Newsflash Austria – changes in the making

Apart from the scandal about the data that have leaked onto a Romanian server concerning the test results of thousands of Austrian students the following issues are heavily discussed by Austrian secondary school

Some profound changes are coming up in the Austrian school system: a common centrally issued school leaving exam (high-school diploma) - as most countries have had it for years - in general education at the end of grade 12 will be introduced in 2014/15 and is coming up for VET section at grade 13 in 2015/16.
This exam aims at more comparability of exams between different schools and should also produce more „objective“ results. It will be based on „competences“ instead of knowledge but the terms of correcting the
exams have been changed various times. Furthermore in maths there are very few exercises for training available on the website of the institution organizing the test and the school books haven’t all been adapted yet.
Moreover parents fear that the general level will be lowered to make up for the difference between schools having high standards and difficult exams now and the ones which haven’t.
Grade 10 – 13 (High school) of the general education system will be transformed into modules, each lasting for one semester contrary to the year-based grading which used to be practised in Austria up to now.
This causes strange situations as pupils have to make up for negative modules before taking the final school leaving exam at the end of grade 12.
Further discussion deals with the topic of a common middle school for grade 5 – 9 or 10 for pupils between 10 and 14 years of age. Strongly favored by certain political powers it is seen as an expensive model not keeping its promise by others including the Austrian Court of Audit which has evaluated the already existing schools.
Topics which concern all parents in Austria include the use of digital items at school and at home, prevention of (cyber-)bullying and cyber-grooming as well as how to avoid physical violence and drug abuse.
Arja Krauchenberg
member of the Board

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