American Schools Vs. German Schools

Written by Sarah Owen, Aryan Brunette, and Lea Kopke

German students have no extracurriculars, get no rides to school, and don't get lunches from school. Yet, they have a higher average GPA and have less high-school dropouts than the United States does. How does this work? Germany has better educated students than in America. The American school system might benefit greatly from adopting some of Germany's educational ways.

What Effect do German Communities Have on Their Schools?

American schools provide many services to their students. Many schools get kids to school in buses and have many after-school sports/clubs their students can join. Many German schools have no extracurriculars provided. They do not provide a free transportation service to their students, and most don't even have a library. In Germany, it is believed that the community surrounding the school should provide the library, sports, and organizations that the students want. Because of their focus on education, 88% of their men have successfully completed high-school, along with 83% of their women doing the same.

German schools also have a little more homework than most American schools, but it varies on the school. Public schools are nearly free to the public, other than small textbook, lunch, and material fees. Overall, German schools use their funding in an almost completely different way than Americans do. In Germany, schools are different. Their schools are also funded by taxes and progressive income-based customer fees, but much of that money goes towards teacher pay checks and improving their classrooms.

What is A Typical School Day Like In Germany?

Students in Germany have to take certain classes that are required. Some classes required are math, science, German, English, humanity, music, PE, art, an elective, and PSHE. The classes normally run for about 50 minutes each day. They have 60 in each class. In the classes they use technology. Some of the technology they use in the classrooms are IPads. The testing they have usually don't have a lot of multiple choice questions; mainly in classes other than math and German they write essays. Their grading system is different from ours. The grading system is letter but the points are different, they have the following grading system, 8=A+,7=A, 6=B, 5=C, 4=D, 3-1=F. There are certain things you have to know to get an eight. During school the students speak English when being taught but all speak different languages. In a normal German school German would be spoken where as English is spoken at the international school. The students at the international school learn German for around 50 minutes, whereas students at German schools learn English for 50 minutes. The day is normally the times 8:20am to 3:30pm with a 20 minute break time and 40 minutes for lunch time. They are required to go to school for just about the whole year.

How Does The German School System Work?

There are different teacher salaries for different educations. For the primary education it has $47,488 for entry level. For 15 years its $58,662. The maximum is $63,286. For the lower secondary education the entry level is $53,026, for 15 years the salary is $64,491. While the maximum $70,332. Last but not least the upper secondary education entry salary it is $57,357. The 15 year salary is $69,715 and finally the maximum salary is $79,088.

To be a primary educator you need 3.5 years of schooling, to be a lower secondary educator you need to have 3.5 - 4.5 years of education. Finally to be a upper secondary educator you need 4.5 years for normal training then an extra 2.5 years for practical training in a school setting.

Children aged three to six, can attend kindergarten. After that, school's mandatory for nine-ten years. For grades one through four children attend elementary school (Grundschule). Then, after fourth grade, they are separated according to academic ability, wishes of their families and attend one of three different kinds of schools: Hauptschule (grades five-nine) , Realschule (grades five-ten in most areas) or Gymnasium. Grundschule teachers recommend their students to a particular school based on things such as academic achievement, self-confidence and ability to work independently. However, in most areas, parents have the final say (German School System, paragraph 2).

Hauptschule teaches the same subjects as Realschule and Gymnasium, but has a slow pace with occasional vocational-oriented courses. It leads to part-time enrollment in vocational school combined with apprenticeship training until 18. The Realschule leads to part-time vocational schools and higher. The Gymnasium leads to a diploma called the Abitur and prepares students for university study or for a dual academic and vocational privileges. In recent years many areas have changed the curriculum so students can get the Abitur faster. Other areas are making the transition but may still require you to be at a certain grade level (13). The Gesamtschule, or comprehensive school, is only found in some areas. It takes place of Hauptschule and Realschule. It enrolls students with ability levels in the fifth through the tenth grades. Students who successfully complete the Gesamtschule through ninth grade receive the Hauptschule certificate, while those who complete schooling through tenth grade receive the Realschule certificate. Beyond Hauptschule and Realschule comes Berufsschule, combining part-time academic study and apprenticeship. The successful completion of the apprenticeship program leads to certification in a particular trade or field of work. These schools differ from others because the control rests with federal government, industry and trade unions not with local and regional school authorities.

No matter what school a child attends, they must complete at least nine years of education. A student dropping out of Gymnasium, must enroll in Realschule or Hauptschule until nine years are completed.

Big image
German schools have much better education options for their students then United States does. As you've seen, Germany has less high-school dropouts and a higher GPA then us. Educators in the United States should look at Germany's way of education and try out some of their methods with students. For example, the community around a school could start hosting extracurriculars, leaving the school with plenty of money to improve themselves with. Or, a teacher could put less multiple choice questions on a test and replace them with written questions that make the student think.


Chuck Emerson Media Services. “German School System.” How to Germany. Gear Brand, n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2014. <>.

“Costs.” Study Guide Germany. N.p., n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2014. <>.

German children sitting on a bench eating lunch. Hochwald Apotheke. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2014. <>.

“German School, Deutsche Schule, in Valencia.” Valencia Trader. VidaVia Web Design, n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2014. <>.

"German School System." How to Germany. Chuck Emerson Media Services, n.d. Web. 12 Mar. 2014.

“Germany.” OECD Better Life Index. sodexo, n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2014. <>.

“Germany, School Visit.” World Harmony Run. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2014. <>.

Klein, Cory. “A Comparison of the Public School Systems of Germany and the United States.” Department of Psychology. UM Sitemaker, n.d. Web. 13 Mar. 2014.

"Teachers' Salaries." OCEDiLibrary. Publishing Technology, 25 June 2013. Web. 12 Mar. 2014.

"Teacher Training - Basic and Specialist Teacher Training - Germany." European Agency for Special Needs and Inclusive Education. European Commission, 26 Mar. 2010. Web. 12 Mar. 2014.