Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Education in Apple Valley, Part 2

What and Why
I decided to do a series on how education in Apple Valley works, especially with the forthcoming changes. We will explore education from elementary school to obtaining an advanced degree. I wanted to move away from excessive skilling in my game and focus more on character development. This serves two purposes, one, it allows me to hone in on each sim's individual personality and preferences, two, it prevents excessive success. Right now, most sims are able to obtain a level 7 job without any trouble aside from making friends. This leaves very little room for variety in the game and most sims are financially well off. To ensure that I stay focused on this, I have now decided to try and do away with most toddler skills-instead focusing on teaching them how to walk, talk, etc.

The primary ways of educating the sims in all levels of education are skills, hobbies and interests. I often refer to skills as scores on "skill exams" (the number of skill points they have in a certain skill) or "core skill evaluation"-CSE (the number of total skills they have). Hobbies and interests will also be referred to in a similar manner. Now that the background is out of the way, let's move on.

Secondary School

Today, we're discussing secondary school. All secondary students, grades 6-12 (ages 12-18), attend Apple Valley Academy and are taught by Jesse Kent.

The goal of secondary school is that each student graduates with at least a score of thirteen on their CSE (fifteen for honor students) , have an increase of 3 points on their CIE (core interest exam) and have an increase of 3 points on their CHE (Core Hobby Exam). Secondary school is the place where students will continue to explore their hobby and begin to focus on their post-secondary plans.

The typical day for an secondary school student is upon entering the school, their current score on the CSE is checked. If they are lacking any points, they are directed to skill or listen to a lecture on a skill. In cases where the skill can be combined with hobby exploration, then the student is directed to explore their hobby. This is done such that the student can increase their CSE and CHE scores at the same time. Students also spend their school days earning additional interest points in their top interest via reading magazines or sharing interests with other sims.

Since most secondary school students are beginning to think about post-secondary plans, the secondary school dismisses early so that students can hold part-time jobs or internships. In addition to focusing on relationships and building hobby interests, secondary school students continue to expand their extracurricular activities.

When students enter their senior year, they are responsible for a senior project, in addition to individual class projects. Students can chose from the following projects:

  • Science and the Natural World=Collect a 15 insect specimen
  • Art =Bring in 3 photographs displaying the theme of "Apple Valley's Best..."
  • Music & Dance =Perform a 15 minute solo recital
  • Home Economics=Participate in three regional cooking contests
  • Simmish & History=Write a three page paper on Monique's Computer and prepare a 15 minute speech on life in the old dimension
  • Simmish Literature=Read and discuss three books with teacher.

The projects must be completed prior to graduation. In addition to the senior project, students can receive assistance in making their post-secondary plans whether it be attending university locally or aboard, or entering the workforce.

In summary,

Secondary School
-13+ CSE on graduation/15 CSE honors
-CHE 3+
-CIE 3+
-Senior projects


  1. I'm really enjoying your series on education, it's been very interesting seeing how you do things.

    I've always loved your idea of senior projects. That's a clever way to add just one more challenge to a playable school.

  2. -Carla, thanks. Sometimes I document the projects for the blog, other times I don't, but a lot of my students don't like the senior projects-hey at least they get a choice.

  3. You have really thought this out. Have you thought about what the senior projects will entail? Will they have to do work in the community? This is very interesting and I cannot wait to read more of how this is working for you.

  4. -Demonde Luke, the senior projects are actually quite simple. The Science project remains at the house or the sims inventory, while the Art project can be displayed in the community center-if it has merit, etc. I'm not sure if that answered your question.


Thanks for reading and commenting!


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