Secondary education is often divided into two phases, middle or junior high school and high school. Students are usually given more independence, moving to different classrooms for different subjects, and being allowed to choose some of their class subjects (electives).
”Middle school” usually includes sixth, seventh and eighth grade (and occasionally fifth grade as well); ”Junior high” may include any range from sixth through ninth grades. The range defined by either is often based on demographic factors, such as an increase or decrease in the relative numbers of younger or older students, with the aim of maintaining stable school populations.
High school (occasionally senior high school) usually runs from 9th or 10th through 12th grades. Students in these grades are commonly referred to as freshmen (grade 9), sophomores (grade 10), juniors (grade 11) and seniors (grade 12). Generally, at the high school level, students take a broad variety of classes without special emphasis in any particular subject. Students are required to take a certain mandatory subjects, but may choose additional subjects (”electives”) to fill out their required hours of learning. High school grades normally are included in a student’s official transcript, e.g. for college admission.
In High School, students in their first year are called freshman, in their second year sophomore, in their third year junior, and in their last and fourth year senior. There is an even greater variety of subjects than before. Students generally stay in the classroom an average of 7.5 hours and must earn a certain number of credits (which they get for a successfully completed course) in order to graduate and be awarded with a High School Diploma.