Thursday, December 1, 2011

Why We Should Support an American Baccalaureate Certificate

Yesterday I introduced my idea for an American Baccalaureate Certificate, and I promised to provide some details today, so here they are.

A European Baccalaureate (EB) Certificate, the base model for what I am proposing, is a really impressive document to behold. The first page lists the 25 countries -- from the Kingdom of Belgium through the Czech Republic, with all of the other EU countries listed in between -- that will confer free college education to the holders of this certificate. Then one turns the page and sees a Baccalaureate report, with a list of the 11 subjects the student will have been assessed in during the final year of secondary school along with an overall mark expressed as a percentage of the available points.

For the American equivalent, I am proposing that the subjects assessed include three at an advanced level (like the very impressive new Pre-U qualification from Cambridge International Examinations); three more subjects studied at standard level providing subject balance, as in the International Baccalaureate; and five more subjects (perhaps history, geography, philosophy of knowledge, physical education, and comparative ethics) which would be studied to only a minor extent by students during the last two years of secondary school, to ensure at least a minimum standard of achievement in a broad range of subjects, like the EB does.

I also propose that those earning such a world-class qualification be automatically entitled to three years of free college tuition in our public universities, or be able to use equivalent sums towards tuition in the private universities that would be wise enough to recruit students so optimally prepared to succeed in higher education.

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