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Innovations and developments - Switzerland

The great diversity and steady growth of services in SNE has promoted discussions and concern in many cantons, regarding:

  • strategies for coping with the social selectivity of the education system?
  • coping with increased numbers of pupils with SEN?
  • how to organise (and finance) flexible forms of integrative/inclusive education?
  • what kind of teacher training has to be established regarding assessment?

The development of the “Grundstufe” or “Basisstufe”, where children from 4 to 8 are taught in mixed-age groups, has led to the development of more integrative approaches to schooling and may help establish inclusive settings for older children as well. In central Switzerland, a conceptual change in the organisation of SNE is underway in co-ordination with the Cantons concerned (Abgottspon et al., 2004). 

Harmonization of Contents of Education

As indicated in several sections of this report, there is a strong movement towards co-ordination and standardisation at the national / inter-cantonal level. The project “HarmoS” is high on the list of priorities of the EDK and follows the general aim to “harmonise” the educational system of Switzerland.

Simultaneously, the three German speaking regions of the Swiss Conference discussed in May 2005 to develop and pursue a common project namely a “Swiss-German Curriculum for compulsory education” (Arbeitsgruppe Lehrplanarbeit Deutschschweiz, 2005).

International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health

As there is no national or federal policy in assessment in Switzerland, practitioners in cantons and schools need to develop their own procedures and instruments in assessment. Nevertheless curricula provides guidance. 

But the orientation towards international standards (PISA, etc.) and the inclination to develop instruments that are suitable not only for teachers but also for parents, therapists etc. unlocked the door for the implementation of the International Classification of Functioning, Disability and Health (ICF) which offers a suitable framework. It has been chosen to serve as a framework for the development of instruments in many schools, communities and cantons (see Best-Practice-Report).

The changes due to the “Reorganisation of Financial Equalisation RFE”, developments regarding the harmonisation of education and curricula (e.g. the project “HarmoS” or the relevant work concerning an inter-cantonal agreement on cooperation in SNE) will probably transform the system of schooling in SNE – and the   assessment policy and practice as well. 

The critical issue in this process of innovation and development is the responsibility of the teacher in assessment practice. Their diagnostic competences depend upon further “professionalisation”, training and the development of a coherent policy at the school level (heads of schools and school boards in the communities).

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