Secondary School to Matura
Our Upper School is bilingual German-English 50:50. If there is space in a class, however, we also welcome children from the public school system, provided they pass our assessment and are willing to improve their English during our intensive holiday courses.
Young require a school environment that guides and fosters their process of individualisation:
- level-appropriate learning goals
- possible transfers from Sek A to Gymnasium and from Sek B to Sek A levels until end of grade 9
- possible later decision to graduate with Matura or an international diploma (Grade 10)
- learning to plan with the help of 1:1 coaching with a teacher of your choice
- guidance from inspiring, highly qualified role models
- leadership programme
- one cultural trip per year
- one research project per year
- respectful, serious, supporting and cooperative learning atmosphere.
The Swiss Matura
Swiss students finish their secondary education, after rigorous exams, with the Swiss Matura. The Matura enables them to enroll in almost all areas of study at Swiss universities and Federal Institutes of Technology without additional entrance exams. There are a few exceptions, such as medicine and sports, where students must pass specific tests before they can start their studies. The Matura is recognized internationally but some elite universities may require a certain grade point average (GPA).
The students preparing for their Matura study the following mandatory core subjects: Mathematics, three languages, three natural sciences, three social sciences and either Arts or Music. Additionally, they complete an independent and comprehensive research paper. Students continue their studies in all these subjects throughout their upper school years. Furthermore, they are asked to choose an area of specialization according to their interests and abilities (at OBS, students can place an emphasis on languages, sciences or economics/ business studies).
Because of the wide range of subjects covered, the Matura prepares students for all areas of study at university be it in Natural Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities, Business or Arts. Young people who have passed their Matura exams are open-minded citizens of the world who can analyze complex social and scientific questions on different levels and develop sound solutions through critical inquiry and independent thinking. At OBS, we offer our students the opportunity to take their Matura exams in stages: the first six subjects will be completed after 11.5 years and the remaining subjects after 12.5 years.
OBS prepares students for the bilingual Matura exam, in which the subjects Geography, History, and optionally, either Economics or Philosophy are tested in English.
The independent Matura research paper is evaluated by the same criteria that are used for a term paper at university. Thus, the Matura research paper prepares the students perfectly for the scientific methods necessary for success at any university. At OBS, we start the preparation process as early as 8th Grade with short pre-scientific papers about a topic each student can choose individually. Year after year, the students then refine their knowledge and comprehension of the important scientific methods. Thanks to the work of the students and the tutoring of their teachers, the papers continually gain in depth, length, substance, structure and quality. We use the same approach in all subjects: Week after week, we define level- and age-appropriate learning milestones that support students in becoming independent, critically thinking and competent young adults. We employ a variety of methods to reach these goals.
The Matura exams are open to all OBS students who have qualified for the respective upper school level (Gymnasium) by the end of 10th Grade. For further information, please contact our Matura Coordinator, Ms Geneviève Appenzeller, or contact Ms Tanja Alvesalo if your child wishes to be accepted in the program.
Predominantly Gymnasium-level teachers (i.e. with a Master’s degree) provide stimulating materials at various levels of difficulty. Thanks to our individually tailored programme, secondary and Gymansium-level students can study together at our Upper School.
As of August 2018, Upper School at OBS will also be offering a creative class at the Sek B-level in addition to the Gymnasium-level classes. Students will study German, English, Maths, French, History and Geography separately and at their respective level of competence and, further, will be specifically supported by an additional teacher. The creative class 7b will also have lessons on Mutimedial Design Technology, while the preparatory Gymnasium-level class 7a will be able to learn Latin.
The decision as to whether a Sek A student can move to the Gymnasium-level or a Sek 7b student can move to Sek A level is reviewed annually. Transferring between levels is possible until the end of grade 9.
We prepare our students for higher education opportunities in both German and English, providing study options leading to Swiss and foreign universities.
The first OBS Matura graduating class graduated with almost an entire grade point higher than the Swiss average in the bilingual Zurich Swiss Matura examination in 2018.
(See above for an overview of all diplomas)
All students at OBS Upper School learn based on their individual skill levels. We regularly review the competence of each student in every area on the basis of the OBS competency framework, ranging from basic knowledge to the high level of Swiss Matura.
Progression to the next competency level is achieved through completion of clearly defined and obligatory learning objectives. Achievement of learning objectives is reviewed in regular assessments.
The learning materials are adjusted to the different groups of students by the teachers. All materials are available electronically on the OBS learning platform, accessible anytime and from anywhere.
Each student is allocated a teacher as a coach. Once every two weeks, the student meets the coach to review the set goals. The coach gives guidance on how to plan work efficiently, with the aim of the student assuming increasingly more responsibility for his or her own learning process.
If learning goals have been reliably achieved after a few months, study time can be structured more individually. In this way, one of the key skills essential for university and later professional success is acquired: the ability to prioritise and perform tasks within an agreed time frame.
At OBS Upper School, students further develop a sense of responsibility for individual learning by assuming responsibilities in different areas. For example, the students learn to run the weekly class meeting. We train particularly engaged students as peer mediators. In the event of a breach of the rules, they negotiate with the parties involved and decide on appropriate actions. Teachers are on hand to provide support in more challenging situations. This approach ensures that students and teachers alike are jointly responsible for a pleasant and respectful learning atmosphere at our school.
People of different nationalities come together at our school. We see this cultural diversity as an asset and place great emphasis on mutual respect and team spirit. In this positive atmosphere, relationships grow that form the basis for joint learning and constructive collaboration.
All teachers teach their specialist subject in their native language, either in German or in English. For example: Maths might be taught in German in Grade 7, while History is taught in English. The next year, it could be the other way round: Maths in English and History in German. This teaching/learning situation, in which the students “dive into” the foreign language, is called immersion.
By the end of Grade 9, each student at OBS will have received an equal amount of instruction in both languages. By contrast, regular bilingual profiles at public schools normally teach only a handful of selected subjects in exclusively English. Switching between the languages at OBS aims to ensure that students can use the associated technical terminology of a subject in both English and German.
Immersion classes place high demands on students’ knowledge of vocabulary, as well as listening and reading comprehension, because native speakers are equally entitled to develop at their normal learning pace. To ensure that a child truly benefits from this intensive form of teaching, his or her language skills are assessed before enrolment. Students who transfer from public schools therefore benefit from intensive courses during the holidays.