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Table E.3.01. National standardized assessment system as reported in International Review of Curriculum and Assessment Frameworks Internet Archive (INCA), by system and country: 2010

Country National standardized assessment system Cohort or sample At school entry During compulsory primary education During compulsory secondary education
England1 yes cohort 5 7, 8, 9, 10, 11 14
Ireland2 yes cohort no 7, 10
Northern Ireland3 yes cohort no 4-11 11-14
Scotland4 yes sample varies 8/9, 11/12 13/14
Wales5 yes cohort 4/5 7, 11 14
France6 yes sample no 7/8, 10/11 14/15
Germany7 yes sample 6 no 14/15
Hungary8 yes cohort 6 9/10 12/14/16
Italy9 yes sample no 7/8, 10/11 11/12, 13/14
Netherlands10 yes cohort no 12 for most 14/15
Spain11 yes sample/cohort no 10 14
Sweden12 yes cohort no 9 12, 14, 16
Switzerland13 no no no no
Australia14 yes cohort no 8/9, 10/11 12/13, 14/15
Canada15 yes varies no varies varies
Japan16 yes sample no 12 15
Korea17 yes sample no 12 15, 16
New Zealand18 yes sample 5/6 8/9 12/13
Singapore19 yes cohort no 10, 12
South Africa20 yes cohort no 8/9, 11/12 14-15
USA21 yes varies varies varies varies
— Not available.
† Not applicable.
1 Children must attend school from the beginning of the term following their fifth birthday; most receive some form of early years education prior to this date in the pre-compulsory Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) (0- to 5-year-olds). At the end of the EYFS, the 'Early Years Foundation Stage Profile' – practitioners' observations of children's achievements across six areas of learning – sums up each child's development and learning achievements. Statutory assessment at ages 7, 11 and 14 involves teacher assessment and/or externally set national tests.
2 Standarized tests were introduced in primary education during the 2007 calendar year. Schools are free to decide when children should take the tests – either at the end of Year 1 or at the start of Year 2 (aged 7), and at age the end of Year 4 or the beginning of Year 5 (aged 10).
3 Statutory assessment arrangements for children at the end of key stages 1-3 (aged 4-14) have recently been replaced by annual teacher assessment.
4 The Scottish Survey of Achievement (SSA) is the national sampling program of assessment to monitor standards in English, mathematics, science and certain other subjects.
5 There is statutory teacher assessment at the end of Key Stage 1 (children aged 7), Key Stage 2 (age 11) and at the end of Key Stage 3, age 14.
6 A nursery school "record of achievement" is kept and passed on to a child's first compulsory level school. Student achievement in French and mathematics against the new programs of study (introduced in 2008) is assessed twice during primary education.
7 There is a national, standardized marking system across all Lšnder and for all levels of schooling, and an agreement on recognition/standardization of the Abitur (upper secondary leaving certificate/higher education access certificate). Common standards for lower secondary examinations in a range of subjects have begun to be introduced. Plans are also in place to introduce standards in primary education. National tests to assess performance against the standards take place. The first national standardized language tests for year 9 (students aged 14/15) took place in 2009. Further assessments are planned for 2011 (primary level) and 2012 (secondary level). Children are evaluated, usually by the school doctor, to judge their maturity/readiness for school. In some cases, alternative provision is recommended.
8 Centralised tests, the National Assessment of Basic Competencies (NABC), comprising tests in mathematics and reading/literacy are taken by students in Grades 4, 6, 8 and 10 (aged 10, 12, 14, and 16 respectively).
9 Until the 2004/05 academic year, students took the primary school leaving examination at age 11 which was required to gain access to lower secondary school. This has now been discontinued as primary and secondary education form 'sub-divisions' of the first cycle of education in Italy. INVALSI, the National Institute for the Evaluation of the Education and Training System, has developed new standardized tests to assess students' skills and knowledge at specific points in the education system. The tests, in Italian, mathematics and science, which began to be formally introduced in the 2007/08 school year, are administered to a sample of schools and to students in Years 2 and 5 of primary education (aged 7/8 and10/11 respectively); in Years 1 and 3 of lower secondary education (ages 11/12 and 13/14); and in Years 2 and 5 of post-compulsory upper secondary education (aged 15/16 and 18/19).
10 Tests are supplied by the National Institute of Educational Measurement (CITO) to evaluate whether students have achieved the attainment targets of the compulsory core curriculum for lower secondary education. These tests may be taken after two years of the course (age 14) or at the end of the three-year period of lower secondary education, age 15. CITO also produces the national tests taken at the end of primary education (age 12). Although not compulsory, these are used by the majority of primary schools.
11 The first national diagnostic tests covered the four basic skills (literacy, numeracy, knowledge of the physical world and social and civic competence) by a sample of students in year 4 (aged 10). It is planned to introduce a similar diagnostic test for students in second year of upper secondary education (aged 13/14). Prior to these tests, there were national sample surveys of student attainment at age 12 and 16. In addition, all of the Autonomous Communities must carry out their own annual diagnostic evaluation which evaluates the basic skills achieved by pupils at the end of the second cycle of primary education (age 10) and the second grade of compulsory education (age 14). These tests are taken by the full cohort.
12 National tests for children in Year 3 (aged 9/10) were introduced in Spring 2009.
13 Although there is no system of standardized national assessment in Switzerland, new national standards in a range of subjects are under development.
14 In Victoria, school entry assessment is compulsory. In May 2008, the first national tests in literacy and numeracy were taken by students in Years 3, 5, 7 and 9 (ages 8/9, 10/11, 12/13, and 14/15) as part of the National Assessment Program – Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN). The national curriculum, to be introduced from 2011, will have aligned assessment and reporting arrangements.
15 There is periodic national assessment via the Pan-Canadian Assessment Program (PCAP) which is coordinated by the Council of Ministers of Education, Canada (CMEC). In addition, several provinces implement provincial testing/assessment programs for specific subjects (literacy and numeracy, in particular), and specific age groups, during primary and secondary education.
16 New national standardized tests were introduced for all 12- and 15-year-olds in April 2007. The tests which assess pupils in Japanese and mathematics take place in April. Following elections in August 2009, the Japanese Government scaled back these tests, selecting a sample of around 30 percent of students to take part. However, many schools voluntarily took part boosting the participation rate to just over 70 percent.
17 National assessment of educational achievement via scholastic achievement tests (SATs) for small samples of students in some year groups.
18 A sample in the National Educational Monitoring Project (NEMP) at ages 8/9 and 12/13. In addition, national standards, 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) were introduced in 2010.
19 Children take school-based examinations in English, the mother tongue, mathematics and science at the end of Primary 4(age 10). On the basis of their performance in these exams, they may go on to study these subjects at 'Standard' or 'Foundation' level (or 'Higher Level' in the case of the mother tongue). At age 12, the end of primary education, the school decides at which level to enter the child in each subject in the Primary School Leaving Examination (PSLE).
20 There is currently no formal policy on assessment during pre-school education. This is proposed, however, in a draft curriculum for children from birth to age 4/5. Systematic evaluation is conducted on a nationally representative sample of learners and learning sites. After each systematic evaluation, a 'national report card' is produced. Following a recent review, development of a new assessment system for the general education and training (GET) band is underway in 2010.
21 The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP), also known as "the Nation's Report Card," is a regularly administered, congressionally mandated assessment program, which assesses representative national samples of students attending public and private elementary (primary) schools, junior high (lower secondary) schools and high schools (upper secondary schools). The Obama Administration's blueprint for the renewal of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA) continues to require some form of state assessment. Such testing at the individual state level will involve the whole cohort.
NOTE: All systems feature ongoing teacher assessment, which sometimes determines student progression between classes. This is not shown in the tables. Figures indicate the ages at which standardized national assessment takes place. An additional column, indicating whether standardized assessment is full cohort assessment or by sample was added in November 2010. In the federal states, a 'yes' is only included where there is standardized national testing, for example, the Pan-Canadian Assessment Program (PCAP). See the notes for details of federal/state assessments. Bold figures indicate that assessments are compulsory or essential for admission to the next phase. 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 9.1. International Review of Curriculum and Assessment Frameworks Internet Archive.