What are educational standards

In October 1997 the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs decided to have the German school system compared internationally within the framework of scientific studies (Konstanz decision). The aim is to obtain reliable findings on the strengths and weaknesses of the students in the central areas of competence. The results of TIMSS, PISA and IGLU have made it clear that the priority input control in Germany alone does not lead to the desired results in the education system. The definition and review of the expected performance must be added. In addition, the results of Scandinavian and some Anglo-American countries show that countries in which the results are systematically accounted for - whether through regular school performance studies, central exams or a dense network of school evaluations - achieve higher overall results. The development and assurance of quality, external and internal evaluation require clear standards. That is why the Standing Conference has placed a special focus of its work on the development and introduction of nationwide applicable educational standards.

Nationwide applicable educational standards

There are currently national educational standards that were adopted by the Conference of Ministers of Education in 2003, 2004, 2012 and 2020

  • for the primary level (grade 4) for the subjects German and mathematics,
  • for the secondary school leaving certificate (grade 9) for the subjects German, mathematics and first foreign language (English / French),
  • for the secondary school leaving certificate (grade 10) for the subjects German, mathematics, first foreign language (English / French), biology, chemistry and physics,
  • for the general university entrance qualification for the subjects German, mathematics and the continued foreign language (English / French),
  • for the general university entrance qualification for the natural sciences (biology, chemistry and physics).

This means that the quality development in the schools of all countries in the Federal Republic of Germany can be based on a jointly agreed standard degree-related educational standards be aligned.

The educational standards have both a review and a development function.

With their verification function, educational standards offer the possibility of using suitable test procedures to examine the extent to which the competencies specified in the educational standards are achieved by the students. More about checking that the educational standards have been achieved.

The educational standards can only develop their effect if they find their way into everyday practice in schools. In order to strengthen the development function of the educational standards, the Standing Conference has agreed on a concept for the use of the educational standards for teaching development.

Detailed background information on the educational standards, their conception and considerations on their implementation can be found in the argumentation paper on educational standards of the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs from December 16, 2004.

The educational standards are available to Downloadready and can directly at the publishing company be ordered.

Competence level models for the educational standards

By standardizing and reviewing the educational standards, the requirements specified therein can be systematically presented in gradations. The determination of empirically validated competence level models makes it possible to determine for everyone (teachers, learners and parents) to what extent the set standards are being achieved, i.e. how large are the proportion of students who achieve or fail to meet the standards. The representative competence measurement based on the educational standards provides a benchmark for individual student performance.

The existing competence level models for the educational standards were developed by the IQB.

Review and implementation of educational standards

For primary level and lower secondary level, the comparative studies carried out by the Institute for Quality Development in Education (IQB) examine the extent to which the competency requirements formulated in the educational standards are achieved in the individual countries before the respective educational stage has been completed. For more information, see the Country Comparisons section.

In order to effectively implement the educational standards for the general higher education entrance qualification, the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs decided to develop and use a joint pool of Abitur examination tasks. Details can be found in the section Implementing the educational standards for the Allgemeine Hochschulreife.

Documents and useful links:

Educational standards online

All of the existing national educational standards are available for download below.