As it was pointed out e.g. in the answer of @quid in What are standard assumptions for courses?, the term K-12 is relativly unknown to a large audicene of this site.

What is the most standard and understood term when I want to talk about math educators working in school?

Since ME should not only be about higher education and for professors or university employees, it would be nice to have specific (or at least common) tags for such questions (It seems like the tag college is the most used to questions not related to school) and maybe also some common ground of the used language (I have no idea if the latter one should be done, and if yes, how this can be done??).


1 Answer 1


I think if you want to talk about schools and want to convey roughly the type, the simplest thing is to mention the age of the students taught there. This should give a pretty universally understandable sense of what you are talking about.

By contarst what one should avoid in my opinion is to mention thinks like "[some number] grade" as someplaces they count up and other places they count down, and still somewhere else they reset in the middle and specifiy this somehow and so on. So, it is pretty meaningless.

For the tag : I think it is not chosen too well. According to Wikipedia "college" is not really a good word to use even only considering English http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/College Regarding other languages it is not at all intuitive in some. For example, in France "collège" would be something like a middle school, the students there are aged 11-15.

I think university might be a natural alternative in the same spirit, or tertiary-education for something more formal/technical. We can also set-up tag synonyms from more colloquial to more formal/technical.

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    $\begingroup$ Perhaps the most appropriate way is to use the tags like primary-education , secondary-education , undergraduate-education and postgraduate-education . Please make the site internationally compatible. $\endgroup$ Mar 16, 2014 at 1:07
  • $\begingroup$ Age is usually a good guide, but it is worth mentioning that in the UK 16-18 year olds will typically study only 3 or 4 subjects, and in some cases one will be Maths and another will be Further Maths, so they will be spending half their school time on mathematics. This changes the picture a bit, although the gain in understanding is not always as much as you might hope it would be. I do not know how many other countries have a similar system. $\endgroup$ Mar 16, 2014 at 18:22
  • $\begingroup$ @NeilStrickland I agree that in particular at the upper end the types of schools can be quite different and the age does not convey everything (even in one given system there can be so varied schools that even age plus country does not tell that much). I think over time as questions become more specialized such finer distinctions will become more relevant. Actually comparisons/descriptions of different eductational systems is something I could see as questions; the outcome of which might eventually make it into tag-wikis. $\endgroup$
    – quid
    Mar 16, 2014 at 18:33
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    $\begingroup$ To underline the point about "nth grade", the Norwegian and British systems differ by 1, but also they put the dividing line in different places (Britain places it at 1st September, Norway at 1st January) so figuring out where your child would be in the other system is not a simple calculation. Far more important is that different systems go through material at different paces. $\endgroup$ Mar 17, 2014 at 9:55

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