School trial

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As part of a school experiment, students discuss current affairs using a daily newspaper (1974)

A school trial is a trial phase in which a new organizational form ( pilot project ) or teaching method is tried out at one or more schools with the consent and supervision of a school authority ( Ministry of Education , Ministry of Education ) .

School trials are used to review school projects before they are incorporated into the “regular” school system: In a school trial, a trial run with the new organizational form is carried out in selected schools. Ideally, this should be closely monitored and reflected upon so that the respective legislature can, if necessary, introduce the amendment across the board if it (by the majority) comes to the conclusion that the change has proven itself.

A second application is to give schools the space for individual forms of teaching within the framework of school autonomy .



The legal framework for school trials is regulated differently in the federal states, whereby the respective school law defines the requirements.

Section 25 of the North Rhine-Westphalian School Act contains the basis for carrying out school trials in North Rhine-Westphalia . School trials then serve to further develop the school system. For this purpose, deviations from the structure and structure of the school system can be tested to a limited extent in terms of time and scope. Fundamental changes in the long term cannot be based on this, but can only be made by changing the School Act itself.

Examples are:


The school trial is  regulated in § 7 School Organization Act (SchOG).

School trials have long been a successful model for educational reform in the Austrian education system, as have more individual solutions. At times there were almost as many school trials as schools (2017: 5300 school trials, 5700 schools in total), and in some school sectors there were more trials than locations. In recent years, tests included the central school- leaving certificate , the new middle school (replacement of the secondary school), and the alternative performance assessment in the elementary school (abolition of grades), all of which were introduced, as well as various things related to e-learning , which is also widely used today is.

With the education reform in 2017 ( Education Reform Act Federal Law Gazette I 138/2017) much of this tool was in the general school autonomy converted (autonomy package) . The school model with a special educational focus as part of the mainstream school system is therefore favored . Since then, school trials have only been possible in areas that go beyond school autonomy and are strictly limited in time (number of school levels plus two further school years, § 7 Z. 2 SchOG). In addition, a maximum of 5% of all students may be affected by school trials (Section 7, line 8 SchOG). Existing attempts are to be incorporated into the mainstream school system by the end of the 2024/25 school year or to be terminated.

An exception are the model tests at general higher schools for the further development of the lower secondary level for the purpose of postponing the educational career decision (§ 7a SchOG), that is the further development of the new middle school to a comprehensive school , as originally intended. These pilot projects are currently limited to 10% of all AHS (including private schools with public rights).


  • Peter FE Sloane : Model research. Considerations on a business education research approach (= business, occupational and socio-educational texts. Vol. 18). Müller Botermann, Cologne 1992, ISBN 3-88105-121-X (At the same time: Cologne, University, habilitation paper, 1992).
  • Peter FE Sloane : Vocational training research in the context of model experiments and its orientation performance for practice - attempt to assess balance and perspectives. In: Reinhold Nickolaus, Arnulf Zöller (Hrsg.): Perspektiven der Berufsbildungsforschung. Orientation services in research for practice (= Vocational Training Research Network Working Group: AGBFN. Vol. 4). Bertelsmann, Bielefeld 2007, ISBN 978-3-7639-1094-6 , pp. 11-60.
  • Günter Winands : The school experiment. Historical development and applicable law . Duncker & Humblot, Berlin 2014, ISBN 978-3-428-14298-9 (on Germany).

Web links

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d school trials. Federal Ministry of Education, Science and Research,, as of April 6, 2018 (accessed July 2, 2019).
  2. Around 4,000 school trials in Austria. In: Die Presse online, 23 August 2010.
  3. Education Reform Act 2017 , Parliamentary Materials.
  4. Autonomy package ., as of April 6, 2018 (accessed July 2, 2019).