In these months, students worldwide face secondary education degree exams. In Germany, too.
Intro. Secondary Education in Germany at a Glance
This information is aimed at parents from oversees who’d like to get an idea of secondary education degrees in Germany and the options that follow. Maybe, you’re facing an international move with kids at advanced school age? Your employer sends you over to Germany? Now, what? This post shall clarify how school degrees in Germany lead to a professional career, in theory. Learn more in this related post if you need background information on degrees. Simplified, it’s like this:
- CSE usually leads to a dual formation
- GCSE may either leads to dual formation with the majority of alumni, or
- GCSE may lead to high school in less than 50% of cases
- A-Levels (high school graduate degree) lead to a gap year quite frequently, or
- A-Levels may also lead to a dual formation, only that students are higher qualified;
- A-Levels may lead to a dual studies program, which is a pretty new option in Germany, where companies cooperate with universities;
- A-Levels lead to higher education studies starting with a Bachelor’s and sometimes, a Master’s
World Education News lets you know details about current trends in Germany’s education sector. This article is a coherent journey backwards from the pandemic-induced changes in education towards digitalization. However, the money mentioned as provided by Germany’s government for digitalization purposes remains untouched in great percentage to the day, interestingly enough.
World Education News also addresses the difficulty and possibly, immobility in Germany’s education towards higher achieving migrant learners in the past, as the PISA findings proof over various testing periods. If you want to learn more about it, check this section in a related article on Germany’s education system as different from the American one. The link below Coleman’s quote leads you to a Harvard course. It includes the issue of how difficult it seems for Germany’s education system to prepare migrants for better achievements in formal education. See more on PISA findings and challenges for Germany here, and in the following link a comment by a Stanford scholar on achievement gaps in the U.S.
So, if you enter the country as migrant or worker you might like to check the efforts of private schools and how those in your place have ranked within PISA. More on intepreting PISA results in successful education to boosting economic strength. Sometimes, a family doesn’t have school choice. They might not have the means, the time, or live in the location to choose a school by preference. In this case, I’d say by experience that high performing students are able to perform greatly even if they needed to study in a low(er) performing school setting.
Final introductory notes. Homeschooling is illegal in Germany. However, in times of school lockdowns and hybrid classrooms it’s permitted as alternative, as long as compulsory general education (‘Präsenzpflicht’) is paused to being obligatory. Currently, there is no such thing as an online secondary education degree in Germany. That has to do with that there’s no accredited online school in compulsory education up to that level. Yes, there are certain accredited distance learning institutions, some of which I’ve named in a related post in German.
Meassurability of Secondary Education Degrees
The context of Germany’s educational system is to ensure comparability or meassurability through partly standardized certifications and gradings, which is the prior topic of interest in this post. Especially the final degrees in secondary school are relevant for future careers and reflect a student’s readiness for college since there’s no such thing like SAT- and ACT scores, which you need to prepare for when you want to enter college in the US.
In Germany, it’s also not so much about ‘showing what you know’ but on ‘showing your certificate’ to give proof of a student’s capabilities.
If you want to learn more about Germany’s educational outcomes it’s recommendable you’d have a look into the statistics from October 2019, which is currently the latest available. This summary on what middle & high school graduates did with their degrees is based on findings from 2017. Therefore, the numbers are not current anymore due to diverse shifts both – in the population itself, and the German society in the last few years and foremost, in 2020.
Life after GCSE Results – High School as one Option
Most of the students that entered middle school with high school branch called ‘Stadtteilschule’ or without such, calle ‘Mittelschule’ or ‘Realschule’, proceed by taking on a dual formation. Since military service has stopped being obligatory, the usual practise is a dual formation. A gap year, instead is rather common with high school alumni. That’s the second option to choose after middle school, if the student’s career hasn’t already been set up for higher secondary education in a ‘Gymnasium’. Some are able to earn a scholarship ‘PPP’ by ‘Deutscher Bundestag’ for one year in the U.S. after grade 10.
If graduates from middle school with a GCSE result of a 2,8 overall passing grade (pretty much comparable to an average GPA of 2,7) makes about 40% of a total enters high school. They finish it either with a lower general degree (“Fachhochschulreife”), or more likely, the full degree, which are the A-Levels (‘Abitur’). In both cases, those graduates may enter an academic career, but only for those with full academic permission degree – ‘Abitur’ – the public universities nationwide are open to the student.
Let’s now dig deeper into higher secondary education – highschool. It’s in those final two years of secondary education where students get ready for higher education studies. What is ‘high school’ in America, is called ‘Studienstufe‘ here. The student chooses a profile to hone into strengths he or she’s got.
The majority of high school graduates in Germany enter higher education. For example in 2017, these were 57% of all absolvents, see quoted referenz as of 2019 on stats on Germany’s education, page 101. Most of them, 51%, are graduates from Germany’s secondary schools. Only a minority of 6% entering Germany’s higher education system with secondary degrees from outside Germany’s compulsory education. I assume, from outside the German schools abroad, see part 1 of this series, or second-chance education, ‘Zweiter Bildungsweg‘ – see link to ILS in this related section.
The academic public formation is of very good reputation and free of charge, except for a half-annual administration fee, see related post Masters in Germany. It makes about 90% of all colleges/ universities throughout the nation. And you find more references on such numbers in the just-mentioned post. The only pre-requisite a future graduate student needs in most cases, is a grade within the required ‘Numerus Clausus’ (NC) for a certain specialty at any university/ college in various regions.
Therefore, it is the average quality of all grades subjects in your final degree (NC) that allows you, or not to enter the professional career of your choice in the place of your choice. It’s not so much if not, at all the reputation of the releasing high school but just the plain numbers on the student’s certificate. Thus, high school students often have a strong external incentive for intrinsic motivation.
Some background for you. All throughout Germany, the school degrees of every region of the federation, the ‘Bundesländer’ are regarded and treated equally within the nation’s system, due to their centralized teaching and assessing any content, and with it come centralized expectations for passing grades and degrees. Such a centrally meassured by and large quality is quite reliable for each university throughout the nation, though difficult to imagine if you’re familiar with a much more independ (splitted) education system like that of the U.S.
Tipp. Preparing for college in Germany by entering high school or taking on a dual formation with your CSE results or GCSE graduation in hands? Go to part 4 of a series on comparing the American and the German education systems for opportunities with the secondary degrees you’ve got when graduating from an external education source, or even if you’ve accomplished a qualifying degree as homeschooler.
Career after GCSE Results – Dual Formation as the Other Option
Dual Formation – ‘Ausbildung’. Instead of preparing for ‘college’ or higher education, which in Germany is usually only through the ‘NC’, or by entering a waiting list, more than half of the basic & middle school graduates enter a professional formation of the duration of 3 or 3 ½ years after grade 9, or 10. You can find a link on sample exams in this post on Math for the levels of CSE (‘ESA’ / 7.paragraph) and GCSE (‘MSA’ /8.) and final highschool exams (‘Abitur’ / 9.). With the help of links therein, you may easily find other main subjects’ assessments, too, like samples for Language Arts (German), or Second Language (English/ ESL).
Back to the dual formation. It is singular world-wide, a mixture of professionals school attendance and 9/5 -work in different departments of the company the student was hired by, with turns of every two months approximately. Germany runs an initiative to attract international graduates into its dual education system to get a formation. In the right top menue bar you can even browse that site in various languages. Here you find a more in-depth view
Those formating schools, again are part of Germany’s enlarged education system and thus, its teaching professionals, who have all gone through the “Referendariat” teacher training procedure prescribed in part 2.
Quick example of how that idea is exported into the EU to some degree. I know of a young Spanish adult who was not able to overcome unemployment in Spain who entered a dual formation in Germany. Since Spain is in the European Union, he was being paid a Germany course for 1-2 years, and the whole formation as it is with German alumni, as well. How did he hear of such an opportunity? Well, via the employment office in his country.
Career after High School – Brief Note on Dual Studies
Dual Higher Education Studies -‘Duales Studium’. In short, it’s the same idea as a dual formation with the idea that a company sponsors the student, offers networking, hands-on formation and practise insights that are hardly possible with pure academic studies. The other side of the coin is that a company hopes to bind young talents and prepare them to climbing the internal ladder. These hopes are nurtured on the basis of relationships built, and an insider’s knowledge of the company gained. See more on those dual studies.