View Full Version : About your education system.
This is the first year that California has required an Exit Exam for a high school diploma.
Does Europe still have entrance exams that separate students into college and vocational tracks? Do schools in your area or country require exit exams?
Every European country has a different education system. Federal countries (e.g. Belgium, Germany, and even the UK) have different education systems within their country.
In Belgium, France, Germany and many other countries, secondary schools are separated in vocational, technical and general (leading to university). Anybody can enter college or university if they take the exam equivalent to the last year of general education, even if they didn't finish highschool or went to vocational.
We still have a GED (Graduate Equivalent Degree) that you can still take to get a diploma.
In the US, every state has a different education system and every local school board runs the local school system. Almost all high schools are "comprehensive" meaning they offer a broad liberal art/college prep education to every single student. Vocational and technical programs are kind of added on with a few electives and few true technical high schools or vocational programs remain.
Same here. It might be more interesting to compare compulsory subjects and number of hours a week. But even for that it varies greatly from one school to another in Belgium, as 90% of the schools are private (yet state-funded).
In my school, it was always 32 classes (of 50min) per week, with a compulsory minimum of 4h of maths, 4h of mother-tongue, 2h of history, 2h of geography, 2h of Catholic propaganda (most schools in Belgium are Catholic-owned), 2h of sports, 4 to 8h of foreign languages and 2 to 4h of sciences (depending on the year) per week.
To that were added options, which could be more maths, sciences or languages, or in some years (mostly in junior highschool) artistic, technical or other subjects (psychology, economics...), but always max. 2h per week for these smaller subjects.
In California- You need 230 credits to graduate. You get five credits per class and take six classes per semester. There are two semesters per year. You would need eight semesters of language arts (four years), six of history (world, US, government and economics), six math, four physical education, four science, four foreign language, health and safety, fine arts and performing arts electives, vocational electives... I don't think I have forgotten anything...
A freshman would typically take Physical Education, Algebra, Biology, English 9 and two electives. The electives may include a remedial or intervention classes. Most take health and safety or drivers training.
What is language arts ? Something like music ?
What is vocational elective ?
Physical education is as important as sciences and foreign languages in California ? :eek: Were I a politician in charge of education, I would supress physical education and religion classes in schools altogether.
Are fine arts and performing arts compulsory subjects for everybody ?
Why is algebra separated from mathematics ? How many other branches of mathematics are available ? (e.g. arithmetic, geometry, differential equation, trigonometry, probability, theorems...)
Language arts is English literature and composition.
Vocational classes are shop classes and other job skills related classes like office applications and careers with children.
Physical Education- PE... is very important in a country with the health/obesity problems that the US has.
The only religion classes we could offer if enough students wanted them would be comparative religion or religious literature classes.
I believe you need at least ten units of a fine art or a performing art class.
Our high school math sequence is as follows: Algebra, Geometry, Algebra II, Trigonometry, Pre Calculas, Calculas.
We also have a variety of rigorous classes called AP or advance placement classes which have an exam at the end that could give you concurrent college credit if you score high enough.
So are vocational classes compulsory ?
So language arts is just "English" then ? Or do you have a separate English class ? (e.g. for spelling, grammar, punctuation, etc.) Do you have philosphy classes ? In Belgium they are included in the mother-tongue classes (along with literature, composition, etc.)
You have to take a vocational elective. English includes grammar, punctuation, reading comprehension along with literature and composition. You take four years of this. (Which explains why we can't spell or write clearly.)
Philosophy is an elective, as is psychology... the kids have to take a lot of electives to get to 230 units.
Hmmm, it's so long since I've been to school, I can't remember how many hours of which classes we had! :blush:
In the UK, it varies quite a lot from school to school. There is a 'national curriculum', which is a guideline for schools. Individual schools can treat it in different ways as long as they cover the necessary requirements (I'm not sure what the requirements are; no doubt it's around somewhere on the net! ^^) - e.g. they could add extra classes/options.
In England, kids start secondary school at age 11 and continue it until age 16, when they take GCSEs. After that, there is the option to continue for 2 years in what we call '6th form' (or college), taking A-levels at age 18. These can be studied at the same school if it has such facility, or at a different college.
The subjects studied in secondary school have changed a lot in the 11 years since I left. :souka: When I was at school (God, I sound like an old woman! XD), we studied *thinks* English, French (or German), Math, Physical Education, Art, Creative Design (covered stuff like textiles, woodwork, pottery, etc.), History, Geography, Music, Science, Religious Education... hell, I can't remember anything else! :gomen:
We studied these 'core' subjects up until Year 9 (age 13-14), at which time we then had to choose which subjects to continue to GCSE level, to make a total of 10. Of course, some subjects were compulsory - Math, English, Science, one of the Humanities (we could choose between History, Geography and Sociology - even though we hadn't studied sociology previously! O_o), Religious Education and Creative Design. For the others, we had 2 columns and we chose one subject from each column. I was gutted because that meant I couldn't choose both Art and Music! (I chose Art and French.)
Physical Education was compulsory, but we didn't take an exam in it. I really liked PE and I think that it should be compulsory in every school. Some sports, especially team sports like hockey, or field events like javelin, you wouldn't get the chance to try out if it wasn't for school, unless you were a rich kid with the resources to join a club and get the equipment. Also, I love exercise! I realise that not everyone shares my feeling, hehe - but it is important to keep in good health particularly when you are growing. Exercise also releases chemicals in your body which make you feel good, and which are good for you. It helps your brain as well as your body, too! I can feel the difference both in my physical state and work performance when I'm taking regular exercise. [/rantette] :bluush: -- not all kids have active lifestyles outside of school.
Science was divided within itself into Physics, Chemistry and Biology, which we rotated classes for a bunch of weeks at a time, and which had different teachers. Our final exam covered the three areas, but led to only 2 GCSEs. (@_@)
Although I went to a Catholic school (these are more unusual in the UK, where, unlike much of the continent, state schools are not predominantly Catholic), I have to say that our Religious Education classes, far from being "propaganda", were in fact total crap. XD. We could choose between 2 options - 'Christianity' or 'Hinduism'. I chose Christianity, in the (forlorn, as it turned out) hope of actually learning about... well, about Christianity. But we just spent our time copying workbook pages while the teacher (who when questioned turned out not to know the simplest things about the Catholic religion she claimed to practice -_-) sat and read a book. The down side? It was a total waste of time. The up side? I had to find out stuff for myself, and at least, didn't get propaganda forced down my throat. ^^
Some schools in the UK are separate from government 'rule' - private schools (also called public schools, just to confuse you! @_@) where you pay to attend.
There is also one county - Lincolnshire - where the Grammar School System is still in operation. FYI, the grammar school system is the system we had previously (when my parents were at school). Under that system, kids took an exam (the 'eleven plus') at age 11, and if they passed it, they attended grammar school, if not, they went to a Secondary Modern school. As I said, Lincolnshire still operates this system. You see, some rules are up to local government at county level, rather than main government. (For example, schools break for summer at different times across the UK, depending on the county government.) :relief:
You have to get a certain number of GCSEs at certain grades in order to be accepted for A-level classes.
Since I was at school, now there are a lot more vocational options available to kids, to encourage them to think about a wider range of careers, rather than just the narrower option of 'A-levels and uni, or not?' When I was at school, the vocational subjects - such as textiles, Home Economics, woodwork, technology - were all crammed into Creative Design and we rotated subjects within it, spending only a few weeks on each. Now, schools tend to offer a wider range of specialised classes.
Classes that I think should have been available when I was at school include:
-- More emphasis on the modern languages.
-- Options to take other langs than French and German. Kids who were turned off by those might have perked up at the idea of being able to study Farsi or Mandarin or something.
-- More Performing Arts. Not necessarily a separate class; they could have been taught as part of English, Music or even Physical Education.
-- Both History and Geography all the way to GCSE level. I feel sadly lacking in my knowledge in these areas. ><
Don't Grammar Schools in the UK have less options (arts, modern languages, economics, sciences...) and more traditional subjects like Ancient Greek, Latin (in addition to English, P.E., Religion, and Maths). In that case it would be similar to the "Classical studies" in Belgium, which were also common when my parents were in school (until the 60's or 70's). Many Catholic schools still propose such programmes. Those who choose the "Latin-Greek" option typically end up in the legal profession or with more literary jobs, while those choosing "Latin-Maths" tend to become engineers, cadres, etc. Both of them are typically more upper-middle class or upper-class. Those who want to become doctors choose a more scientific curriculum though.
I'm not sure whether grammar schools have less options in the other subjects (although I would imagine those options are increasing, as they are in state schools, in order to keep the schools competitive), but I believe they do more commonly offer a Latin or Ancient Greek option. Although there is only a very small number of grammar schools, as they are in only one county.
I think it's quite usual that private schools offer Latin and/or Ancient Greek as options (maybe even compulsory? I don't know, since I didn't go to a private school!).
In the UK, it's not so common for Catholic schools to offer Latin, unless they are a private school as well. They usually run a very similar programme to the state schools. They are also in no way 'posher' than the state schools... XD (A lot of people in the UK seem to have this stereotype, but it's not the case - they're probably thinking of well-known Catholic private schools.) My school was frankly pretty crap as a school, and in terms of its catchment, it was decidedly 'working-class' rather than 'posh'! :blush:
I don't like our country's education stytem, it's too inflexible.
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