dwj-digest (Diana Wynne Jones) V1 #929

Dorian E. Gray israfel at eircom.net
Wed Dec 15 14:17:28 EST 2004

Jordan said...

> You can choose whether to take AP's or not so since I am good at history I 
> am
> in AP Euro. Hist. but I dont like chemistry very much so instead of doing
> Honors I'm in normal (and can still try to take AP Biology next year). The 
> only
> thing is that "advanced math" or Honors starts in 7th grade and then from 
> that
> point on they are always a year ahead but one of my friends really wants 
> to
> take Honors math next year so he is taking two math classes. So people can 
> do it
> if they really want to....one is good enough for me. Of course getting 
> into
> college is so impossible now you have to take a bunch of AP's, and play a
> sport, and do some arts thing, and start a club, all while having amazing 
> grades
> and a good personality. Curing cancer might also help. ugh

The US education system always seems very weird to me, because it's so very 
different from the Irish one.  Here, primary schools (age 4 to 11) have 
mixed-ability classes, but once you start secondary school at age 12, you're 
"streamed".  I can see the argument for not streaming and how kids might 
feel inferior if they're in a lower stream, but on the other hand, surely in 
a mixed-ability class the bright kids are bored and the slow ones are lost 
(and still feeling inferior!).

Then there's the whole college entrance thing.  We have State exams here; 
everyone in the country, pretty much, sits the same Leaving Certificate 
exams at the age of 17 or 18 (though you can do Higher or Lower level papers 
depending on your ability; I did Irish, English, French, German and 
Chemistry at Higher level and Maths and Physics at Lower).  And college 
places are allocated on the basis of your Leaving Cert results - with 
certain caveats, like to get into a science course you need to have certain 
minimum results in science subjects, and art courses require portfolios, and 
so forth.  Colleges here really don't care whether you play sports or run 
clubs or wow complete strangers with your charm; if you get the grades, 
you're in.

How do other countries represented here do it?


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