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Lower Secondary School (Ungdomsskole, grades 8-10, age 13-16)
When the students enter lower secondary school, at age 12 or 13, they begin getting grades for their work. Their grades together with their location in the country will determine whether they get accepted at their high school of choice or not. From the eighth grade (Yr 9 or S3/4), the students can choose one elective (valgfag). Typical subjects the students are offered are the languages German, French and Spanish as well as additional English and Norwegian studies. Before the educational reform starting August 2006, students could choose a practical elective instead of the languages.
A student may take the Grade 10 exam in a particular subject however early as long as he or she has been granted an exemption from further instruction in the elementary/middle school curriculum of that subject.
In 2009, Norwegian 15 year olds performed better in OECD's Programme for International Student Assessment than other Scandinavian countries, with significant improvement since 2006. In mathematics, however, the top scoring 10% were estimated to lag 3 years behind the top scoring students in Shanghai
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