Is There A 13th Grade?

Is There A 13th Grade

No. Pre-tertiary level education in the US only ends at the 12th grade, although it’s the equivalent of Year 13 in the UK. This is because the US doesn’t count kindergarten as 1st grade while the UK does (Year 1).

Any confusion around this can be attributed to the naming conventions in both places. Starting from the elementary level, both the UK and the US have 13 grade levels in total.

However, the US calls their first level kindergarten while the UK refers to theirs as Year 1. The result is the US calling the second elementary grade level 1st grade while the UK calls theirs Year 2.

So, it’s possible for someone unfamiliar with either system to refer to them differently. For instance, someone from the UK may refer to the 12th grade level in the US as the 13th.

Is There A 13th Grade In America

Pre-tertiary education level in the US starts from kindergarten to the 12th grade. This means there’re 13 grade levels starting from kindergarten except for the naming convention.

In places like the UK where their kindergarten equivalent is referred to as Year 1, their 13th grade level is appropriately named Year 13, the equivalent of 12th grade in the US.

The grade levels only apply to the mandatory pre-tertiary education levels starting from kindergarten. That said, it’s worth noting that kindergarten is not mandatory in many states across the US.

Students who complete high school (grades 9 to 12) have various paths ahead of them. They may choose to go to college, pick up a job or go to trade school.

The US Education Levels And Ages

Let’s take a look at the various grade levels at the pre-tertiary level in the US and the corresponding ages of students at those levels. Keep in mind that this only applies to students who started kindergarten at the typical age of 5 years.

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This is also referred to as early childhood education. It’s pre-kindergarten and students are typically between the ages of 3 to 5 years old. That said, it’s not uncommon for a busy parent to send their kid to preschool at the age of 2 years old. Preschool-level education isn’t mandatory.

Education LevelAge Range
Preschool3 to 5 years old

Elementary School

This level of education starts from kindergarten to 5th grade. Students typically start this grade at the age of 5 years old. Keep in mind that this level of education is also referred to as primary education.

Assuming they proceed through the grades one by one, they should be 10 years old by the time they enter elementary school and 11 years old by the time they finish their primary education.

Grade LevelAge Range
Kindergarten (K)5 to 6 years old
1st grade6 to 7 years old
2nd grade7 to 8 years old
3rd grade8 to 9 years old
4th grade9 to 10 years old
5th grade10 to 11 years old

Middle School

Middle school is also referred to as junior high school. It starts from grades 6 to 8 and students typically range from 11 years to 14.

They typically start the 6th grade at 11 and complete by 14. Keep in mind that the age range of students at this level of education may vary as it’s not rare to find students who are either younger or older than the typical age range of most students at the middle school level.

GradeAge RangeStudents Called
6th grade11-126th graders
7th grade12-137th graders
8th grade13-148th graders

High School

High school starts from grades 9 to 12 and the ages of students at this level range from 14 to 18 years. Students typically enter high school at the age of 14 and complete by the time they are 18.

It’s also not rare to find students who may be younger or older than the typical ages of their peers at the same level.

High school levels also have unique names and students at these levels are referred to by these names.

GradeAge RangeStudents Called
9th grade14-159th graders/Freshmen
10th grade15-1610th graders/Sophomores
11th grade16-1711th graders/Juniors
12th grade17-1812th graders/Seniors

How Long Is High School

High school in the United States is 4 years of study starting from the 9th grade (Year 10 in UK) to the 12th grade (Year 13 in UK). Students typically start at the age of 14 and complete by the time they’re 18.

Unlike the elementary and middle school levels, high school grade levels have other names.

  • 9th grade is called freshman year
  • 10th grade is called sophomore year
  • 11th grade is called junior year
  • 12th grade is called senior year

It also marks the end of compulsory secondary education in the US and students are considered legal adults after high school except in cases where students are younger.

Skills High

Is College 13th Or 14th Grade

While the naming conventions may be similar, freshman and sophomore years in college should not be considered the 13th and 14th grade levels. Freshman year is most definitely not the 13th grade.

Why College Shouldn’t Be Considered 13th Grade

High school graduates are not mandated to continue their education. They have multiple paths to follow once they leave high school.

Depending on their preferences, grades, and various factors, students may either go directly to college, enter the workforce or go to a trade school and learn a skill.

Some may even end up doing all of these things. So, calling the first year of college 13th grade doesn’t make sense especially since other options exist outside college.

Students who go to trade schools would also end up calling their first year the 13th grade which would lead to confusion. To avoid any forms of confusion, college is simply a higher level of learning that offers specialized fields of study.

The same can also be said about other education paths outside college though, as they also provide specialized training.

Imagine the confusion if someone refers to college as 13th grade while someone else also refers to their first year of trade school as 13th grade.

To simplify things the grade levels only apply to the mandatory pre-tertiary level education while college and other academic options are exactly what they are.

After high school, students are considered adults especially since the typical age of completion is 18 years.

Those who choose to go to college should know that college is completely different from high school and shouldn’t be treated as such.

Professors at the college level consider students at that level of education to be adults and instruction is different from high school.

Depending on the professor and their policies, students can usually choose to miss class so long as they keep up with any academic work.

Is There A 14th Grade

There’s no 14th grade level in the United States. Pre-tertiary education levels start from kindergarten and end at the 12th grade. Sophomore year in college is not the 14th grade level in the US.


Counting from kindergarten to high school, the US grade system has 13 levels, the same as in the UK. The naming conventions on the other hand are different as the UK system calls their kindergarten equivalent Year 1.

This means that the 12th grade in the US becomes the equivalent of Year 13 in the UK. The bottom line is that the US has no 13th grade naming convention.

Akshay Vikhe

I am an aspiring Data Scientist with a huge interest in technology. I like to review courses that are genuine and add real value to student’s careers. Read my story

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