Denmark to require more of high school students

Denmark to require more of high school students
The government proposal would make it more difficult for students to get accepted into upper secondary school. Photo: David Leth Williams/Scanpix
The Danish government presented a reform of its upper secondary education on Wednesday, highlighted by a new minimum grade requirement for entry.
Under the new proposal, students would need a minimum average grade of 4 in Danish and maths to be granted entry into high schools (gymnasium) and Higher Preparatory Examination (HF) schools. 
Denmark’s grading system uses a seven point scale that was introduced in 2007. A mark of ‘4’ is considered ‘fair’ and is the equivalent of a D in the European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS) grading scale (see full scale description below). 
The grade requirement would be phased in over three years so students seek admission into upper secondary schools in 2017 and 2018 would need only an average grade of 2, or ‘adequate’. 
“We need to improve upper secondary education so more youths are ready to begin higher education. Upper secondary school is for those who want to continue their studies,” Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen said at a Wednesday press conference. 
“Students need to have the basic competencies in place and they will if they have a 4 grade in Danish and maths,” he added. 
Education Minister Ellen Trane Nørby said it is important that young Danes get “challenged” in their education choices. 
“For some young people the right choice is a vocational education such as Eux [a hybrid of vocational training and traditional upper secondary education, ed.]. For others it is HF or a three-year upper secondary education. One education isn’t better than they other but it’s important that more young people end up on the right shelf on the first go-round and receive the educations that have realistic job perspectives and where their competencies and motivation will ensure that they complete the education,” she said in a statement. 
As part of the proposal, the government also plans to decrease the number of fields of study at upper secondary schools from around 200 to 49.
“The government will significantly reduce the number of study programmes. At the same time, we will create a new core curriculum so that students don’t need to take a position on their course of study before they have even started at an upper secondary school,” Nørby said. 
The upper secondary education reform proposal follows in the footsteps of a controversial overall of the nation’s primary school system that began with the 2014 school year. 
The Danish grading system:
12 = excellent (ECTS equivalent = A)
10 = very good (ECTS equivalent = B)
7 = good (ECTS equivalent = C)
4 = fair (ECTS equivalent = D)
2 = adequate (ECTS equivalent = E)
0 = inadequate (ECTS equivalent = Fx)
-3 = unacceptable (ECTS equivalent = F)

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