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Old 09.07.2007, 17:47
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Exam Equivalents

Does anyone know how to compare educational standards between the Swiss and the UK systems.
Our oldest has just completed 1st year(of three) of secondary in the “General” section of school, his notes were good , getting 5.0 or more in all subjects except French where he got 4.5.
However, we will be leaving here in 2 years and will be looking to get him into the IB programme , A levels or a college, all of which require 5-7 GCSE’s or equivalent, so if he continues in the general section will he finish with the equivalent of 5-7 GCSE’s ?

We could make a case of getting him transferred to the “pre Gym “ section arguing that it is only the French letting him down and as a French speaker for only 2 years it will continue to get better. That being so would finishing the pre Gym be the equivalent of 5-7 GCSE’s ?

I have asked his school last week and am still awaiting an answer so thought in the meantime someone here might know.

Nick.
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Old 10.07.2007, 15:26
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Re: Exam Equivalents

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Does anyone know how to compare educational standards between the Swiss and the UK systems.
Our oldest has just completed 1st year(of three) of secondary in the “General” section of school, his notes were good , getting 5.0 or more in all subjects except French where he got 4.5.
However, we will be leaving here in 2 years and will be looking to get him into the IB programme , A levels or a college, all of which require 5-7 GCSE’s or equivalent, so if he continues in the general section will he finish with the equivalent of 5-7 GCSE’s ?

We could make a case of getting him transferred to the “pre Gym “ section arguing that it is only the French letting him down and as a French speaker for only 2 years it will continue to get better. That being so would finishing the pre Gym be the equivalent of 5-7 GCSE’s ?

I have asked his school last week and am still awaiting an answer so thought in the meantime someone here might know.

Nick.
Hi Nick, this question tests academics all over and all the time. The problem you have is in trying to compare two school systems with different academic syllabuses - put simply you cannot and the best effort you can get is to have one system accepted as equivalent by another. This is done at a formal level ie by the respective governments.

Your situation cannot be answered by your current school in that the judge of the academic standard would be the receiving school given that the only recognised certificate from Swiss schools is the matura.. If you are not able to get him on an IB program now then you will be left with putting him on a GCSE stream when back in the UK. It will be that he is a bit behind in sciences (actually quite a lot) but he will be A level standard in French and probably German and assuming the school is good enough will be able to take these parallel to doing normal O levels. This will actually stand him in good stead, as while he might be late in applying for university he will be applying with two A grade A levels in advance and will be able to choose where he goes...
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Old 10.07.2007, 15:41
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Re: Exam Equivalents

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Hi Nick, this question tests academics all over and all the time. The problem you have is in trying to compare two school systems with different academic syllabuses - put simply you cannot and the best effort you can get is to have one system accepted as equivalent by another. This is done at a formal level ie by the respective governments.

Your situation cannot be answered by your current school in that the judge of the academic standard would be the receiving school given that the only recognised certificate from Swiss schools is the matura.. If you are not able to get him on an IB program now then you will be left with putting him on a GCSE stream when back in the UK. It will be that he is a bit behind in sciences (actually quite a lot) but he will be A level standard in French and probably German and assuming the school is good enough will be able to take these parallel to doing normal O levels. This will actually stand him in good stead, as while he might be late in applying for university he will be applying with two A grade A levels in advance and will be able to choose where he goes...
Thanks Richard,

This more or less confirms what I feared ie different academic syllabuses make for confussion.
I have been in touch with a couple of 6th form colleges in UK both of who seem to recognise the Swiss matura at both federal and Cantonal level, it seems that a Federal matura with notes of 4 or more for individual subjects are equal to GCSE passes and at a Federal level are equal to A leval passes, however it all depends on the Canton and whether they award matura's at contonal or federal levels!!
As yet we have had no reply from our local school to the email sent last Wednesday.

Nick.
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