The German educational system at the secondary level incorporates a leveling system that places students in tracks according to achievement and post-secondary expectations. Read about Germany’s leveling system below.
Mini Case: German Leveling System
There is a high degree of social selectivity in the German educational system. Most students at the age of 10 have to choose between 3 different tracks: lower secondary, intermediate secondary, or upper secondary school (Hillmert & Jacob, 2010). Transitioning from the elementary school into one of the arranged tracks is a significant step toward the opportunities of achieving a higher education. A secondary school track recommendation is based on previous performance and grades acquired at school (Hillmert & Jacob, 2010). The advantage of having academic training is considered the fundamental qualification for knowledge, creating values, and entering a higher-level career.
In 1983, the National Commission Report, A Nation at Risk, harshly criticized American schools and teachers, claiming that other industrialized nations such as Japan and Germany were beating the United States in the economic race (Kubow & Fossum, 2007). Teachers were classified for giving attention to self-esteem, sex education, and other “soft subjects” as opposed to concentrating on basic reading, mathematics, scientific and technological preparations. In social expectations, in Germany, schoolwork is something that naturally extends into the home (Kubow & Fossum, 2007). The home to school link provides an opportunity for quality and family time. School and home activities extend the learning beyond the classroom.
Germany has methods other than tests that serve to sort and select students. In Germany, students about 10 years of age enter into 3 separate schools based on a combination of assessment measures, such as teacher recommendation, family input, and student academic performance over their previous schooling years (Kubow & Fossum, 2007).
The German education leveling system is often considered highly effective. An appreciation of the German education leveling system begins with an understanding that not all students will attend college. The leveling education system essentially tracks students at an early age making career choices known sooner instead of later. If there is a disadvantage of the education leveling system, it would relate to the income status of the family. According to Fernandez-Kelly (2010), students who attend lower types of secondary school and leave after 9 or 10 years of schooling benefit less from the public school system with public funding than those who attend a gymnasium type of school and leave after 12 years to attend a university.
Write a 250- to 300-word response to the following:
- Discuss the advantages and disadvantages of this German leveling system and how it addresses the educational needs of all students.