Since school year 1999/2000 the New Learning Structures Program (Course System) has been in use at GIBS. Students now take core courses and elective courses instead of the general course of studies that was taught previously. They have more opportunity to pursue their personal interests and prepare themselves for their future studies or careers.
The whole system is explained below. Students who have questions concerning the system are asked to contact their tutors for assistance.
Quarters and credits
Each semester is divided into two quarters. Core courses run for a quarter, elective courses for two quarters (ie one semester). They often have more weekly periods than in the regular school system. This means that courses are denser than in a regular AHS. A student has fewer subjects at a time and will therefore be able to focus more effectively. A student gets one credit for each weekly period per quarter.
What is a core course?
We have reduced the number of teaching periods in almost all subjects and have defined a core curriculum for each subject. This core curriculum contains all essential contents that students must acquire. These essential topics and skills are taught in the core courses offered in Years 6 to 8. These core courses are for the class as a whole, and they are compulsory courses. Each core course is assessed independently and the grade in the yearly report is a weighted average of all quarter grades. In order to proceed to the next class a student has to pass all the core courses. A student who does not pass at the end of the school year must pass the re-sit exams in September or repeat the year.
What is an elective course?
By reducing the number of compulsory periods in the core courses we have increased the number of hours that students can take as elective courses. The goals and contents of these electives are described in the online coursebook.
Each elective course is assessed independently. (Some course descriptions outline the requirements for the course.) A student who fails an elective course may proceed to the next class but is required to pass an equivalent elective course the following year. Once gained, elective credits cannot be lost ie a student who fails the whole year (because he/she didn’t pass a core course) keeps the elective credits gained in that year.
How many elective courses should one select?
After studying the course descriptions students register for the elective courses of their choice, as many as they feel they can cope with. In the regular school system the equivalent of about 33 credits per quarter is required, which serves as a guideline. Overbooking may lead to pressure or poor performance. Underbooking means having to make up credits in later years.
Over the three years of the program a certain number of credits must be gained in order to qualify as a candidate for the final exam (Reifeprüfung). These are as follows:
- 22 Language credits (German, English, French, Spanish, Latin)
- 16 Science credits (Biology, Chemistry, Physics, Mathematics)
- 14 Humanities and Geography credits (History, Geography, Psychology and Philosophy)
A student gains one credit for each weekly period per quarter.
The total amount of credits a student needs for the admission to the matura is 84.
The following table shows how many credits are required in each subject to meet the requirements for the oral final exam (mündliche Reifeprüfung). To take a cross-curricular oral exam the total sum of credits in both subjects is required. To take the in-depth oral exam (vertiefende Schwerpunktprüfung) one has to acquire 8 additional credits in this subject.
Required Credits for the oral matura exam in each subject
|Summe an Credits für eine mündliche Reifeprüfung||24||36||36||36||36||22||20||36||16||16||28||16||18||24|
|Summe an Credits für eine vertiefende Schwerpunkts-prüfung||32||44||44||44||44||30||28||44||24||24||36||24||26||–|
Booking the right courses is important. Personal interests and talents, future needs (higher education and career) and the legal requirements for the final exam (Reifeprüfung) all must be taken into consideration. To help them with their choice, students are assigned to a tutor (a member of staff who is well acquainted with the system) with whom they can discuss their plans before booking their courses.
Course organization and class size
After the general registration it is decided which of the courses on offer will in fact take place. If one of the courses a student has chosen does not take place, a second choice can be booked. Under certain circumstances a course might have to be moved to another quarter. Once a course has been booked attendance is compulsory.
Students who have questions are welcome to ask their tutors for help.