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Table E.1.08. Access to educational phases as reported in International Review of Curriculum and Assessment Frameworks Internet Archive (INCA), by type of education and country: 2010

Country Primary Lower secondary Upper secondary Higher education
England open open cert select
Ireland1 open open open select
Northern Ireland2 open open/cert cert select
Scotland open open cert select
Wales open open cert select
France 3 open open open open
Germany4 open cert cert open
Hungary5 cert cert cert select
Italy5 open open cert, age 14 open
Netherlands open cert cert open
Spain open open cert, age 16 select
Sweden7 open cert, age 15/16 select
Switzerland8 open cert cert open
Australia open open open select
Canada open open cert select
Japan9 open open cert, age 15 select
Korea 10 open open cert, age 15 select
New Zealand open open open select
Singapore open cert cert select
South Africa11 open open cert, age 15 select
USA open open open select
† Not applicable.
1 Although admission to higher education is 'open' students need high scores in the Leaving Certificate examinations to access places on the most sought after programs.
2 There has, until recently, been a selective system of secondary education, with children taking tests in the final year of primary education to determine selection for the post-primary phase. However the last transfer tests were taken in autumn 2008 for entry in September 2009. For 2010 entry, the Government provided a menu of recommended criteria that schools could choose to use and schools had to have regard to these. Schools are recommended not to use academic criteria but are not precluded from doing so.
3 The first year of upper secondary education is the final year of compulsory education, students therefore progress automatically.
4 In cases where children, aged 6, are not thought ready to enter primary education, they may be obliged to spend some time in special preparatory classes.
5 A certificate confirming a child's attendance in kindergarten education is a pre-requisite for entry to compulsory education.
6 Until the 2004/05 academic year, students took the primary school leaving examination at age 11. This was required for entry to lower secondary education. The examination has been discontinued as primary and lower secondary now form 'sub-divisions' of the first cycle of education in Italy.
7 Primary and lower secondary compulsory phase education is provided in one 'all-through' school (grundskola).
8 As in many countries, there are additional higher education entry requirements in certain subject areas, such as medical science, where there is a shortage of places for students.
9 Students receive an elementary school leaving certificate, but progress automatically from their local elementary school to their local junior high school (at age 12).
10 Graduates of middle schools or the equivalent may enter high schools. Admission into high school used to be based on the grades of a selection examination, but there is increasing variance in the admissions process.
11 Access to post-compulsory education (age 15+) is dependent on successful completion of lower secondary education and achievement of the General Education Training (GET) certificate.
NOTE: This table indicates whether access to educational phases: is automatic (open) or subject to performance in school leaving certificates or other evidence of performance (cert). In the case of higher education, this indicates whether holders of relevant upper secondary school certificates (e.g. Baccalauréat in France, Abitur in Germany, Preparatory Scientific Education (VWO) in the Netherlands) have automatic right of access to higher education (open) or whether they have to meet additional selection criteria operated by higher education institutions (select). 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 6.2. International Review of Curriculum and Assessment Frameworks Internet Archive.