Controversy over A-Level examinations in German school


Feb. 22, 2005, midnight | By Fidan Karimova | 14 years, 9 months ago

A lot of fuss about nothing


The article below is from the Carl-von-Ossietzky-Gymnasium school newspaper, located in Hamburg, Germany. The article deals with the newly implemented A-Level examination, a test that is taken by all graduating students in thirteenth grade in Hamburg schools. The A-Level exam is very similar to the standardized testing in American schools.

Translated by German foreign exchange student, junior Soeren Schroeder

Hamburg, Germany, Feb. 22 - In counties like Bavaria, Saxony, or Thuringia, the standardized A-Level has been a permanent part of high school for a long time. Recently it has been implemented into the curriculum at Hamburg's schools.

Through importing the A-Level testing, the government of Hamburg hopes to accomplish the addition of standardized exams for classes and diplomas into the curriculum at Hamburg's schools and increase the quality of the classes.

There are many more people who criticize the test and are not convinced that the idea will work, although many leading members of the government declare that the educational system in Hamburg is in good shape.

The increasing opposition to the standardized A-Level is also very close connected to the steadily decreasing budget for education, and the resulting problems, such as a lack of teachers and class overcrowding.

First introduced in 2003, by former senator Lange, the A-Level examination direct to a serious dissatisfaction at almost every high school in Hamburg. For instance, what happens to a student who has problems with a subject matter and requires help? The student, in most cases, will have to get outside help, because the teacher will be busy trying to cram all the information that is necessary for the A-Level examining.

Until now, teachers could organize classes according to their own schedules, and therefore used various methods of learning in class, which worked best.

At Carl-von-Ossietzky, the A-Level testing is an ongoing topic for discussion. There is almost no teacher for the eleventh and 12th grades that has not spoken scornfully and disparagingly about the new A-Level. The most important question that both teachers and students ask themselves is, whether the new A-Level will be useful. The politics teachers said it short and clear, "A lot of work - little quality.”

To illustrate the problems that occurred due to the new A-Level and the high budget cuts, there is a good opportunity to compare the current situation to the situation two years ago. The most important classes, like Math, English and German, used to have about 15 students in them, they now have around 25 students. Standardized A-Level and budget cuts together create a dangerous mixture. If the government in Hamburg doesn't change its politics in education in the close future, they will indeed have a standardized education - a standardized low one.



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