. The only significant exceptions to this practice are the Individual Education Plans for some special education students, which may - depending on the plan - result in certificates of completion representing a different standard than the high school diploma.


High School Diploma


The high school diploma is the basic U.S. qualification awarded to students who graduate from secondary school after 12 years of formal instruction. High School diplomas are issued by states or local districts to public school graduates, and by the school to private school graduates. Homeschooled students may or may not be issued a diploma depending on state policy and parental preference. Some diplomas may state "high school diploma" and others may state "secondary diploma (or certificate)" or simply "diploma".


There are usually at least three types of program, or track, that secondary graduates follow.

General high school diploma track meets the state minimum requirements for graduation.


Vocational diploma tracks exceed the state minimum requirement and add instruction in career subjects plus applicable mathematics and science requirements.


Academic preparatory diploma tracks also exceed the state minimum requirements by adding additional mathematics, English, foreign language and science instruction. In addition, some states and schools award honors or Regents diplomas for students whose academic preparatory programs meet specific requirements, and many students graduate in Advanced Placement (AP) courses.


International Baccalaureate (IB) programs are increasingly popular in U.S. primary and secondary schools, and IB Diplomas may now be earned by U.S. students along with, or instead of, U.S. High School diplomas.


Other Frequent Secondary Awards and Qualifications


College Board Advanced Placement (AP) is a program of tertiary-level courses and examinations in 20 subjects, taught by specially qualified teachers, that provides opportunities for secondary graduates to earn undergraduate credits for first-year university courses. The schools and teachers offering AP programs must meet College Board requirements and are monitored. Nearly 60 percent of U.S. secondary schools offer AP courses and over 2 million examinations are administered annually. Some 90 percent of U.S. higher education institutions, and many foreign institutions, accept AP credits.


International Baccalaureate (IB) is a recognized international program of primary, middle, and secondary studies leading to the International Baccalaureate (IB) Diploma. This diploma (or certificate) is recognized in Europe and elsewhere as qualifying holders for direct access to university studies. Schools offering the IB program are approved by the International Baccalaureate Organization (IBO) and their regional office and may use IBO instructional materials, local school materials, or a combination. There are nearly 800 U.S. schools offering IB programs, which are accepted at many U.S. colleges and universities. Over 40,000 U.S. students earn IB diplomas each year.



RAS USA High School Diploma - Academic Preparatory Track

Raffles American School follows an American style high school graduation requirement offering their own "RAS USA High School Diploma". The RAS USA High School Diploma can be obtained by earning credits (1 credit = 1 year) during the 4 years of high school. These credits consist of four credits of English, three credits of Social Studies, Mathematics, and Science. In addition, two credits of World Language and Physical Education,as well as one course of Art or Music, and .5 credit of Technology and Health. An additional six credits must be obtained by taking elective courses in any of the above areas to earn the required total of 25 credits which is the fulfillment of the RAS USA High School Diploma requirements.



An RAS USA High School Diploma Qualifies the Graduate

To obtain entrance into North American Universities and other Colleges and Universities world wide. This diploma certifies that the candidate has completed the necessary course of study to enter University or College worldwide.


British Council Published Entry Requirements United Kingdom Undergraduate Study


The qualifications you need depend on the course you want to study but the admission requirements resemble US Universities. Most UK Universities accept American students or students from an American system based on:


  • US High School Diploma
  • AP or IB or SAT II Scores in relevant course
  • SAT or ACT scores
  • High School Grade Point Average


For study in the UK contact the International Offices at the universities you intend to apply to for exact score requirements for admission. UK Universities require examinations related to course of study chosen. AP exam scores are acceptable. For entrance to UK Universities the student must convince the admission tutor that they have the background, knowledge and passion to be successful in the course selected.


The University of Nottingham Published Entry Requirements for United Kingdom Campus Undergraduate Study


The qualifications you need depend on the course you want to study but the admission requirements resemble US Universities. Most UK Universities accept American students or students from an American system based on:


  • US High School Diploma (GPA 3.0 minimum)
  • PLUS
  • SAT (score 1700-1900) or ACT (Score 26-28) and SAT II Subject Tests (Score 600++)
  • OR
  • 3 AP exams (minimum score 4)
  • OR
  • a combination of SAT II and AP Exams to make a total of three


National University of Singapore Published International Admission Requirements


  • US High School Diploma
  • You are required to submit your high school results and an explanations of your high school grading system
  • SAT Scores
  • Critical Reading-600 Writing-600 Mathematics-650 taken in one sitting
  • SAT Subject Tests
  • 3 tests, no more than two sittings, within one year
    Mathematics Level 2, 2nd and 3rd subject based on intended course of study


Singapore Polytechnic Published International Admission Requirements


  • Other qualifications will be assessed based on its equivalence to the GCE 'O' Level Examination
  • US High School Diploma is candidate for equivalence to GCE 'O' Level without AP course work Shortlisted candidates will be required to take entrance tests in English, Mathematics and Science for consideration of entry into 3-year diploma course.


Singapore Management University Published International Admission Requirements


  • US High School Diploma
  • SAT (Score of 1900++)


Australian Universities Higher Education Undergraduate Admission Requirements


To gain entry into an Australian undergraduate course you will need to have an Australian Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (Year 12), or the overseas equivalent. Some undergraduate course may also have specific pre-requisite subjects. The Senior Secondary Certificate of Education (SSCE) is the graduation certificate awarded to most students in Australian high schools, and is equivalent to the High School Diploma of North America and the A-Levels of the United Kingdom. For more information, visit



School Day Schedule

RAS begins instruction at 8:00 am. Prekindergarten, Elementary School and Middle School dismiss at 3:30pm. High School dismisses at 3:40 pm. Elementary School and Middle School have a fifteen minute morning advisory and a ten minute, end of school day, advisory period. High School has a morning, fifteen minute advisory. During advisory students and advisor discuss schedules, organize materials, and debrief on social, emotional, and academic issues..


The Prekindergarten runs on a 5 day cycle. Language and Literacy is taught each morning and Numeracy is taught each afternoon. Students learn through various educational enters and specialist classes such as music and movement, art, music, and World Language.


The Elementary School day runs on a 5 day cycle. Language Arts is taught for 90 minutes every morning followed by the mid-morning, twenty five minute brain break. Mathematics is then taught for 75 minutes. Social Studies and Science meet for 2 hours within the 5 day cycle. World Language, Art, Physical Education, and Music compose the remainder of the school day. Lunch is 45 minutes following the third period of the day.


The Middle School day runs on a 5 day cycle. Language Arts and Mathematics are taught every day. Science and Social Studies each meet 3 periods a cycle while Art, Music, Physical Education and World Language meet twice in the cycle. There is a mid-morning, twenty minute, brain break. Lunch is 40 minutes following the third period of the day.


The High School day runs on a 5 day cycle. Students take 6 to 7 classes per year. Classes meet four times a week for a 60 minute duration. There is a mid-morning, twenty minute, brain break. Lunch is 40 minutes following the third period of the day. High School students have at least one free study period a cycle.




Co-Curricular Offerings

Language & Writing
Performing Arts
Science & Technology

For detail listing of activities please click here:



Assessment at RAS

Our educational philosophy is centered around the ongoing learning of the student. Therefore we do not use examinations as the basis for grading or assessing student progress or readiness for the next grade level. Examinations, or tests, are one component of our assessment along with projects, lab reports, posters, powerpoint presentations, and essays. Students are asked to provide evidence of their thinking and learning on a daily basis within the classroom. Blogs, journals, poems, and dramatic presentations are just a few examples of possible assessments. Creating a musical piece, choreographing a dance, illustrating a story are also examples of assessment tasks. All assessments are designed to gather data on how a student is performing in terms of content standards for the grade level as well as their progress in demonstrating our four learner outcomes of Thinking/Problem Solving, Communication, Organization /Research and Interpersonal/Character Skills.



Homework at RAS

Raffles American School has a minimal homework policy. Students are expected to be prepared each school day and perform at their top level during each class period. Therefore curricular work is not assigned for completion at home. Necessary work in skill development, finishing coloring a project or presentation, or gathering items at home needed for class the next day are examples of possible homework assignments. As students work at different paces, teachers may ask a student to complete a classroom assignment at home if more time is needed by that student. At RAS we expect our students to produce their learning throughout the school day.



Textbooks at RAS

Our curriculum is designed around attainment of the content standards and acquisition of the skills required of our four learner outcomes rather than the contents of a textbook. Our students are surrounded by relevant literature and informational books for study within each subject area. Hands on inquiry and experimentation also provide a venue for accessing information. Workbooks are used to guide learning in our math, social studies, and science programs as required for the unit.


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