The school system in Denmark is at the same time very simple and very complex, so I’ll just stick to my own personal experience with it. It starts with folkeskole, which roughly translates as elementary school (or primary or grade school in England, I think) and goes from kindergarten to ninth grade. The average age in ninth grade is fifteen. Classes are composed of twenty-five people on average and stay together from year to year. At the end of folkeskole are final exams, mostly oral, which in the long run don’t count for much. After that a person can choose to go to tenth grade or, if they feel ready, onward to a variety of schools which equate to something between high school and college. (After tenth grade you go to one of these anyway.)
My choice was gymnasium. There are three kinds of gymnasiums; mine is of the kind that offers a ‘general’ education – like high school. All students choose which class they will join based on which subjects will be their linjefag – the subjects that count most for your grade. A-level classes last for all three years and are the hardest and most important. B-level classes last for two years; C-level classes for one. My retningslinje – the class I chose – is Italian A, English A (which is cheating, I know, but I couldn’t avoid it if I was to have Italian) and Film B. For some happy reason, the powers that be have stretched Film to cover all three years despite being a B-level class. Just under half my classmates have Music instead of Italian.
I am currently in the second year of gymnasium. My class is called A class. B is the same as us, but with Social Studies instead of Italian or Music. We have (in my grade) A class, B class, C, U, W, X, Y and Z. C and W have English A, Math B and Social Studies B; U has Social Studies A, Math B and Geography B; X has Math A, Biology B and Physical Education B; Y has Physics A, Math A and Chemistry B; Z has Biotechnology A, Math A and Physics B. There is also a first-year D class, which is the same as B. There is no first-year X class.
The further up the alphabet you go, the cleverer the students (by reputation, at least). This is rather annoying at times, such as when I sit in class and wonder if I’m the only person who even read the homework, let alone did it, and rather amusing the rest of the time. It’s also a lovely excuse for science-related ignorance and for not doing any math at all unless I jolly well feel like it.
So. I believe that’s all the description necessary. 😀 Go ahead and ask if I left anything out.