10th Grade in the United States

Tenth grade is the tenth year of school post-kindergarten (or pre-school). Students are usually 15 to 16 years of age.

The tenth grade is the tenth school year after kindergarten and is called Grade 10 in some regions of the U.S., and in Canada. Grade 10 is a part of secondary school and in some parts of the USA it is the first year of high school. The English equivalent is Year 11. Usually, this is when children would leave compulsory education.

High school is often used instead of senior high school and distinguished from junior high school. Starting in ninth grade and ending in twelfth grade, grades are used in determining a student’s GPA (in the U.S.), and become part of a student’s official transcript. Therefore, students obtain much more control of their education and often may even choose their core classes.

In the U.S. curriculum for mathematics, tenth graders are usually taught algebra 1 or Geometry. Occasionally, Algebra II or higher classes are offered for students who wish to take Advanced Placement math classes in later years of high school. In the U.S. curriculum for literature, students have already began to familiarize themselves with notable authors such as Shakespeare, while some Advanced Placement programs emphasize the work of authors Jerome D. Salinger for example, and his The Catcher in The Rye, putting a major emphasis on literary terms and getting to know themes such as alienation.

In the U.S. curriculum for social studies, tenth grade students are taught recent US History from the Colonization Era and to the Early 20th Century. In some districts, Advanced Placement coursework, such as geography, European history, or World Studies is first made available to students in this grade.

This grade is normally followed by eleventh grade,although some U.S. colleges will accept excelling students out of this grade as part of an early college entrance program.


In the U.S., tenth grade is also known as sophomore year. The word sophomore is ultimately from the Greek word "sophia", meaning wisdom or knowledge. It is listed as a North American English term by the Oxford English Dictionary [1] and it means little to the majority of English speakers outside the U.S.A.