During this period, a large proportion of final-year VSO students take the oral college exams, a final hurdle towards the secondary education diploma or partial certificate.
During this period, a large proportion of final-year VSO students take the oral college exams, a final hurdle towards the secondary education diploma or partial certificate.

Picture: Type tank

AOb-petition 'small class' part of the state exam

The petition of the AOb the call for smaller classes resulted in the vmbo state exam in social studies this year. Many VSO students are taking their oral exams these weeks to obtain their secondary education diploma or partial certificate.

Case 2 vmbo tl-g, page 13: 'Make classes smaller in the fight against teacher shortage'. Between topics such as the donor registry and sexist toys, the petition of the AOb where a journalist from the Algemeen Dagblad made a report in the newspaper. All pre-vocational secondary education students who take an oral social studies exam will know the case. It is one of the five cases that they have to prepare and about which examiners can ask questions during their important oral exam these weeks.


"I received an app from a teacher from the PC Hooftcollege in Leiderdorp", says teacher and AOb- Chief Executive Officer Kim van Strien. The petition was also brought to the attention of her at the time. “I hadn't seen it yet, but I think it's a life goal, this is just really cool. That colleague immediately asked if I could give a lesson to prepare her VSO students for the oral exam and to tell more about the petition.”

'I find a AOb-petition in the state exam a life goal, this is just really cool

At the end of June, Van Strien explained to the students why small classes are important and what the role of the union is. “The disciples said: Why small classes? We are in the class with four students. I then talked about solidarity and explained what that means.” Van Strien also explained how it works to start a petition. “I told you that, for example, you go to the politicians in The Hague to present the petition and that you want as much attention for your subject via social media as possible and that it should end up in the election programs of political parties. This lesson gave them more background information.”

College Exam vs. school exam

For the VSO students from Leiderdorp, the oral state exam in social studies is on the agenda today, 15 July. The oral part of each subject is the most important part of their college exam, which can also consist of a practical or written exam. Examiners are taking oral exams throughout the Netherlands these weeks.

The PC High School in Leiderdorp

The college exam in VSO is actually what the school exams are in regular education. Pupils from private schools and from many VSO schools take the state exam. For example, they can pass all subjects for their secondary education diploma in two years. Just like pupils in regular education, they take the central written final exam at the same time, but that is not the 'end point' for these state exam candidates.

Because these students do not take school exams, they take the college exam after the central exams. If VSO students pass the college exam, they receive their secondary education diploma or their partial certificate.*Check it out for a peek Twitter account NL_Leraar this week in which Saskia van Leer tells more about her VSO students who are taking the state exam.   Most VSO schools, about 65 percent, have their students take a state exam. They have designed their education accordingly, according to the website of the state exams. They do it this way, because they don't have an exam license themselves. VSO falls under primary education. Many secondary school teachers applied in 'large numbers' to take the oral exams, according to the CvtE start of July.

Equality of opportunity

Last year, about five thousand VSO students took the state exam, Pieter Hendrikse, chairman of the Board for Tests and Exams (CvtE) wrote in a blog. According to him, the number of exam candidates from this education sector has doubled in the past ten years and the end of the growth is not yet in sight.

'Why should acquiring a good basic qualification be reserved for young people in regular education?'

'It is increasingly a popular and very justified route for all those pupils in VSO, who also want to obtain a real secondary education diploma,' says Hendrikse. 'From the point of view of equality of opportunity, this is a very desirable development. After all, why should acquiring a good basic qualification be reserved for young people in regular education?'

From vso to gvo

In the meantime, among other things, within the AOb a group of teachers to integrate VSO into secondary education. From the same perspective of equality of opportunity, says teacher Michel Verschuren: “One of the reasons for making VSO specialized secondary education (GVO) is the exam licence. The college exam, which replaces the school exam, is often aggravating for our students. For example, because strange people are examining, something that does not occur in regular secondary education. Moreover, everything depends on one oral.”

Today it is the turn of the students from Leiderdorp for social studies. teacher and AOb-chief administrator Van Strien then returns to the school at the teacher's invitation. “I'm there before their exam starts, so I can see how it works. It's different from my own high school. I hope I was able to help them prepare for their social studies exam.”

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