September 29, 2011

Oy! National Exams


All students in Costa Rica in elementary school (1st-6th grade) and high school (7th-11th) take final exams at the end of the year and must pass all the core subjects in order to advance to the next grade.  ADE high school uses a curriculum approved by the Department of Education that is geared for the independent student from the age of 14 to obtain their degree. ADE had to request permission for the 7th graders who came to ADE High School directly from 6th grade who are under the age of 14. Students do not take exams created by the high school but rather national standardized exams administered by the Ministry of Education. However, within the system there is some flexibility. ADE high school students are able to advance students to the next grade (in the subjects passed) if they pass more than half of their exams. They work during breaks and retake the exams in the subjects not passed. Students are given three hours to complete each of the 6 areas of study: Science, Math, Spanish, English, Social Studies and Civics.

An eighth grader commented that she is nervous about the exams but thinks that exams are good in teaching her to prepare and study well. A ninth grader, who has so far passed with flying colors in every exam in the year and a half that he has been with ADE high school, comments that when he first took exams he was really scared because he did not know what was going to be on the exams and had to study a lot. He says it is very exciting to have a challenge and succeed. He comments that the exams are good because they are not only used as a standard for passing to the next grade but also as an opportunity for learning.  At the conclusions of the exams, he realizes that he misses studying when he sees all the time that he spent studying. His advice: "You have to be very calm and study as much as possible. You have to give up watching TV, playing and visiting in order to dedicate to studying for exams." His math teacher has been encouraging him to be a math tutor to the community where there is a great need for help in math. A seventh grader comments that he is very nervous because he has never taken them before and he does not know what they are like. He says that however it makes him realize what areas he needs to work on and the exams push him to prepare well in those areas. He concludes that if it weren't for the exams, he would not perhaps be so well-rounded. He chuckles.

Good luck to all our great students! Exams are on Oct. 9th, 15th and 16th. Please hold our students in your prayers during the next three weeks as we enter into this current examination period..
Written by Chelsea Dozier

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