Unlike the British Education system, the American Education system does not prepare students for national Examinations like GCSE or A levels. Instead, students work towards the completion of a High School Diploma. Assessment is generally continuous and made up of a combination of exams, essays, in-class work, homework assignments, group work, attendance etc. There is a final grade award for each course at the end of the semester.
These grades are averaged over the student’s high school career, resulting in a Grade Point Average (GPA). The student's overall academic history is recorded in a transcript which is later requested by Universities seeking to evaluate the student.
Students who plan to go to college take college aptitude tests, generally the American College Testing (ACT) programme and the Scholastic Aptitude Test (SAT), both of which are recognised by accredited universities to evaluate potential students. Tests are of the multiple-choice type and are not based directly on school work, rather they are designed to measure aptitude and verbal and mathematical skills rather than knowledge.
For more detailed information on the American Curriculum see: sss.umn.edu