Years 5-9/10

Selecting school type | Changing school type | Foreign languages

Structure

The first five years at Secondary School at the DSL are Years 5 to 9 and 10 respectively. Year 5 is an orientation stage; at the end of which pupils are advised which school type is recommended for them. From Year 6 pupils are streamed into the appropriate school type: HauptschuleRealschule or GymnasiumHauptschule pupils finish school at the end of Year 9; Realschule pupils finish school at the end of Year 10. The DSL complies with the guidelines of the German Federal States Committee for School Education Abroad (BLASchA) and follows the educational standards of Baden-Württemberg.

 

Hauptschule and Realschule

Lessons for Realschule and Hauptschule pupils conform to the following standard models, depending on the number of pupils:

  • combined lessons with Gymnasium pupils, with differentiated teaching within the lesson and pupils graded accordingly
  • in groups with some separate lessons, especially for German, Maths and English

Realschule pupils finish school with two centralised written exams (Hauptschule pupils with one) - chosen from the subjects German, Maths or English - and one oral exam in either one of these subjects or another one (as of 2009/10). According to guidelines, 50% of the final mark is based on continuous assessment. If they are successful, pupils achieve school leaving qualifications.

If Realschule pupils have achieved particularly high grades at the end of Year 10, they may, under certain conditions, switch to the Gymnasium, but they will have to repeat Year 10 as a Gymnasium year. The details are determined by the appropriate regulations on promotion.

 

Gymnasium

Year 10 is also special for Gymnasium pupils, as it is the end of the first stage of secondary school, while at the same time containing many elements of Years 11 and 12. In the second semester there are mandatory centralised tests in German, Maths and English, which carry double weighting.

Selecting School Type ~

All pupils who join the DSL without being streamed into HauptschuleRealschule or Gymnasium are streamed by the school at the end of Year 8 at the latest. 

 

From Year 5 onwards the teachers need to be in close contact with pupils’ parents to ensure the timely exchange of information and advice on development, performance and further schooling. This contact between the school and parents is even more critical if the family is about to move to a different country, entailing the search for a school which suits the child. Twice a year (usually in November and April) the staff who teach Years 5-7 meet to discuss the pupils’ development. The results are promptly communicated to the parents of those children where there is a need for consultation.

 

At the end of each year the class conference will decide which type of schooling best suits the individual child. Decisions are based on the following criteria:

 

  • Performance and development, especially in core subjects with a higher proportion of lessons;
  • The capacity for abstract thought and reflection;
  • Linguistic expression;
  • Perserverance and effort during lessons and homework;
  • Interest and commitment shown in practical skills during lessons and possibly extra-curricular activities.

 

All parents receive a recommendation as to whether GymnasiumRealschule or Hauptschule best suits their child, following a streaming conference in the second half year for Years 5, 6 and 7.

 

Parents who do not agree with the streaming may object in writing. If there is an objection a child streamed into the Realschule will continue in the Gymnasium, and a child streamed into the Hauptschule will continue in the Realschule, for the following academic year.

 

The class conference makes a definitive binding decision at the end of Year 8.

 

In accordance with the principle of being as versatile as possible following the orientation stage in Year 5, transitions may be proposed by the school until the end of Year 8, generally at the end of the academic year.

 

Changing school type ~

Transitions

Extract from the DSL’s policy about pupils moving up to the next year, or being held back at the end of the academic year:

In order to be as flexible as possible after the orientation stage, the school may propose that pupils change school type until the end of Year 8, generally at the end of each academic year.

 

Transition from Realschule to Gymnasium

Realschule pupil can change to Gymnasium until the end of Year 8, if the class teachers’ meeting comes to the conclusion that the pupil can do so successfully.

This may be taken as a given when:

  • the pupil has obtained an average mark of at least 3.0 in all the relevant subjects at Realschule
  • and the pupil has obtained a mark higher than 3.0 in German, Maths and English, with no unsatisfactory or fail marks in these subjects.

The decision is based primarily on the individual and their general academic development. Furthermore it is not calculated schematically, but is made on the basis of a collective academic pedagogical assessment (cf. 5.3 and 6.6).

 

Transition from Hauptschule to Realschule:

A pupil may change from Hauptschule to Realschule until the end of Year 8, if the class teachers’ meeting comes to the conclusion that the pupil can do so successfully.

 

This may be taken as a given when:

  • the pupil has obtained an average mark of at least 3.0 in all the relevant subjects at Hauptschule
  • and the pupil has obtained a mark higher than 3.0 in German, Maths and English, with no unsatisfactory or fail marks in these subjects.

The decision is based primarily on the individual and their general academic development. Furthermore it is not calculated schematically, but is made on the basis of a collective academic pedagogical assessment.

 

Transition from Gymnasium to Realschule and transition from Realschule to Hauptschule after Year 7

Parents or legal guardians may apply for transition from Gymnasium to Realschule, or from Realschule to Hauptschule, as the case may be. The following rules apply:

  • Regulations on promotion can be downloaded here
  • For Years 5 and 6 the orientation stage regulations apply

Foreign languages ~

1. First foreign language: English

English is the first foreign language taught at the DSL. It is already taught at the Primary School from Year 1. Pupils who do not yet meet the standards required for this subject have one extra lesson per week with the English teacher to bring them up to the level of the rest of the class. These extra lessons are also offered from Years 5 to 11. Any further needs must be met privately. Pupils with mother-tongue English are grouped accordingly, e.g. English-orientated classes and receive extra lessons in German as a second language, if necessary.

 

2. Second foreign language: French or Latin

In Year 6 a second foreign language is introduced and pupils may choose French or Latin. If pupils obtain adequate marks, they receive a Latin qualification at the end of Year 10. Generally it is not possible to continue with Latin after this, due to an insufficient number of pupils. If a student wants to take two foreign languages to leaving exam level and has chosen Latin as second foreign language, then the student should take Spanish from Year 8 and carry on with this language in Years 11 and 12. Alternatively, students can choose three science subjects from Year 10. French can be taken as a second foreign language up to the leaving exam and chosen as an Abitur subject.

 

3. Third foreign language: Spanish

The DSL offers all strong Gymnasium pupils the possibility of taking Spanish as a third foreign language from Years 8 to 10. In Years 11 and 12 Spanish may be taken as fourth Abitur subject.

 

Alternatives

Staff will make special provisions for pupils who come to the DSL with a different sequence of foreign languages. Staff will refer to the DSL Handbook for basic information under the different language sequences section.