Central matura exam proving an administrative nightmare

The Austrian project for a central matura – the equivalent of the A-Level exams – is being piloted in professional colleges this year.

The controversial measure is an attempt to provide all pupils taking their final exams with the same paper. They are then marked according to fixed corrections.

However, it has proven more difficult to unify the exam questions in the generalist, standard high schools (Gymnasium), where pupils will have to take the German, maths and another foreign language central matura exam from as early as 2015.

Concern has been voiced that unifying a test paper for professional colleges, where a wide range of subjects are taught from business to chemistry, might prove even more challenging. There are three school curriculums to be integrated in the case of gymnasiums, but some 400 curriculums have to be combined in the case of specialized high schools.

A student at a technical institute will have to answer the same maths questions as an agricultural pupil, but both will also have to answer maths questions related to their particular field of study.