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Offline Paul123

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« on: 17/04/2007 18:37:30 »
There seems to be quite a few students on here from around the world. :) I am from the UK and I'm studying A-levels but I was wondering what the schooling system was like in other countries. In the UK (to those of you who don't live in the UK) the system generally goes:

High school: Ages 11-16, study GCSE's in last two years.

Sixth Form/College: Ages 16-18, study A-levels or vocational courses.

University: 18+ Degree

I know that all countries do degrees but was wondering what students do before. Universities in the UK generally set entry requirements as A-level grades. Do universities in other countries set their entry grades with the countries equivalent to A-levels?


 

Offline eric l

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« Reply #1 on: 17/04/2007 19:31:46 »
Though my student days are long gone, I'll try to give a short explanation on the situation in Belgium.
  • age 7 - 12 :  primary school (called "lagere school" or "lower school"in Dutch
  • age 13-18 :  middle school or secondary school, with branches like "general school", "technical school" "vocational school"
  • age 18+ :  "superior" school which is either university or non-university

Now, to English language students, the odd things in it are these :
  • the term "high school" is used for non-university superior schools (e.g. some schools preparing for a bachelor degree in engineering)
  • the term "college" is used for middle schools, in particular those organised by the catholic church (which is still important, both quantitatively and qualitatively)

Further :  in Belgium we do not have the central exams at the end of middle school, known in France as "le bac" (baccalaureate) or in Germany as "Abitur".

Of course, this is only a brief sketch of the system.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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« Reply #2 on: 17/04/2007 19:54:13 »
Just in case I'm not the only old git here.
The GCSEs that Paul talks about (general certificate of secondary education I think) only came into existence fairly recently.
When I was at school people left school at 16 with no formal qualifications or; generally in less academic subjects, CSEs (Certificate of secondary education) or; for those who had more ability, "O levels" (the O stands for ordinary).
Some schools let pupils stay on, generally for another 2 years, to study "A levels" (A for Advanced). If your school didn't have these extra years (usually called 6th form) then you could go to a college to do them.

Just to confuse the issue you could also do "AO levels" (Additional ordinary) which covered the same syllabus but asked more searching questions. and, in much the same way, A level students could sit "S level" exams. (The S stood for special).
In my parents' day it was different but I don't know a lot about it.

It has become a fairly regular subject of controversy that each year for the last 15 years or so the pass rates have got higher in almost every A level subject. The Government who oversee all this system are at pains to point out that this is not because the exams are getting easier. Various experiments have, shall we say, brought this into question.
Certainly the University lecturers I know now complain that, even with Grade A A level passes, the students joining University don't know as much as students used to.
« Last Edit: 17/04/2007 19:58:23 by Bored chemist »
 

Offline Ben6789

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« Reply #3 on: 18/04/2007 16:24:26 »
English way.
Elementary-school where you go to learn the basics and play at recess.
Jr. High-Recess is cruelly ripped away from you along with your sanity and any sense of fun you once had. You take more advanced classes.
High School-Pull pranks on teachers while choosing the easiest classes so you can breeze through those last years with the least trouble possible. Recess is a memory.
 

Offline rosy

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« Reply #4 on: 18/04/2007 17:31:53 »
The GCSE/A-Level standards thing is a bit of a minefield... it does appear to be the case that people reach uni knowing less (at least in physics and maths) than our parents generation did... and yet we have to work harder for it. I went up to Cambridge having worked much, much harder in 6th form for my A-Levels than my parents ever did at school (according to them) before they went to Oxford.
This is partly because I did 4 1/2 A-Levels and they did only 3 (or in my dad's case 2, but he had to have a year off to learn some maths... he changed from medicine to physics before he started and found chemistry and physics weren't enough... this was back in the days of the 2E offer..)
I'm inclined to blame at least in part the increasing reliance on coursework and the modular exam system... at least at the top end of the class it's possible to cram for modules and then forget most of it, much more than is feasible in a linear system (I know much more chemistry and french now than I do physics and maths... guess which were modular..). Also, time spent in class doing coursework under controlled conditions or revising for imminent module exams is time not spent learning new stuff.

 
 

Offline Paul123

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« Reply #5 on: 18/04/2007 20:54:54 »
Just in case I'm not the only old git here.
The GCSEs that Paul talks about (general certificate of secondary education I think) only came into existence fairly recently.
When I was at school people left school at 16 with no formal qualifications or; generally in less academic subjects, CSEs (Certificate of secondary education) or; for those who had more ability, "O levels" (the O stands for ordinary).
Some schools let pupils stay on, generally for another 2 years, to study "A levels" (A for Advanced). If your school didn't have these extra years (usually called 6th form) then you could go to a college to do them.

Just to confuse the issue you could also do "AO levels" (Additional ordinary) which covered the same syllabus but asked more searching questions. and, in much the same way, A level students could sit "S level" exams. (The S stood for special).
In my parents' day it was different but I don't know a lot about it.

It has become a fairly regular subject of controversy that each year for the last 15 years or so the pass rates have got higher in almost every A level subject. The Government who oversee all this system are at pains to point out that this is not because the exams are getting easier. Various experiments have, shall we say, brought this into question.
Certainly the University lecturers I know now complain that, even with Grade A A level passes, the students joining University don't know as much as students used to.
The GCSE/A-Level standards thing is a bit of a minefield... it does appear to be the case that people reach uni knowing less (at least in physics and maths) than our parents generation did... and yet we have to work harder for it. I went up to Cambridge having worked much, much harder in 6th form for my A-Levels than my parents ever did at school (according to them) before they went to Oxford.
This is partly because I did 4 1/2 A-Levels and they did only 3 (or in my dad's case 2, but he had to have a year off to learn some maths... he changed from medicine to physics before he started and found chemistry and physics weren't enough... this was back in the days of the 2E offer..)
I'm inclined to blame at least in part the increasing reliance on coursework and the modular exam system... at least at the top end of the class it's possible to cram for modules and then forget most of it, much more than is feasible in a linear system (I know much more chemistry and french now than I do physics and maths... guess which were modular..). Also, time spent in class doing coursework under controlled conditions or revising for imminent module exams is time not spent learning new stuff.

Hi. I couldn't resist commenting on the easier A-levels issue :).

It annoys me when people say A-levels are getting easier. Maybe they are but students still have to work hard. With reference to rosy's point, students also generally do more A-levels now than before. I think that maths is less demanding than it used to be but there is a further maths A-level (which I do) which is more respectable. I think that the modular exams system also allows students to revise less topics per exam and hence they have more of a chance in the exams and can make up for a bad exam by doing well in the others.

Anyway back to the education systems in other countries...
 

Offline elegantlywasted

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« Reply #6 on: 19/04/2007 18:13:10 »
In Ontario, we do Kindergarten - Grade 8 which is about ages 4 or 5 to 13 or 14. Then grades 9 through 12, with most people graduating at 17. In my day we had grade 13 or OACs, but they phased that out in 2003. Then depending on what classes you take during high school, we offer botheer college level and university level courses, you can go to either college or university. I will highly debate the benefits of college over university, with the exception of a 'professional career' (lawyer,doctor etc.)

Side note, after 5 years of trying I am finally graduating highschool tomorrow!! Even though I've already done a year of college.
 

Offline Bored chemist

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« Reply #7 on: 19/04/2007 20:55:02 »

OK, back to the "easy A levels debate" so skip this if it doesn't apply or you aren't interested.

It annoys me when people say "I got 5 a levels at grade A" and I know that when I was at school very few people did 5 a levels and fewer still got all grade "A"s; those qualifications I worked for are now available for what must be less work because more people are able to do it.
This illustrates my point
"I think that maths is less demanding than it used to be but there is a further maths A-level (which I do) which is more respectable. "
A level maths, which in my day was difficult, is no longer respectable.

"It annoys me when people say A-levels are getting easier. Maybe they are..." The observable truth is that the exams have got easier; why does it annoy you when people tell the truth? I could understand if you were saying that you were annoyed because the recent "A levels" no longer distinguish between those who really work hard and those who only work a bit.

(end of rant; but don't get me started on the oportunity for cheating with continuous assesment)
 

Offline Ben6789

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« Reply #8 on: 20/04/2007 13:04:26 »
I just use school to sleep..
 

Offline tony6789

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« Reply #9 on: 20/04/2007 14:37:00 »
haha i got caught cheating in 5th grade...since then iv'e been to dcared to do anything like that again and im stil doing good...hmm how do i post my grades...i ahve them online you see
 

Offline tony6789

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« Reply #10 on: 20/04/2007 14:41:08 »
Course                       Grade As of
English 8                    90.48 B+   4/19/2007
Homeroom     
Junior High Band             100.00 A   4/17/2007
Keyboarding     
Literature 8                 94.90 A   4/19/2007
LUNCH A     
Math 8                       85.00 B-   4/12/2007
Reading Enhancement          100.00 A   4/18/2007
Science 8                    91.44 B+   4/11/2007
Social Studies 8             83.65 B-   4/12/2007
STUDYHALL     
STUDYHALL   
 

Offline tony6789

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« Reply #11 on: 20/04/2007 14:42:33 »
yea that didnt come out to well....oh well cant fingure out how to get the colors on               if any1 is ever curious how im doing go to this site copy and paste 

https://parentaccess.noacsc.org/Progress/ProgressSummary.aspx

click fort jennings: if u want my pass so u can check grades at any time PM me and il b happy to give it to u...:)
« Last Edit: 20/04/2007 16:22:19 by tony6789 »
 

Offline Carolyn

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« Reply #12 on: 20/04/2007 16:07:22 »
Wow Tony - very good grades! ;D
 

Offline tony6789

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« Reply #13 on: 20/04/2007 16:20:22 »
thx i feel smart now hehe!!
 

Offline Ben6789

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« Reply #14 on: 20/04/2007 16:23:35 »
I get c's and b's..average, not excellent. BUt I don't care.

I live in an average world.
 

Offline Paul123

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« Reply #15 on: 23/04/2007 20:04:27 »
Quote
"It annoys me when people say A-levels are getting easier. Maybe they are..." The observable truth is that the exams have got easier; why does it annoy you when people tell the truth? I could understand if you were saying that you were annoyed because the recent "A levels" no longer distinguish between those who really work hard and those who only work a bit.

It is probably a personal thing as I interpret it in a way the makes me feel as though it is derogatory in the same way you may(?) feel when people say "I got 5 a levels at grade A". I appreciate your point though about A-levels no longer distinguish between those who really work hard and those who only work a bit. Last year for a physics project I did a lot of detailed research and calculations. Someone else’s project was a lot less detailed than mine and it was clear that they had done less research but I got only a few more marks.

Anyway the main point of A-levels, not vocational courses, in my opinion is to prepare you for university or equivalent level education. People still seem to be able to cope with the work at university so current A-levels aren't that bad (in my opinion).
 

Offline Bored chemist

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« Reply #16 on: 23/04/2007 21:10:55 »
The university lecturers I know don't agree with that.
 

Offline rosy

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« Reply #17 on: 24/04/2007 10:34:29 »
Quote
Anyway the main point of A-levels, not vocational courses, in my opinion is to prepare you for university or equivalent level education. People still seem to be able to cope with the work at university so current A-levels aren't that bad (in my opinion).
Only partly true. The first year physics course at Cambridge had to have a load of content taken out of it a few years back (for the first set of students through under the AS/A2 system) because students were arriving at university without the background that would allow that much ground to be covered. I believe the courses for subsequent years had to be re-worked accordingly, but as I specialised in chemistry I never found out the details.
 

Offline Paul123

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« Reply #18 on: 24/04/2007 12:17:22 »
In Ontario, we do Kindergarten - Grade 8 which is about ages 4 or 5 to 13 or 14. Then grades 9 through 12, with most people graduating at 17. In my day we had grade 13 or OACs, but they phased that out in 2003. Then depending on what classes you take during high school, we offer botheer college level and university level courses, you can go to either college or university. I will highly debate the benefits of college over university, with the exception of a 'professional career' (lawyer,doctor etc.)

Side note, after 5 years of trying I am finally graduating highschool tomorrow!! Even though I've already done a year of college.

Well done for graduating high school although not totally sure what that means :). Is it when you pass all the exams?
 

Offline Ben6789

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« Reply #19 on: 24/04/2007 13:14:28 »
that's the way it is here!
 

Offline elegantlywasted

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« Reply #20 on: 24/04/2007 14:08:20 »
In Ontario, we do Kindergarten - Grade 8 which is about ages 4 or 5 to 13 or 14. Then grades 9 through 12, with most people graduating at 17. In my day we had grade 13 or OACs, but they phased that out in 2003. Then depending on what classes you take during high school, we offer botheer college level and university level courses, you can go to either college or university. I will highly debate the benefits of college over university, with the exception of a 'professional career' (lawyer,doctor etc.)

Side note, after 5 years of trying I am finally graduating highschool tomorrow!! Even though I've already done a year of college.

Well done for graduating high school although not totally sure what that means :). Is it when you pass all the exams?

Graduating is the American way of doing things. The Canadian school system is stuck in the middle of the American and British ways of doing things.

Anyways, I finished all of my exams years ago but did not have 1 compusary credit to finish up. I went on for a while not really caring, taking the course and then dropping it for silly reasons. And finally 8 weeks ago I started with a great teacher and finsihed with a top mark. Granted it was english and I was one of 8 students in the class that was completley fluent in the language. Since I recived that credit I am now a high school graduate. Most low-level or municipal jobs require a high school diploma to be hired. Irrelevant for me because I'll be heading to college, but its one of those things that are good to have.
 

Offline Ben6789

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« Reply #21 on: 24/04/2007 16:09:15 »
nailed it!
 

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