Comprehensive school: What does a comprehensive school offer?

The comprehensive school is a real alternative to the three-tier school system, because it combines Hauptschule, Realschule and Gymnasium. Here you can find out more about the concept of the comprehensive school, which school-leaving qualifications are possible there and what its goals are.

The comprehensive school and its concept

The comprehensive school is a school for everyone, where children with different talents and interests learn together. The differentiation between the various types of school, Hauptschule, Realschule and Gymnasium, is shifted to the school itself. There are two different concepts for the comprehensive school:

  • integrated comprehensive school: Here the pupils learn together up to the seventh grade. Only then do differentiation courses take place, depending on the performance, desired school leaving certificate and interests of the pupils. At the beginning of the school year, students have the opportunity to switch to courses that correspond to their level of performance.
  • cooperative comprehensive school: Here the pupils are divided into classes based on their qualifications, so that there are main, real and high school classes. Here, too, it is possible to change to another class depending on the level of performance. Only individual subjects such as sports or art are taught together.

Possible degrees at the comprehensive school

  • Hauptschule certificate : After successfully completing the ninth grade, students receive the Hauptschule certificate.
  • Secondary school leaving certificate : After completing the tenth grade, the intermediate school leaving certificate can be achieved.
  • Abitur : If after the tenth grade a high school follows, the Abitur can also be done here. If the comprehensive school does not offer its own upper level, students can switch to a grammar school after they have successfully completed the tenth grade.

subjects in the comprehensive school

At the comprehensive school, all subjects are offered that are also available at grammar schools, secondary schools and junior high schools. These include natural and social science subjects, foreign languages ​​and work-related subjects such as technology, economics and home economics, which enable the students to do practical work.

As a rule, from the sixth grade onwards, the pupils also choose another compulsory elective subject and can thus set individual priorities. The compulsory elective course includes either an additional foreign language, a subject from the field of work studies or the natural sciences. From the eighth grade, another foreign language is also offered as a second or third foreign language.

teaching at the comprehensive school

In a cooperative comprehensive school, the lessons in the main, junior high and high school branches are carried out in exactly the same way as in the corresponding school types. In an integrative comprehensive school, a so-called subject performance differentiation takes place, in which the students can choose between additional and basic courses. The courses offer instruction at different levels of ability. From the seventh grade, students can take advanced or basic courses in English and math. Depending on the respective comprehensive school, further differentiation courses in German and physics or chemistry are offered in the eighth or ninth grade. This has the advantage that a child who is doing well in mathematics can attend the higher course even if he is only doing averagely in the other subjects. After all, performance can vary in different subjects. Due to the subject performance differentiation, the students can be optimally supported according to their performance level.

In addition to the extension and basic courses, so-called supplementary hours are also offered at the comprehensive school. They offer remedial teaching in German, mathematics, foreign languages, natural sciences and subjects from the compulsory elective courses. From the tenth grade, they also serve as preparation for the upper secondary school.

Goals of the comprehensive school

One goal of the comprehensive school is that students can learn together regardless of their ability level and social background. In addition, the comprehensive school should encourage the pupils individually and offer them the opportunity to develop fully and to obtain a school-leaving certificate that suits the child’s achievements. The fact that all school qualifications can be obtained at one school makes it easier to switch to a higher educational qualification.

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