What Grade Do You Study American History?

Have you ever wondered at what grade level American History is taught in schools? Well, the answer isn’t straightforward as it varies from state to state and even district to district. However, there is a general curriculum that most schools follow.

Elementary School

American History is usually introduced in elementary school but not in great depth. Students learn about the basics of American history, including important figures like George Washington and Abraham Lincoln. They may learn about the founding of America, the Declaration of Independence, and the Revolutionary War.

Middle School

In middle school, students begin to delve deeper into American History. They may focus on specific time periods such as Colonial America or the Civil War.

Students may also learn about important social movements like Women’s Suffrage and the Civil Rights Movement. In addition to learning about historical events, students are also taught how to analyze sources and conduct research.

High School

High schoolers study American History in greater depth than middle schoolers. They may take courses that cover everything from pre-Columbian America to modern-day politics.

Students study significant events such as World War I and II, the Cold War, and 9/11. High school students are also taught how to write research papers and analyze primary sources.


For those who want to go above and beyond in their American History studies, many high schools offer Advanced Placement (AP) US History courses. These courses are college-level classes that allow students to earn college credit while still in high school if they pass an end-of-year exam with a score of 3 or higher out of 5.

  • The AP US History Exam: The exam covers everything from pre-Columbian America through modern times.
  • The DBQ: The Document-Based Question (DBQ) is a significant part of the AP US History exam. Students are given primary source documents and must analyze them and write an essay based on the information provided.
  • The LEQ: The Long Essay Question (LEQ) requires students to write an essay that explores a topic in-depth. Students have a choice of prompts, and they must use evidence to support their arguments.

In Conclusion

In summary, American History is taught at different grade levels depending on the school and district. Typically, it is introduced in elementary school with a focus on the basics of American history.

Middle schoolers delve deeper into specific time periods and social movements, while high schoolers study American history in greater depth and may even take AP US History courses for college credit. Regardless of when it’s taught, American History is an essential subject that teaches us about where we come from and how we got to where we are today.