Today my tutor and I had a discussion about schools in México. Now, my school days are long gone, but I thought it would be interesting to learn a little about how things work in México.
Let's start with the types different schools there are. Their system isn't really that much different than ours:
Kindergarten - Jardin de niños (also called Kinder)
Elementary - Primaría
Middle School - Secondarìa
High School - Prepatoría (commonly refered to as Prepa), also known as Colegio and Bachillerato
Now, there are differences in the names of the various grade levels then schools here in the US.
Kinder starts at age 3.
Primaría runs from 1st to 6th.
Secundarìa starts over with 1st - 3rd
Preparatoría starts over yet again with 1st - 3rd
Speaking of grade levels (grados), here's how to talk about them in Spanish...
1st Grade - Primer grado (1ro)
2nd Grade - Segundo grado (2to)
3rd Grade - Tercer grado (3er)
4th Grade - Cuatro grado (4to)
5th Grade - Quinto grado (5t0)
6th Grade - Sexto grado (6to)
I'm sure you noticed that Primaría, Secondarìa and Prepatoría all have 1st - 3rd grades, so to distinguish them, you say:
Primer grado de Primaría [or Secondarìa, Preparatoría]u
Tercero grado de Secundarìa
Sexto grado de Primaría
I think you get the picture.
If you want to ask your friends what grade their kids are in, you can ask:
¿En que grado está tu hijo? Está en primer grado (de secundaría)
¿En que grado va tu hijo? Va en primero.
If you want to ask if they graduated to the next school year, you can ask:
¿Pasó de año? Pasó con 9.1
If you're curious about the 9.1, then let me explain.
First of all, grades are called calificaciones.
Apparently the grading scale in México goes from 1 - 10.
A 5 is an F. Nothing below a 5 is awarded. 6 is a D, and 10 is an A (100%).
To talk about what kind of grades someone is getting in school, you use the verb sacar.
¿Cuándo eras niño sacabas buenas calificaciones en la escuela?
When you were child did you get good grades in school?
No saqué buenas calificaciones hasta el segundo año de prepa.
I didn't get good grades until my second year of high school.
Mi hija saca buenas calificaciones
My daughter gets good grades
That's it, or perhaps you're thinking that's enough. Even though this post is about how schools work in México, you can use much of the same vocabulary to talk about schools and grades here in the US with your Spanish speaking friends.
¡Espero que te sirve!