Education standards and competences
The Austrian concept of education standards puts one focus on the acquisition of basic subject-specific competences as a prerequisite for sustainable and lifelong learning. When planning and conducting classroom instruction, teachers have to consider the systematic development of competences and the education standards related to these competences, which can be deduced from the curriculum of the respective school type.
Since the school year 2021/22, the assessment of educational standards has been conducted annually as part of the Individual Competency Measurement PLUS (iKMPLUS). Teachers receive comprehensive tools with iKMPLUS, which enable standardized visibility of competencies starting from the 3rd grade. Due to the rapid feedback provided within the same school year, teachers can immediately make pedagogical use of the results. The assessment conducted in two consecutive school years allows for the observation of learning progress between the two assessment points (from the 3rd to the 4th grade).
Performance appraisals form the basis for pupil assessments. These assessments should be evenly distributed over the assessment period, helping pupils evaluate their own performance based on objective criteria without discouragement or damage to their self-esteem. The appraisals and assessments are made by the teachers. There are no assessments for the pre-school stage; here the respective end-of-year report only confirms the pupil’s attendance.
The following forms of performance appraisal can be used in primary school:
- classroom participation of the pupils
- written tests (including informal tests and dictation)
- written exams (starting from the fourth grade)
- practical performance appraisals.
Pupil assessment based on marks
The following assessment grades (marks) are used for assessing the pupils’ performance:
- very good (sehr gut) (1)
- good (gut) (2)
- satisfactory (befriedigend) (3)
- passed (genügend) (4)
- fail (nicht genügend) (5)
When assessing the performance of pupils admitted as non-regular pupils due to insufficient command of the language of instruction, their language difficulties must be considered.
A pupil’s behaviour at school is not relevant for the performance appraisal.
The marks given in the end-of-year report constitute an abridged opinion of the performance of the individual pupils. At the end of the first semester, a half-year report is issued. At the end of the school year, pupils receive an end-of-year report, grading a pupil’s entire performance over the respective school year for each every subject, with greater emphasis on the performance achieved towards the end of the year.
Progression of pupils
Primary schools generally grade both with marks and verbally. Starting from the end of the second school year, it is obligatory to award numerical marks, but in addition there is verbal evaluation too.
Regular discussions take place between class teacher, legal guardian and pupil to discuss the level of performance and any support measures.
Students in the 1st and 2nd grade are entitled to move up to the next grade. However, if the annual report for the 2nd grade contains the mark "not sufficient" in two or more compulsory subjects, the student can only move up to the 3rd grade with the agreement of the school conference.
For the 3rd grade, progression is possible if the annual report contains no more than one "not sufficient" in a compulsory subject, the same compulsory subject was not assessed as "not sufficient" in the previous year's report and the class conference agrees to progression.
However it is possible to repeat a grade voluntarily or skip a year where this is deemed beneficial.
Pupils with special educational needs who attend primary school are entitled to move up to the next higher year if it enhances their overall development possibilities.
Completion of primary school education marks the end of common schooling for all pupils in Austria.
Following successful completion of the fourth grade of primary school, children can attend compulsory secondary school without taking an entrance examination. An aptitude test is only required for certain special forms of compulsory secondary school (such as those focusing on sports).
For admission to AHS (academic secondary school) pupils must have successfully completed the fourth grade of primary school and have received marks of “very good” or “good” in the subjects of German and Mathematics. Pupils who have received the mark “satisfactory” in one of those subjects need to pass an entrance examination unless the school conference of the respective primary school determines that they are likely to handle the demands of academic secondary school despite the mark “satisfactory”.
Towards the end of the first or at the beginning of the second semester of the fourth grade, parents or legal guardians are informed by the class teacher about the recommended educational pathway based on the interests and performance of the pupil.