Verification of the attainment of the Basic Competences in foreign languages at the end of compulsory schooling (ÜGK/COFO 2020)

Project management

Peter Lenz (till 2020)


Thomas Aeppli, Katharina Karges (till 2020)
HEP Vaud, PH FHNW, PHLU, PHZH, DECS Ticino, EDK Task database

01.2018 - 09.2024
Competences, Evaluation, Institutions, Policy
Commissioned by: Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education 

The Swiss Conference of Cantonal Ministers of Education (EDK) planned to verify how well students are mastering the Basic Competences (educational standards) in foreign languages for the second time in spring 2020. Due to the covid-19 pandemic, classroom teaching in schools was prohibited from mid-March to mid-May. As the verification could not be carried out as planned, the EDK decided to postpone it to 2023.

What has been achived so far: In the spring of 2017, a representative survey was conducted with over 20,000 schoolchildren at the end of primary schooling (grade 6/year 8H). In 2020, the Conference will verify how well the Basic Competences are being mastered at the end of lower secondary school (grade 9/year 11H) in a survey of roughly the same number of students. In the current project, which follows up the IOM’s task development for the 2017 survey, several institutions are collaborating to develop test tasks for reading and listening comprehension; the tasks are implemented using CBA Item Builder software for computer-based testing. The Institute assumes various responsibilities in the project: it coordinates task development conducted by teaching specialists, designs half of all tasks on listening comprehension and is responsible for technical implementation.

In 2023 (initially 2020), receptive skills in the first and second foreign language will be assessed. The level of Basic Competences corresponds to level A2.2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. For this reason, the same assessment tasks in the various language versions will be set for the first and second foreign language.

The foreign languages tested are German (French-speaking Switzerland and Ticino), French (German-speaking Switzerland and Ticino, excepting Graubünden) and English (entire country except for Ticino). Italian and Romansh as foreign languages will not be tested. In all three language regions of Graubünden, only English will be tested.