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 carrying out classroom instruction, teachers have to take into consideration the systematic development of competences and the education standards which relate to these competences and can be deduced from the curriculum of the respective school type.
In the interest of quality development standard examinations are carried out in the form of tests and surveys in the fourth grade. This aims to determine the level of competences actually achieved by pupils in the different schools.
Performance appraisals are the basis for any pupil assessment. These must be spread as evenly as possible over the assessment period; they should help the pupils assess their own performance based on objective criteria without discouraging them or impairing 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 contains only a note confirming 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 (from the fourth grade onwards)
- 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 who have been admitted as non-regular pupils due to insufficient command of the language of instruction, their language difficulties must be taken into account.
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. In the first grade, this report contains only an overall mark or an overall mark with verbal additions. In the following grades, the half-year report contains marks for the individual subjects. At the end of the school year, pupils are issued an end-of-year report. In this end-of-year report, a pupil’s entire performance over the course of the respective school year is graded with a mark for every subject, with most weight given to the performance level achieved towards the end of the year.
Progression of pupils
Primary schools generally grade both with marks and verbally. 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. The aim is to discuss the level of performance and any support measures together.
Students of the 1st and 2nd grade are entitled to move up to the next grade. However, if the annual report at the 2nd grade contains the mark "Not sufficient" in two or more compulsory subjects, the student is only entitled to move up to the 3rd grade with the agreement of the school conference.
At the 3rd grade, advancement is possible if the annual report does not contain more than one "Not sufficient" in a compulsory subject, if the same compulsory subject has not already been assessed as "Not sufficient" in the previous year's report and if the class conference agrees to advancement.
However it is possible to repeat a grade voluntarily or skip a year where this is deemed useful.
Pupils with special educational needs who attend primary school are entitled to move up to the next higher year if this improves their possibilities of development overall.
The end of primary school education ends 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 foreseen for certain special forms of compulsory secondary school (such as for the compulsory secondary school with a focus on sport).
For admission to AHS (academic secondary school), in addition to their successful completion of the fourth grade of primary school, pupils must have been marked with “very good” or “good” in the subjects German, Reading and Mathematics. Pupils who have received the mark “satisfactory” in one subject need to take an entrance examination unless the school conference of the respective primary school finds that they will, in all probability, be able to cope with the demands of academic secondary school despite this mark “satisfactory”.
Towards the end of the first or at the beginning of the second semester of the fourth grade, the parents or legal guardians are informed by the class teacher about which educational pathway is recommended based on the interests and performance of the respective pupil.
In the school year 2018/19, 59,8 percent of primary school leavers transferred to a compulsory secondary school, 37,8 percent to the first grade of an academic secondary school. The remaining 2,4 percent repeated the fourth grade, transferred to a special needs school or a school with a foreign curriculum, or left Austria.