Middle School graduation

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The middle school leaving certificate , traditionally also called the middle school leaving certificate , is in the school system of the Federal Republic of Germany an educational qualification that can usually be obtained at the end of the 10th grade of the general school . The names for this are different in the federal states :


From 1832 onwards, secondary school qualifications in Prussia were recognized as entitlement to access to middle careers . The middle school- leaving certificate was also called the one-year -old because young men with this educational qualification only had to serve one year instead of the normal three-year military service on a voluntary basis (if they had to pay for accommodation, food, uniform, cold weapon and, in the case of riding units, the horse themselves). These were called one- year volunteers and the middle school- leaving certificate was called “scientific qualification for one-year voluntary military service”.

In 1970 the terms secondary school leaving certificate and secondary school leaving certificate were largely used synonymously. No intermediate maturity was obtained in grammar school. High school students who did not pass the Abitur examination or who had previously left the high school therefore did not have a school leaving certificate.

The German Education laid in 1970 with the structure plan for the education system a long-term perspective for the West German educational system before. A new qualification was planned for all Hauptschulen, Realschulen and Gymnasien, which was similar to the previous middle school leaving certificate. This should be named as the working title “Abitur I”. The “school-leaving certificate” after finishing high school would have become the “Abitur II”.

However, it was a long time before this was implemented. For example, in 2002 in Thuringia, in contrast to most other federal states, there were no examinations or automatic awarding of the middle school leaving certificate after the 10th grade. The lack of prospects after dropping out of high school was then considered the motive of the perpetrator in the rampage in Erfurt . Only then was a qualification after the 10th grade introduced in all federal states in high schools. However, the concrete implementation (from a uniform examination for all school types to an automatic award of qualifications at grammar schools) has remained different to this day.

The education politicians of the different countries could not agree on a common name either. So from the previously uniform terms "middle school leaving certificate" and "Realschulabschluss" (secondary school leaving certificate), seven different names have emerged (see overview at the beginning of this article).


The middle school leaving certificate is the prerequisite for attending school types of the upper secondary level ( technical schools (FOS), vocational schools (BOS), vocational colleges (BK), grammar schools , etc.). However, depending on the state and type of school, admission to a secondary school is also tied to a certain average grade. In some federal states, a distinction is made between a certificate of the 10th school year with and without a qualification note. A “qualified” qualification, for example an extended lower secondary qualification, then entitles you to attend an upper level .


Since education policy is a matter for the federal states, the respective school laws , guidelines and decrees in the individual federal states regulate the types of schools at which the intermediate maturity / technical college entrance qualification can be achieved.

As a rule, it is the completion of a secondary school , a high school (in Brandenburg), a vocational school (for example in Baden-Württemberg), in the Mittlere-Reife-Zug (the term as such is only common in Bavaria, according to the matter there is but also in other federal states) at a secondary school (in Baden-Württemberg Werkrealschule ), at a business school in Bavaria or at a comprehensive school or at a grammar school after grade 10.

In all federal states with the exception of Rhineland-Palatinate, acquiring the secondary school leaving certificate is now tied to central exams. In North Rhine-Westphalia and Lower Saxony these exams took place for the first time at the end of the 2006/2007 school year, in Schleswig-Holstein in May 2009, in the other federal states they were already introduced or have never been abolished, such as in Thuringia. In a number of federal states high school students are excluded from this, but by no means in all (for example not in Berlin, North Rhine-Westphalia, Brandenburg).

secondary school

The Realschule generally leads to middle school after the 10th grade. In some federal states it is also possible to leave the Realschule after the 10th grade only with an extended secondary school leaving certificate if the exams for the middle school leaving certificate have not been passed, but the class goal has been achieved.

High school

In the Land of Brandenburg for the 2005/2006 school year, the secondary schools and comprehensive schools were without high school seniors in high schools converted. The degree is based on the grade point average and other criteria. After the final exams at the end of the 10th grade, the advanced vocational qualification (corresponds to the extended secondary school qualification), the technical high school qualification (FOR; formerly secondary school qualification) and the technical high school qualification with entitlements to attend the upper secondary level (FORQ) can be acquired. The change from a high school to a grammar school can take place after the 9th grade at the latest, as the Abitur is already taken after 12 school years.

Middle School (formerly Hauptschule)

At a middle school , the intermediate maturity can be achieved under certain conditions:

comprehensive school

At a comprehensive school , the secondary school leaving certificate (called “Fachoberschulreife” in North Rhine-Westphalia and Brandenburg) can be achieved with the completion of the 10th grade. A distinction is made between a degree with or without access authorization to attend the upper level of the gymnasium (in North Rhine-Westphalia or Brandenburg: Fachoberschulreife (FOR) or Fachoberschulreife with qualification (FORQ)).

high school

At the grammar school, depending on the federal state, after the 10th grade, either examinations for the acquisition of the secondary school leaving certificate are carried out, or the transfer certificate to grade 11 is sufficient as proof of secondary school leaving certificate.

professional school

The successful completion of vocational training (apprenticeship) can under certain circumstances also lead to secondary school leaving certificate if further general subjects are taken at the vocational school and a certain average grade is achieved (model 9 + 3).

Business school

The business school in Bavaria leads in two to four stages (depending on the requirements) to the intermediate educational qualification.

Second-chance education

In addition, there are opportunities for further training via the second educational path , for example via distance learning , via the evening secondary school or via special school forms at vocational schools ( e.g. vocational college ). The prerequisite for this is the secondary school leaving certificate .

Polytechnic high school in the GDR

A comparable certificate was obtained in the GDR after completing the 10th grade of the polytechnic high school (ten- grade graduation). Today it is equated with that of a secondary school leaving certificate. At the end of the 10th grade, GDR-wide central exams took place. These passed

  • written exams in Russian, German, mathematics as well as biology, physics or chemistry,
  • at least two and at most five oral exams,
  • an exam in sports - athletics and gymnastics.

The final examination was completed with a grade, which resulted from the average of all grades from the certificate:

  • with distinction (mostly ones, maximum 2 twos)
  • very good (grade 1)
  • good (grade 2)
  • satisfactory (grade 3)
  • sufficient (grade 4)
  • unsatisfactory (grade 5)

See also

Portal: Education  - Overview of Wikipedia content on education

Web links

Wiktionary: Mittlere Reife  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Agreement on the types of schools and courses in lower secondary education. Resolution of the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of December 3, 1993 in the version of September 25, 2014, item 5.5, pp. 10-11. Accessed January 7, 2015 online .
  2. The secondary school leaving certificate in Bavaria , Bavarian State Ministry for Education and Culture, Science and Art, accessed on January 7, 2015.
  3. Exams and degrees. Berlin.de: Senate Department for Education, Youth and Family, accessed on January 12, 2020 .
  4. Middle school leaving certificate , Bildungsserver Berlin-Brandenburg, accessed on January 7, 2015.
  5. Degrees & Exams , The Senator for Education and Science, Bremen, accessed on January 7, 2015.
  6. Mittlerer Schulprüfung , Hamburg.de, accessed on November 26, 2015.
  7. Middle school leaving certificate , topic central qualifications, Education Schleswig-Holstein portal, accessed on January 7, 2015.
  8. Degrees. Ministry of Schools and Education of the State of North Rhine-Westphalia - education portal, accessed on November 25, 2019 .
  9. Exams and degrees , Ministry of Education, Science and Culture, Government Portal, accessed January 7, 2015.
  10. Graduations ( Memento from February 27, 2015 in the Internet Archive ), Bildungsserver Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, accessed on January 7, 2015.
  11. Mittlere Reife , Service-BW, Baden-Württemberg, accessed on January 7, 2015.
  12. Individual choice of school leaving certificate , Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sport, Baden-Württemberg, accessed on January 7, 2015.
  13. Graduations , Schools and Vocational Training, Sachsen.de, accessed on January 7, 2015.
  14. According to § 5 of the ordinance on the qualifications in the lower secondary level (Graduation VO Sek I) of July 9, 2012, The Minister of Culture of the State of Saxony-Anhalt ( Memento of January 8, 2015 in the Internet Archive ), Education Server Saxony-Anhalt, accessed on January 7, 2015.
  15. ^ The Thuringian School System , Thuringian Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, Thueringen.de, accessed on January 7, 2015.
  16. Qualifications in lower secondary education , Lower Saxony Ministry of Education, accessed on January 7, 2015.
  17. Introduction of the high school in the state of Brandenburg - permeability and connection options ( Memento from March 4, 2016 in the Internet Archive ), Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport, State of Brandenburg, accessed on January 7, 2015.
  18. ^ Educational courses ( Memento from February 28, 2015 in the Internet Archive ), Ministry for Education, Youth and Sport, State of Brandenburg, accessed on January 7, 2015.
  19. Intermediate degree , Hessian Ministry of Culture, accessed on January 7, 2015.
  20. ^ Educational pathways in Rhineland-Palatinate. Information leaflet. 5th edition, Ministry for Education, Science, Youth and Culture, Rhineland-Palatinate, September 2010. Online , accessed on January 7, 2015.
  21. Middle educational qualification , Bildungsserver, Saarland, accessed on January 7, 2015.
  22. Abitur also for locksmiths? In: Der Spiegel 19/1969
  23. Dead link: Ministry for Education and Culture Schleswig-Holstein
  24. ^ Association of Bavarian Private Schools eV: Your way to the secondary school leaving certificate , accessed on December 21, 2018