Will get KLU CSE campus internships

CSE = Certificate of Steiner Education

In Austria, 10 (of 18) Waldorf schools in the Austrian Waldorf Association have a fully developed upper level up to grade 12. The Waldorf qualification, which we all highly appreciate, currently only entitles the recognition of some departments in the case of an external Matura and an apprenticeship shortened by one year.

In order to obtain the general higher education entrance qualification, the state matriculation examination (Matura) is the usual way after the 12th grade. The other options of a university entrance qualification test or a vocational maturity test after completing an apprenticeship were rarely chosen in the past. Of course, all schools are interested in exploring ways after the Waldorf School and informing their students accordingly. In the 10 Waldorf schools with upper level, different ways have been established after the Waldorf qualification:

  • IB course (in cooperation with Wien-West)
  • Repetition of the 12th grade in a state grammar school (WS Graz and WKS Graz)
  • Cooperation with an evening grammar school for working people (Vienna Wall, Vienna Pötzleinsdorf, Schönau, Innsbruck, Salzburg, Linz)
  • CSE (Klagenfurt, Schönau, Salzburg, Graz)

From the first graduation class in the 1974/75 school year to 2019, around 4650 pupils in Austria had completed the Waldorf qualification. Around 150 more are added every year. Around 80% of Waldorf pupils pass the Matura after completing their Waldorf schooling. This is shown, among other things, in a survey of former Waldorf students that the Waldorf Association carried out in 2003 and 2006. Since 2009, the Matura data of the graduating classes have been collected on the basis of information from the schools. A trend towards 85% can be seen here - and this with above-average results: More than 50% of Waldorf Matura graduates complete their Matura with distinction or with good success.

This is very remarkable when you consider that we Waldorf schools also carry the comprehensive school idea through in the upper grades! Then why should we want to introduce something like the CSE?

From Waldorf school straight to university - this is a matter of course in very few countries (such as Sweden). However, wherever there are state guidelines for a school leaving examination such as the Abitur or Matura, right up to central exams (Central Abitur, Central Matura), the pure Waldorf qualification does not entitle you to university entrance; you have to take care of acquiring the state matriculation examination after Waldorf school. Of course, in Sweden there are also grades or points in the course of the upper level, some kind of proof of completed courses or a performance documentation, which is checked when registering for a university.

In 2010 we could have obtained a university entrance qualification within the framework of the required revision of the organizational statute and the curriculum of our schools. We "only" had to take over the AHS curriculum and the Matura, while maintaining some Waldorf methods such as B. Epoch teaching ... The necessary licenses would have destroyed the development-oriented approach of the Waldorf curriculum. For this good reason, the previously applicable partial recognition of individual departments for the external Matura remained.

In New Zealand, however, the Waldorf schools have succeeded in obtaining such state recognition on the basis of the international Waldorf curriculum. In the last 3 school levels, students can qualify for university entrance. Based on this modular assessment system AND on the basis of their own curriculum - the Waldorf curriculum - some New Zealand Waldorf schools have developed the "Certificate of Steiner Education" (formerly SSC = Steiner School Certificate) and this is officially valid in New Zealand as a university entrance qualification. Through the cooperation of the Waldorf schools on an international level, such as B. in the European Council for Steiner Waldorf Education, it was quickly recognized that general university access via CSE then also due to the Lisbon Recognition Convention should be possible. And that is also the case, as has already been shown in Germany, England and Austria. The first graduates of Waldorf schools from these countries are already studying.

The Austrian Waldorf schools - as far as the upper level curriculum is concerned - for a long time believed they were on a "Waldorf island of the blessed" because they were able to implement the classic Waldorf curriculum for the upper level. So far, at least the schools without a direct connection to Matura courses in the house have been able to live the Waldorf upper level curriculum without concessions on Matura requirements. This includes the consistent development-oriented design of the epochs in the upper level, which is very important to us in all departments. We want to promote personality development and probably prepare for a self-determined life rather than for the Matura. In Austria, too, it has been shown that Matura requirements make it more difficult to fully develop the Waldorf upper level curriculum. Let's just take the example of projective geometry (mathematics department) in the 11th grade, which is already being sacrificed in some schools for Matura preparation in mathematics! Another example of this is the so-called “pre-scientific work”, which is part of the central school-leaving exam. In terms of its approach, it is a thesis that at first glance resembles our annual work. The fact is, however, that the requirements there, both quantitatively and qualitatively, are much lower or different. This makes it increasingly difficult to enforce the Waldorf-specific and high-quality requirements in our schools.

Since the Waldorf curriculum is now an international curriculum, the basis of certification in grades 10–12 at Waldorf schools in New Zealand is the same as in Europe. Therefore, in European schools, the CSE can exist IN ADDITION to the curriculum, in addition to the otherwise usual certificates (grade certificate of the 12th grade). So there is no need to change the organizational statute or curriculum - and those who want can still take the Matura after the 12th grade. At Waldof schools, all pupils are regularly issued a final certificate from the Waldorf school after completing the 12th grade (grade certificate and verbal certificate). This has nothing to do with the New Zealand Certificate of Steiner Education (which not all students receive). This is a New Zealand degree based on a New Zealand program, according to which you can also work outside New Zealand at Waldorf schools and whose learning outcomes are the basis for the granting of New Zealand qualifications in New Zealand (possibly also with the title "with university entrance" , i.e. with a New Zealand university entrance qualification).

For the Austrian schools that have so far decided to introduce the CSE or are testing it in a pilot phase (Klagenfurt, Salzburg, Schönau, Graz), the following reasons were decisive:

  • The "classic" and, for good reasons, development-oriented Waldorf curriculum for the upper level can be implemented and further developed without concessions.
  • The Waldorf-specific requirements for the annual work of the 12th grade including lecture, exhibition, practical-artistic part and work process are very important at the CSE.
  • Achievements or learning experiences through internships and artistic projects (theater, music, eurythmy) or the focus of individual schools (such as internships abroad as part of the ERASMUS + program) can be assessed as equally and equally as the "classic" subjects.
  • The process-oriented approach of the CSE, in which the path to performance and the individual nature of its presentation are important, fits the principles of Waldorf education and prevents the "test mania" that can also be found in Waldorf schools.
  • The involvement of pupils in the in-school moderation of learning outcomes is also an exciting way, as they should increasingly be led to a solid self-assessment of their performance in the upper school.
  • The CSE is extremely flexible! If a teacher has to change his lesson preparation due to current events in the world or in the class (hopefully he does!), Then he can do it at any time!

The CSE attaches great importance to intensive cooperation between the secondary school teachers in the interests of the pupils. New forms of cooperation are intended to bring the learning process itself into focus and to expand the catalog of assessment procedures from student performance to self-assessment. The colleges should be encouraged to explore the individual learning paths of their students together. In particular, new forms of cooperation in the teaching staff are to be developed with regard to the needs of the students, which enable teaching that is not dedicated to the material (and the test !!). In addition, the participating schools want to develop the basis for the mutual recognition of student performance within the framework of the CSE for future student exchanges.

The Certificate of Steiner Education (CSE) combines the qualitative demands of Waldorf education with an assessment system based on learning results. The purpose of the CSE is not to constantly evaluate everything. The learning outcomes are just like 'windows' on the performance of the students. The school chooses which learning outcomes it offers to the students. The learning outcomes (process-oriented ›learning outcomes‹) come from a specified catalog from the international Waldorf curriculum, which can be updated regularly through the participation of every participating school. The pupils in turn choose in which areas they would like to be evaluated, whereby they are obliged to make a selection from a broad range of core areas. The higher the level, the more options there are. There are also compulsory areas (such as humanities, natural sciences, art) that must be successfully completed at least at level 2. In addition, basic mathematical and linguistic skills must be demonstrated. A certain number of points can be achieved with each successfully completed learning outcome. The CSE does not prescribe the form of assessment. The extent to which a learning outcome has been achieved is determined using assessment criteria that are formulated very openly. Each teacher specifies this in a requirement profile, the content of which he / she communicates to the students. In this way, the students know in advance what kind of ›achieved‹ (with success), what kind of ›merit‹ and what kind of ›excellence‹ is expected. Experience shows that high school students appreciate this transparency because they know where they are and can prioritize their learning strategies accordingly. The teacher determines which procedures are used to determine performance. The pupils can also choose between several methods. Traditionally, teachers mostly work with tests. Of course, this is also allowed at the CSE and may also make sense. Depending on the subject, it could be that other assessment methods are better suited (e.g .: oral contributions, essays, portfolios, different text forms, presentations, group work, discussions / dialogues, posters, photos, exhibition, performance, presentation, booklet or folder, learning diary, teacher observations and any › naturally occuring evidence ‹). The teachers ensure that they record and evaluate the traces of performance in a comprehensible manner. The performance assessments must always be ›evidence based‹. It is hoped that working with the CSE will strengthen evaluation as a learning support. In order to learn effectively, students need much closer feedback. In doing so, learning methods should not only be tailored to the acquisition of competencies for certain qualifications, but should aim at the self-education of the students. Lively teaching and assessment processes are not mutually exclusive. Teachers are called upon not only to ensure that the quality of the offers is high, but also to significantly increase the effectiveness of the lessons by increasing the quality of use for every student. You have to see how the offer is received, not only at the end, but also during the lesson. This is exactly what encourages lively teaching.

Since the Waldorf curriculum is internationally valid, transnational cooperation between the schools working with the CSE is recommended. So far there have already been some advanced training events for the upper level teachers of the participating schools (most recently in Erfurt, Salzburg, Schönau). Further training is planned in Austria for autumn 2020.

Now the question is repeatedly asked why the CSE costs what - currently € 12,000 per school per year plus around € 70 per student in the participating classes. The latter contribution covers the costs for the notarial recognition of the annual certificate, which must be valid according to the Lisbon Agreement. The basic amount per school includes the administrative expenses of the SEDT (Steiner Education Development Trust) foundation, which is responsible for awarding the certificates, as well as the travel expenses of the trainers, who are currently still from New Zealand. Once the CSE has consolidated in Europe and less training is required from New Zealand, the base costs can be reduced.

The time required at the participating school is quite high in the first three years of the introduction, because initially a high amount of documentation has to be paid to SEDT, since the certificate cannot be awarded in the blue. And of course the teachers' preoccupation with it also takes time. After that, the effort is manageable and z. B. affordable for the coordinator at the school with about one deputation hour.

The intangible gain for the school can (beyond this new recognition of the Waldorf qualification) lie in a deeper cooperation between the upper level teachers. The conversations between two or more teachers after completing a learning unit (sometimes also with the class) can be very stimulating, as you learn so much about how a colleague organizes their lessons, how she sees the students and has experienced working with them that you also teach yourself. It expands the view of the students for their own lessons and of the teaching staff.

In the four schools that have participated so far, solid competence in dealing with the CSE has developed, so that schools in Austria can now also be advised on the introduction from here.

What is still missing is well-founded and unemotional information on CSE in Europe (also on the Internet!). Since only 10 schools in Austria, England and Germany are working with it so far, this task is still open.

Author: Angelika Lütkenhorst