The Development, Implementation and Evaluation of Science Education Standards in Germany
As a consequence of the unsatisfactory results in international comparative studies such as TIMSS and PISA, the ministers of education in the 16 states of the Federal Republic of Germany agreed on the introduction of common national educational standards to ensure quality in schools. The German Conference of the Ministers of Education (Kultusministerkonferenz, KMK) published standards for the science subjects biology, chemistry and physics for the end of lower secondary school (grade 10; students 15-16 years old) in 2004. These standards were to be concretized on state level and are mandatory in school since the school year 2005/06. The new standards have shifted the focus from input-to output-control of the school system- from syllabus to be taught to performance to be observed. They also introduced "competences" as the new paradigm for teaching and learning. In order to monitor the target achievement of the new output-orientation, the Institute for Educational Progress (IQB) was founded with the major task to develop, conduct and evaluate tests, which have since been attached to the regular PISA procedures. The German process of developing, implementing and evaluating standards for science education is presented and discussed in the context of similar developments in other countries.