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Old 7th August 2006, 10:15 AM   #1
Ben
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Default What's the US equivalent of GCSE Spanish?

In the UK there is an official series of examinations called GCSE taken by kids at around age 16. Is there a similar system in the US? What would be the equivalent of GCSE Spanish (or any Intermediate level exam) in the US?

Thanks for any help!
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Old 7th August 2006, 12:34 PM   #2
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What is GCSE and what is its purpose?
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Old 7th August 2006, 12:48 PM   #3
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General Certificate of Secondary Education

They are the final exams before a student is eligible to drop out of the education system. Many students take exams in 10-12 different subjects. Students choose which subjects they would like to take examinations (GCSEs) in 2 years earlier, math and English are mandatory.
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Old 7th August 2006, 01:04 PM   #4
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Default Survey of US Education

Our system in the US is way different. Students are required to attend school until about age 16 ( this may vary by state). At that point they would drop out not completing what we call High School. High school runs from the 9th grade (age 15) to the 12th grade (age 18) Most americans complete the 12th grade and when they do thay recive a high school diploma. If they want to continue their education then the university route or trade school is considered. Most universities in the US require an SAT score from the applicant. SAT: scholastic aptitude test is an exam taken by most university bound high school students. The SAT consists of a math and verbal (english, grammar etc..) section. The universities vary by standard for SAT for acceptance. Some universities don't require an SAT at all. The first degree in the US is the bachelor's degree otherwise known as the undergraduate degree. It usually takes 4 years of full time study. If continued education is sought, the student will have to take the LSAT exam for law school, or the MCAT for medical school, or the GMAT for business or the GRE (graduate record examination) for most other degreees. I've probably missed a couple. Any way this portion of the education is called graduate school (except for law and medical, they liked to be referred to as law and medical). Graduate school is roughly 2 years in duration. Afterwards one may continue to pursue a doctorate degree. That has a lot of variance for selection and completion by program.

Last edited by ValenciaSon; 8th August 2006 at 12:16 AM.
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Old 7th August 2006, 01:13 PM   #5
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Is it legal in all states to drop out at the end of 8th grade? Dropping out is effectively like leaving a school here in the UK with no GCSEs.

I'm aware I'm hijacking Ben's thread here (apologies): the High School Diploma - does that specialise in a particular subject(s) depending on the interests/ambitions of the student or is it a general studies course encompassing many subjects i.e. all high school diplomas are the same.
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Old 7th August 2006, 01:35 PM   #6
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Thanks Valenciason, so is there an exam level at age 15/16 that people take just before going to high school, or before dropping out? When do you do SAT's?
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Old 8th August 2006, 12:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben
Thanks Valenciason, so is there an exam level at age 15/16 that people take just before going to high school, or before dropping out? When do you do SAT's?

For the most part there is no exam to go to high school. The exceptions are the competitive high schools which provide advanced studies and specialize in their content. Otherwise no exam and most high schools are general studies oriented.

The SATs are usually taken about 1 year prior to graduating high school.
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Old 8th August 2006, 08:00 AM   #8
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Thanks Valenciason
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Old 8th August 2006, 08:41 AM   #9
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I'm curious...
So if a student takes this GSCE "before dropping out," does that mean they get the same diploma/certificate they would receive if they continued to the end? In the US we have something called a GED (General Education Diploma) which people can earn after dropping out of high school, but it is not viewed on the same level as a "normal" high school diploma. Is the GSCE similar to this, or is it just a quicker, yet still bonafide way to complete one's education?
I hope that made sense.
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Old 8th August 2006, 09:52 AM   #10
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There is no overall diploma, as such - just the results of whichever exams you have taken. At 16 you take GCSEs and at 18 you take A levels (though I think they have introduced another set of exams at 17 as in intermediate step, even though they don't expect you to leave school at 17). When you have finished your A-levels you have the option of applying to the universities you want. Each university you apply to tells you what A-level results you need to get a place there (these are set individually, based on interviews and/or tests at each university). Note that you apply to the universities before you get your A-level results. If you get the results you need, all fine and dandy. If not, you go through a process called "clearing" where you hunt frantically for a course that might interest and will accept your A-level results.
All very confusing.
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Old 21st August 2006, 07:52 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben
In the UK there is an official series of examinations called GCSE taken by kids at around age 16. Is there a similar system in the US? What would be the equivalent of GCSE Spanish (or any Intermediate level exam) in the US?
I think the best equivalent to a GCSE in Spanish would be the SAT Subject Test in Spanish, from what I've gathered from my friends in the UK who have GCSE and A-level language. For me, the SAT test is easier than the Advanced Placement exam, and I was able to take the SAT Spanish test a year before I could have hoped to pass the AP exam. Of course, both of these tests are completely optional and are really only useful when applying to university. They're totally separate from the school, which issues your high school diploma in the end. You can take years of Spanish at school, from Spanish I-IV, to AP Spanish Language and AP Spanish Literature and never take a national, standardized test in the subject.
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Old 22nd August 2006, 02:56 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ben
In the UK there is an official series of examinations called GCSE taken by kids at around age 16. Is there a similar system in the US? What would be the equivalent of GCSE Spanish (or any Intermediate level exam) in the US?

Thanks for any help!
Times have changed

My daughter did GCSE Spanish eight years ago - I was amazed to discover how easy it was. Just a load of situations to learn - in a restaurant, in a hotel, shopping, all conversational stuff. I wondered what had happened to the grammar, the conjugation, the tenses, the subjunctive (aaaargh!) all the suff I did for GCE (a proper exam - no course work just 2 hours of hell at the end of the year). I found out when I enrolled for A level Spanish - there it all was.... of course there has been no dumbing down in education - yeah right!!
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Old 22nd August 2006, 06:53 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gary
I found out when I enrolled for A level Spanish - there it all was.... of course there has been no dumbing down in education - yeah right!!
When I did my A-levels at school (mumble years ago) I didn't get very good grades (Cs and Es), yet when I did A-level Spanish as a mumbling fool of an adult in 2001 I got an A. I *definitely* have not got cleverer, so I guess that must say something about the exam.
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Old 22nd August 2006, 07:49 PM   #14
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As I wondered to a captive teacher recently; both my sons have heaps of GCSEs and a clutch of A levels and I am amazed at their ignorance! How do you achieve an A level in English with a total inability to spell? My youngest did. Luckily for him, I proof read his first job application. Even I wouldn't have employed him. Yet the arguments it caused. "Spelling's not important,Dad", he told me. "It's the content". His ex-teachers can think themselves fortunate I never have to go to a parent's evening again!
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Old 22nd August 2006, 08:00 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by richardksa
As I wondered to a captive teacher recently; both my sons have heaps of GCSEs and a clutch of A levels and I am amazed at their ignorance! How do you achieve an A level in English with a total inability to spell? My youngest did. Luckily for him, I proof read his first job application. Even I wouldn't have employed him. Yet the arguments it caused. "Spelling's not important,Dad", he told me. "It's the content". His ex-teachers can think themselves fortunate I never have to go to a parent's evening again!
I'm with you on this one my lad is putting together advertising copy for his business at the moment, I am proof reading and rejigging the lot. He too is of the opinion that form, spelling and grammar are of little import. I tell him that if I had a grand to spend and a choice of two identically equipped companies to pick from my dosh would go to the one that didn't split the infintive. I finished the piece, gave it to him to read through and to get the opinion of girlfriend who is thankfully more literary

I think it worked, the last email I received had his ideas as a Word attachment and the message 'work your magic on this....'

Last edited by gary; 22nd August 2006 at 08:05 PM.
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Old 22nd August 2006, 10:01 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gary
I'm with you on this one my lad is putting together advertising copy for his business at the moment, I am proof reading and rejigging the lot. He too is of the opinion that form, spelling and grammar are of little import. I tell him that if I had a grand to spend and a choice of two identically equipped companies to pick from my dosh would go to the one that didn't split the infintive. I finished the piece, gave it to him to read through and to get the opinion of girlfriend who is thankfully more literary

I think it worked, the last email I received had his ideas as a Word attachment and the message 'work your magic on this....'
I thought this was an American thing.

The vast majority of Americans feel that grammar, spelling and punctuation are either over-rated or a symbol of snobbery. I say this for several reasons, but one in particular was an exchange I had had with a friend on my university swim team. We had team sweatshirts, team calenders, team hats, you name it, for our Cal State University, Bakersfield, Mens and Womens Swim Team". He was selling them in a booth in the hallway.

I asked what happened to the apostrophe. He said I was a snob.

Later, my roommate's mother, herself a student at UCLA, said, "Of course there's no apostrophe. It's plural!"

She went to look in a grammar reference guide, found nothing to back up her assertions, but never relinquished her point of view that "womens" is plural.

I have basically been in a depression since that day.
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Old 23rd August 2006, 12:20 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Catica
I thought this was an American thing.

The vast majority of Americans feel that grammar, spelling and punctuation are either over-rated or a symbol of snobbery. I say this for several reasons, but one in particular was an exchange I had had with a friend on my university swim team. We had team sweatshirts, team calenders, team hats, you name it, for our Cal State University, Bakersfield, Mens and Womens Swim Team". He was selling them in a booth in the hallway.

I asked what happened to the apostrophe. He said I was a snob.

Later, my roommate's mother, herself a student at UCLA, said, "Of course there's no apostrophe. It's plural!"

She went to look in a grammar reference guide, found nothing to back up her assertions, but never relinquished her point of view that "womens" is plural.

I have basically been in a depression since that day.
Aposrtophes are taught too early imho - you end up with nine year olds that havent a clue so you get wirds like pain't and dream't... no one cnscrew up english berrer than the English...

I heard a mum say "you can have a McDonalds if you behave"

Later the girl was heard to ask "Have I been haved enough for a McDonalds, mum?"

I just sighed... what hope is there?

Last edited by gary; 23rd August 2006 at 12:24 AM.
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Old 23rd August 2006, 01:20 AM   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by richardksa
How do you achieve an A level in English with a total inability to spell?
The same thing is happening in Holland... we are all dumbing down I guess. The spelling mistakes I see on the Internet - and not only in Dutch - just make me want to cry!
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Old 23rd August 2006, 01:25 AM   #19
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I don't mean to troll, but it would seem to me that the grammar here isn't of the highest standard either.

Maybe all age groups are in need a dose of grammar lessons.

Admittedly spelling and what not is atrocious, but I'm not entirely sure you can blame the shortcomings of someone's schooling for their lack of knowledge about the language, they need to be shown proper language first and then they can develop.

Last edited by rob; 23rd August 2006 at 01:27 AM.
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Old 23rd August 2006, 10:31 AM   #20
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rob
I don't mean to troll, but it would seem to me that the grammar here isn't of the highest standard either.

Maybe all age groups are in need a dose of grammar lessons.

Admittedly spelling and what not is atrocious, but I'm not entirely sure you can blame the shortcomings of someone's schooling for their lack of knowledge about the language, they need to be shown proper language first and then they can develop.
Many of our members are non native speakers of English and I wish my Spanbish grammar came half as close as theirs does.

This is a conversational, thus informal forum, and whereasd it is important to know the correct form of expression it is not always compulsory to use it. Partridge pointed out that the use of slang is used as a badge of identity - hence teenagers almosy have their own language. ... perhaps its, sorry it's, just that people fail to recognise where formal and informal codes of language are most appropriate in their everyday lives.

It's a breakdown in the class system or a slipping in standards - depends on your opint of view.... dunnit?
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