Germany secondary school final exam (math)

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There are some threads on here comparing A Levels, Abitur and US exams.  I found the BW Abitur to be a bit narrower compared to UK Pure and Applied A Level but some horrible tricky questions and long exam.  But of course as everyone has to take Maths, there will be questions only the brightest can answer.  You can of course flunk maths completely and still go to Uni if you excel in your other main subjects.

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4 minutes ago, snowingagain said:

But of course as everyone has to take Maths, there will be questions only the brightest can answer. 

 

Very relevant point.  I have colleagues with Abitur age children and some are really struggling despite trying their best. 

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On 5/6/2019, 4:13:35, snowingagain said:

But of course as everyone has to take Maths, there will be questions only the brightest can answer.  You can of course flunk maths completely and still go to Uni if you excel in your other main subjects.

 

I´m not sure this is true for Bavaria. IIRC my kids had no choice but to write Abitur in maths and if they had failed (i. e. scored zero) they wouldn´t have passed Abitur.

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I know someone from Bavaria who did  not even bother writing anything in the Mathe Abi a few years ago.  

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1 hour ago, jeba said:

 

I´m not sure this is true for Bavaria. IIRC my kids had no choice but to write Abitur in maths and if they had failed (i. e. scored zero) they wouldn´t have passed Abitur.

 

In China, students can choose natural science or human/social science. Math levels for 2 classes are different. One who is not good in math usually not good in physics and chemistry. So if the one chooses human/social science, the one does not need to take physics and chemistry, and math level is easier kind.

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Are you suggesting that average math performance of the entire population (or the college bound population) is a predictor for anything?   

 

My experience in Germany when PISA scores come up has been to ask people whether the average score is as important as the distribution and in particular the size of the tail on the high performance side of the distribution. 

 

If you were starting a company to do high-caliber, whiz-bang, biotelecosmic-epigenetic-applied-problem-solving, would you prefer a workforce with a few really smart (4 standard deviations from the mean) and below average for the rest of the company to compensate, or a workforce in which everyone is precisely average?

 

In my opinion, the people in the extreme parts of the tail tend to drive society (for good or bad).  

 

What is your opinion?

 

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1 hour ago, balticus said:

Are you suggesting that average math performance of the entire population (or the college bound population) is a predictor for anything?   

 

It is a force to drive people in the country in certain direction.

If the math exam topic is very hard in a country and it is demanded to go to college, the overall effect would be students are forced to spend more time on math.

Yes, this ends up as the country has higher level in math overall.

 

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In this link you can find the Math test for this year Bayern:

 

https://www.spiegel.de/lebenundlernen/schule/mathematik-abitur-2019-diese-aufgaben-waren-angeblich-zu-schwer-a-1266022.html

 

This year again there were 10K+ complaints that the test was again too difficult in the whole country.  Several states have made petitions to reconsider the situation, the Bayern petition has been signed by 50K people already.  Here more info about it:

 

https://www.tagesschau.de/inland/mathe-abi-101.html

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I still think the students should be divided to at least 2 groups for different levels of math test.

 

People just have talents in different things.

My sister is much better than me in language, and she learned literature in college. She took math test which is easier than what I took for final exam at high school.

I took harder math test, and learned much much more math in college, and it is one of my favorite subject. Almost all natural science demand good math knowledge, and I just enjoy it so much.

 

I think my sister never needed to use much math other than some arithmetic calculation, and it would have been too painful and waste of her time if she had to take hard math test. 

 

 

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This wouldn't make any sense.   The students were already streamed, the ones who were not good at math went to other types of schools, and here we have the Gymnasium.   Streaming again would make things really too complicated. 

 

In your example, you would go go Gymnasium and your sister would go to a Realschule or something else.

 

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Streaming at this point is just overall good students or relatively poor students.

For instance students who can go to college would be in Gymnasium.

But in Gymnasium, students are having talents in different subjects. Some can major natural science in Ivy, some can major literature, philosophy in Ivy. And these two groups of students definitely would show different talents in math.

 

I do not know current German system. But if all students in Gymnasium are taking so hard math that can be sensible only for people who pursue further study in natural science in college, it does not make sense to me.

 

If a student wants to go to Harvard to learn literature, what is the point of learning Calculus in high school. I see quite a bit of Calculus in the high school final math exams in BW. I think it can be just painful and time consuming. I remember how much my sister suffered to prepare for even her math exam.

 

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17 minutes ago, SmurfLee said:

 

Streaming at this point is just overall good students or relatively poor students.

For instance students who can go to college would be in Gymnasium.

 

Students in other types of schools can go to college as well, not only Gymnasium students.

 

17 minutes ago, SmurfLee said:

But in Gymnasium, students are having talents in different subjects. Some can major natural science in Ivy, some can major literature, philosophy in Ivy. And these two groups of students definitely would show different talents in math.

 

Depending on your talents you should go to the "correct" type of school.   No point in sending a kid who struggles in Math to the Gymnasium.

 

17 minutes ago, SmurfLee said:

 

I do not know current German system.

 

I can see that.

 

17 minutes ago, SmurfLee said:

But if all students in Gymnasium are taking so hard math that can be sensible only for people who pursue further study in natural science in college, it does not make sense to me.

 

If the math tests are really too hard then the solution is to making the not excessively hard.   Having streams in the Gymnasium would make it too complicated.   Then how do you measure one Abitur score with another one?   It is already too difficult as it is because an Abitur from Bayern is much harder than one from Bremen.   Now you want to introduce streams.  And why stop there, then introduce streams in other subjects and other types of schools and make individualized Abis for every one.

 

17 minutes ago, SmurfLee said:

 

If a student wants to go to Harvard to learn literature, what is the point of learning Calculus in high school.

 

Correct.  And that''s exactly how the German system is implemented right now.

 

17 minutes ago, SmurfLee said:

 

I see quite a bit of Calculus in the high school final math exams in BW. I think it can be just painful and time consuming. I remember how much my sister suffered to prepare for even her math exam.

 

 

Well, if you grew up in Germany instead your sister could have go to a more appropriate type of school for her.

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10 minutes ago, Krieg said:

Correct.  And that''s exactly how the German system is implemented right now.

 

 

I do not have children in high school, so I never paid much attention.

I only heard that if you want to go to best universities, like university of Heidelberg, you can do that only if you graduate from Gymnasium, regardless which major you would choose in college. And I assume that to graduate from Gymnasium, you must take the much hard math final exam which include calculus in BW.

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In order to go to University of Heidelberg to major in literature, must I graduate from Gymnasium?

 

 

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I have no idea and I am not willing to invest the time to research it because I have no interest in knowing that, I don't have a kid interested in going to study literature in the University of Heidelberg.   Probably there is no "Literature" studies in that university, but there might me something called Germanistik.

 

But I can tell you that for some studies you need to have an Abitur.  For some not.  And there are multiple ways to make an Abitur.  And not all Abitur are the same.

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Maybe to clarify as there is a bunch of information here that is not quite correct. My info is from Rheinland-Pfalz, but most of those conditions should be similar in other Länder.


For the Abitur, students chose some majors (Leistungskurs). Two in some Bundesländer, three in others. In these, the students will have more lessons. Usually five a week per subject. The Abitur-Exam usually consists of three written and one oral exam. If you had three majors, one of them will be counted like a "normal" subject (Grundkurs) for the exam. This usually means that you can leave out some of the exam questions.

There are certain limitations in terms of which subjects you can/have to chose for majors and also your exams. For example: I had English, Math and Biology. My oral exam subject had to be Geography, Social Studies or History.
In addition, some of your "normal" subjects have to count towards the Abitur and for some you can chose your best ones.
Using Math as an example:
- You cannot get rid of it. It will have to be a Grundkurs as least. Same as German, at least one foreign language, one Science, PE etc.
- It will have to count for your overall Abitur grade. So you cannot have 0 points in the Grundkurs in the semesters that lead up to the Abi or you fail/will not be able to take the exam. Leistungskurs it is no less than 5 points for the semesters that are counted.

- It will only not be an exam subject if you take your exam in another Science subject.


It is quite a complicated system, for more info for Rheinland-Pfalz, see here: https://bm.rlp.de/fileadmin/bm/Bildung/Service/Publikationen/Schule/MSS_Abitur_2020.pdf

 

None of the articles say whether the exam being discussed now was a Grundkurs or Leistungskurs. Makes a bit of a difference, I think.

 

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So the question becomes:

 

  Are all students in Gymnasium having intention to go to college to learn natural science or engineering?

 

  I looked at the final exams for math and physics in BW. I really do not see any points to learn these subject at this level in high school if you are not intending to do science or engineering in the future.

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Also: There is allgemeine Hochschulreife (Abitur), Fachgebundene Hochschulreife and Fachhochschulreife (Fachabitur). Only the first one lets you study any subject you want at any university or college in Germany. With the others, certain limitations apply.

http://www.fachhochschulreife.org/formen-der-deutschen-hochschulreife/

However, there are other ways to get your Abitur than go to Gymnasium when you are 11 and finish after grade 12 or 13.

 

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1 hour ago, SmurfLee said:

  Are all students in Gymnasium having intention to go to college to learn natural science or engineering?

 

Most of them have no idea what they will do with their lives when the decision to go to Gymnasium is taken.   A big part of them still do not know when they get their Abi.

 

Plenty of students in Gymnasiums shouldn't be there, in many cases is the parents pushing for whatever reason.  Some parents take the Gymnasium thing as a matter of pride.

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