MENNTASKÓLINN Í REYKJAVÍK (Reykjavík Higher Secondary Grammar School); Reykjavík Junior College) is a four-year college, comparable with a British 6th form College or the last two years of High School plus the first two years of College in the U.S.A., attended by age-groups 16-20.
The Icelandic school system is overwhelmingly run by the State where the greatest part of the curriculum is prescribed by law and by regulations issued by the Ministry of Education.
At the end of each course (after 2, 3 or 4 years of study in the subject) students take comprehensive 2-3-hour written examinations, plus orals in the languages and maths. Examinations are controlled external examiners.
The school-year is divided into two 14,5 week terms of teaching in, followed by 3-6 weeks of examinations. In the first three years there are, therefore, two exam-marks and teachers mark, the average of which gives the final year-mark in each subject. The average of those has to be 5.00 or higher for the student to move into the next year. In addition the lowest passing mark in each subject is 4,0.
Grades are given on a scale of 1 - 10 prescribed by the Ministry of Education. Halves appear as marks are given by teacher and the external examiner appointed by the ministry.
Our certificates have two columns. The first column is the term mark given by the teacher on the basis of the student’s work in class, the second column is the examination mark given by the teacher and the external examiner jointly. We then calculate the average of each column and then the average of averages which is the final mark.
On the final exams the marks are given by the examining teacher and the external examiner of above. In final exams marks in two subjects lower than 4,0 in final exams are allowed. A student with three subjects lower than 4,0 can resist the exam in one of them and if he obtains a mark of 4,0 or higher will graduate on condition that he had an average mark of 5,0 out of all subjects.
On completion of the four-year course students are issued with “Stúdentspróf” (Certificate of Matriculation) which qualifies them for entrance to the University of Iceland and has been accepted by all universities in Europe, America and wherever our students have applied for admission throughout the 168 year history of this school.
No national statistics on the outcome of the stúdentspróf exist. A quick survey of the outcome in this school during the last ten years reveals that 2-3% of the graduating class obtain final marks in the highest category, about 35% get a First, about 45% get a Second and 17-18% get a Third. This is a rough estimate but can be used as a guideline.