The German School System Michele Smith And Dave Woodsome German Kindergarten • Its very hard to find a place at a kindergarten. • Parents usually ask about kindergartens as soon as their children are born. • You can attend kindergarten at the age of 3 until 6. • Kindergartens are all day. • In 1995 there were 500,000 kindergartens and they were short 46,000 teachers. Volksschule (elementary school) • It begins at 6 years old. • Consists of 4 years. (Grades 1-4) • One main teacher who teaches many subjects and then usually 3 others(I.e. music, art, and physical education.) • • • • • • • • They learn to read and write Basic math Religion Social standards and values Music P.E. Art HSU (Heimat und Sachunterricht) which combines biology, history, and geography. Time to Choose • Age ten teachers and parents choose between 3 possibilities. • The Hauptschule • Realschule • Or the Gymnasium Hauptschule • lowest-achieving students attend the Hauptschule. • slower paced and more basic instruction in the same primary academic subjects taught at the Realschule and Gymnasium. • Additional subjects at the Hauptschule have a vocational orientation. • students enroll in the Hauptschule beginning in the fifth grade and continue their education at the Hauptschule through the ninth grade. • About 25 percent of German students attend Hauptschulen. Realschule • The Realschule provides students with an education which combines both liberal and practical education from the 5th through the 10th grade, but the emphasis is on liberal education. • About 24 percent of German students are in Realschulen, and an additional 7 percent are enrolled in combined Haupt/Realschulen called Mittelschule • The education focus of the Realschule is differentiated between the Unterstufe (lower level), which incorporates the 5th, 6th, and 7th grades, and the Oberstufe (upper level), which includes the 8th, 9th, and 10th grades. • The lower level has a strong liberal arts emphasis, while the upper level is more closely oriented to various disciplines. Gymnasium • The Gymnasium provides students with a liberal education and traditionally leads to study at the university. • About 30 percent of German students are enrolled in Gymnasien. • Students may enroll in the Gymnasium at the lower secondary level (5th grade) or may transfer to the Gymnasium after the completion of the Realschule (11th grade). • The final 3 years of Gymnasium (grades 11-13 in most states) are called the Oberstufe (upper level). • The three most common education tracks offered by standard Gymnasien are classical language, modern language, and mathematics-natural science. • Students who successfully complete study at a Gymnasium (or Berufliches gymnasium) and pass the comprehensive examinations receive the Abitur. Gesamtschule • Known as comprehensive schools • Arose out of a social movement in the 1960's that promoted the idea of equal access to education for everyone, and it is the school form most like public schools in the United States. • Most are located in states that have been governed by the Social Democratic Party. • Gesamtschulen enroll students of all ability levels in the 5th through the 10th grades. Students who satisfactorily complete the Gesamtschule through the 9th grade receive the Hauptschule certificate, while those who satisfactorily complete schooling through the 10th grade receive the Realschule certificate. Grading and Examinations The grading scale used throughout the German education system ranges from 1—6. (A "6" is the equivalent of a failing grade). Teachers are permitted to add a plus or minus in parentheses to provide further differentiation. 1 = very good 2 = good 3 = satisfactory 4 = adequate 5 = poor 6 = very poor University • Winter and Spring Semesters • 9 semesters • 4th semester you take a test and if you pass you can continue your major • You have to complete an internship in your major in order to graduate. • Each state has a university. Bibliography Gerhart Hoffmeister and Frederic C. Tubach, Germany: 2000 Year. From the Nazi Era to German Unification (New York: Ungar Publishing, 1992), 159-179. Milotich, Ute E. The Educational System in Germany: Case Study Findings. Washington, DC: US Department of Education, 1999.