Senior Secondary Education
The variety of educational programs, tracks, and opportunities available to students increases at the senior secondary level. The largest single student group attends the senior level of the Gymnasium , the Gymnasiale Oberstufe . This level includes the traditional academically oriented Gymnasium , the vocational Gymnasium , the occupation-specific Fachgymnasium , and the Gesamtschule . Graduation from these schools requires passing the Abitur , the qualifying examination for studying at the university level. Until the late 1970s, nearly everyone who passed the Abitur had access to an institution of higher education. However, in the 1980s the numerus clausus , a restrictive quota system that had been introduced for the study of medicine in the late 1960s, began to be used for other popular fields of study. Strict selection criteria limiting access to higher education had become necessary because the demand for places at universities had become much greater than the supply.
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