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Table E.1.03. Year of education reforms as reported in International Review of Curriculum and Assessment Frameworks Internet Archive (INCA), by reforms and country: 2010

Country Length of compulsory education Promote pre-school education Primary curriculum Secondary curriculum Standardized national assessment Examinations
England1 1973, 2008 1998, 2006 1988, 95, 96, 97, 98, 2000 1988, 95, 96, 97, 2000, 02, 06, 08 1988, 96, 97, 2002, 04, 08 1988, 2000, 08
Ireland2 1937, 98, 2000 1994, 99, 2009 1971, 99 1989, 94, 95 1989, 99, 2007 1989, 95
Northern Ireland3 1973, 89 1998 2004, 06 2006 1989, 96, 98, 2006 1989, 98, 2000, 02, 04, 05, 2006, 08
Scotland4 1947, 80 1947, 68 1989, 2000, 04 1977, 87, 99, 2000, 04 1991, 2003, 04, 05 1980, 1992, 99, 2002, 04, 05
Wales5 1973 1998, 2001, 08 1988, 95, 96, 97, 2000, 01, 03, 08 1988, 95, 96, 97, 2000, 01, 03, 04, 08 1988, 96, 97, 99, 2001, 04, 06 1988, 96, 97, 2000, 01, 07, 08
             
France6 1936, 59 1989 1991, 95, 2002, 05, 06, 08 1995, 99, 2001, 05, 06, 09, 10 1985, 89 1985, 87, 99, 2001, 05
Germany7 1993, 96 1994 1993, 96 2002 1971, 94, 97, 99, 2005
Hungary8 1993, 96 1993, 95, 99 1993, 95, 99, 2000 1993, 95, 96, 99, 2004 1993, 96, 2002
Italy9 1999, 2006 1968, 91 1985, 91, 2004, 07 1979, 2001, 04, 07 1977, 96, 97, 2007 1979, 92, 97, 2004
Netherlands10 1981 1981 1993, 95, 98, 2003, 06 1993, 98, 99, 2003, 06 2006 1998, 99
             
Spain 1990 1990, 2006 1990, 2006 1990, 92, 93, 2006 1990, 2006 1990, 2006
Sweden11 1985 1991, 98 1965, 94, 98 1965, 94, 98, 2000 1995, 2000, 09 1969, 95, 2000
Switzerland12 1970 1968, 94, 2002 1968, 94
Australia13 1991 1991 1991, 97, 2008
Canada14 1989, 2003, 07
             
Japan15 1947, 2006 1947, 2006 1989, 98 1989, 98 1964, 2007 1994
Korea16 1949, 97 1969, 82, 99, 2007 1992, 97, 2007 1992, 97, 2007 1987, 95, 99, 2000 1974, 91, 95, 97, 98
New Zealand17 1993 1989, 96, 2002 1991, 93, 2007 1991, 93, 2007 1995, 97 2002, 07
Singapore18 2000 2000 1997, 2001, 08 1997, 2001, 02 1997, 2001 2002, 03
South Africa19 1996 2002 1998, 2002 1998, 2002 1998, 2005 1995, 2001, 08
             
USA20 1969, 2002
— Not available.
† Not applicable.
1 The Education and Skills Act 2008 introduced a requirement for all young people to participate in (at least part-time) education and training until their 18th birthday. The first cohort to be affected by the changes began secondary education (Year 7, age 11) in September 2008. The minimum age at which young people can leave learning will be raised in two stages – to 17 from 2013 and to 18 from 2015. In 2006, the weekly free entitlement of 12.5 hours of early education and childcare for 3- and 4-year-olds was extended from 33 weeks per year to .38 weeks. By 2010, all 3- and 4-year-olds will be entitled to 15 hours of free early education and childcare provision. A review of the primary curriculum was underway in 2008/09. In September 2008, a new secondary curriculum came into force and 14- to 19-year-olds began to have access to a range of new specialized diplomas. Also in that month, revised General Certificate of Education (GCE) A Levels began to be introduced.
2 The Education (Welfare) Act of 2000 raised the school leaving age from 15 to 16 or the completion of three full years of second level education. This was implemented in the 2002/03 school year. A White Paper on early childhood education 'Ready to Learn' was published in 1999 and a consultative document "Towards a Framework for Early Learning" was published in 2004. Based on this, the framework for early learning (Aistear) was launched in 2009. In 2007, all children at the end of Year 1 or the beginning of Year 2, and at the end of Year 4 or the beginning of Year 5 of primary education began to take standardized tests in reading (English) and mathematics. Secondary education (junior and senior cycle, ages 12-17/18) is currently the subject of major reviews by the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment (NCCA). For the junior cycle (ages 12-15) a discussion paper outlining ideas for reform of all aspects of provision was released for consultation with all relevant stakeholders in April 2010. For the senior cycle, a similar discussion paper was released for consultation in 2009.
3 Under the Education (Northern Ireland) Order 2006, revised statutory curriculum and assessment arrangements for primary and secondary education have been implemented gradually since September 2007. Revised GCE A Levels also began to be introduced in September 2008.
4 The Social Work (Scotland) Act 1968 empowered local authority social work departments to set up day nurseries to care for children across the whole pre-school age group and to provide pre-school education for the older child. A new curriculum for 3- to 18-year-olds was proposed in the 2004 document "A Curriculum for Excellence". Schools began to adopt the new curriculum from August 2009.
5 A new 'foundation phase' of education for three- to seven-year-olds began to be introduced in September 2008. At that time, a revised curriculum for 3- to- 19-year-olds also began to be introduced. Changes to the national assessment system in Wales mean that statutory assessment at the end of key stages 1, 2 and 3 (ages 7, 11 and 14 respectively) is by teacher assessment only. Following a successful pilot, the Welsh Baccalaureate (16+) qualification was also introduced has been being introduced in a staged rollout from September 2007. Revised GCE A Levels were introduced in September 2008.
6 Compulsory schooling was extended to 14 in 1936 and 16 in 1959. Following extensive revisions, and the development of the 'socle commun' (the common basis of knowledge and skills), a new primary program of study began to be introduced from the beginning of the 2008 school year. Similar new programs of study were introduced to lower secondary education at the start of the 2009 school year. Phased introduction of the new upper secondary curriculum started in August 2010.
7 National tests to assess performance against common standards in primary and lower secondary education are being introduced gradually. The results of the first standardized tests were published in 2010. The process began in the 2004/05 school year, based on an agreement of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Culture of the 16 German Lšnder first signed in 2002.
8 The school leaving age was raised to 16, as a result of 1993 legislation, and to 18 in 1996.
9 Legislation makes provision for compulsory education to last 10 years, from age 6 to 16. This was scheduled to come into effect from the 2009/10 academic year. In 2004, the "primo ciclo" (first cycle of education), consisting of five years of primary education and three years of lower secondary) was introduced. Schools are currently required to apply the 2007 Guidelines for the Curriculum, whilst bearing in mind some aspects of the 2004 guidelines. Reform of the upper secondary curriculum is also imminent.
10 The Primary Education Act 1981, which lowered the starting age of compulsory education from 6 to 5 years, abolished separate nursery schools and brought provision for 4- and 5-year-olds into primary education, came into effect in 1985.
11 Compulsory education normally begins at age 7 and lasts nine years. However, since 1991, 6-year-olds have been able to enroll in Year 1 of compulsory education if places are available. Since 1998 it has also been possible to postpone a child's entry to Year 1 of compulsory education until the age of 8. National tests for children in Year 3 (aged 9-10) were introduced in the spring term of 2009. The Ministry of Education and Research plans to introduce new syllabuses in all subjects in compulsory education in the 2011/12 school year along with a new grading scale at all levels of compulsory and upper secondary education (ages 7 to 19).
12 A national agreement on the objectives and content of education, including the introduction of curricular standards during compulsory education, is in the process of deliberation and ratification by the cantons.
13 Education is the responsibility of individual States and Territories. There is collaboration through the Ministerial Council on Education, Employment and Training and Youth Affairs (MCEETYA). In May 2008, students in Years 3, 5, 7, and 9 (ages 8/9, 10/11, 12/13 and 14/15 respectively) took the first (NAPLAN) national tests in literacy and numeracy. NAPLAN is the National Assessment Program in Literacy and Numeracy. The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority has been charged with developing a national curriculum to be introduced in 2011. Aligned to this will be a national assessment and reporting program.
14 Provinces and territories control education; there is some national influence through the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC) which is responsible for national-level communication. The CMEC-developed national School Achievement Indicators Program (SAIP) (standardized lower secondary tests) has been replaced by the Pan-Canadian Assessment program (PCAP). The first PCAP tests in reading, mathematics and science took place in spring 2007.
15 In 2006, the Fundamental Law of Education was revised for the first time in 60 years. Following a review in 1998, revised courses of study were introduced at primary and lower secondary level in 2002. In 2009, these were reviewed again. As result, the Education Ministry plans to fully implement new curriculum guidelines in elementary schools (6- to 12-year-olds) in the 2011 school year, in junior high schools (12- to 15-year-olds) in 2012, and in high schools (15- to 18-year-olds) in 2013. In March 2010, the Japanese Government also passed legislation to abolish tuition fees for public high schools (students aged 15 to 18+). New national standardized tests in Japanese and mathematics took place for all pupils in Year 6 (ages 11 to 12) and Year 9 (ages 14 to 15) in April 2007.
16 The curriculum was revised in 2007.
17 A new curriculum was released in November 2007 and was introduced in schools between 2007 and 2010. The National Education Monitoring Project, an assessment program, for small samples of primary age children and children at the primary-secondary transition stage, began in 1995. Voluntary assessment on school entry was initiated nationally in 1997. A National Assessment Strategy (for compulsory education) was introduced in 1999. A modular/cumulative National Certificate of Educational Achievement (NCEA) (15+) began to be introduced in 2002/3 although it was launched initially in 1998. National standards were introduced in 2010, which set out descriptions of what students should know and be able to do in reading, writing and mathematics at different points in their schooling from Years 1 to 8 (aged 5 to 13).
18 Following legislation passed in 2000, six years of primary education became compulsory for children starting primary school in the 2003/4 school year. A new pre-school curriculum framework, drawn up in 2000, was launched in January 2003. Following a review of upper secondary education in 2002, a revised curriculum and more flexible educational pathways began to be introduced in junior colleges (ages 16 to 18) from 2006. In 2008, the Ministry of Education conducted a review of primary education; changes arising from this review are in the process of implementation.
19 Following a review of the implementation of the National Curriculum Statements (NCS) in 2009, a revised curriculum for all learners will begin to be introduced in 2011.
20 The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has been assessing students' knowledge nationally in reading, writing, mathematics, science and other subjects since its introduction in 1969. President Bush's 2002 national education reform strategy - 'No Child Left Behind' (NCLB) - signed into law statutory testing in reading, mathematics and science throughout the USA. Work is underway on the Obama Administration's reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) which focuses on preparing students for college and the workplace.
NOTE: Table provides an overview of the timing of the introduction and review of legislation and key initiatives in six key areas. Dates in bold indicate the current key legislation or initiative. Dates in a normal font imply that the major legislation has been amended without changing the major direction of the legislation/initiative. Dates included in the table only cover legislation/initiatives which are already in force. Pending legislation or initiatives awaiting implementation are covered in footnotes. For those countries with devolved structures (Australia, Canada, Germany, South Africa, Switzerland, and the USA) it is not always possible to provide "national" data. Readers should therefore recognize that the data may refer to specific states or provinces, as examples, and cannot necessarily be taken to reflect a national position.
SOURCE: O'Donnell, S., Sargent, C., Byrne, A., and White, E. (2010). International Review of Curriculum and Assessment Frameworks Internet Archive Comparative Tables. Table 4. International Review of Curriculum and Assessment Frameworks Internet Archive.
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National Center for Education Statistics - http://nces.ed.gov
U.S. Department of Education