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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Assessment in the first stage of secondary education

Belgium - Flemish Community

6.Secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education

6.3Assessment in the first stage of secondary education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Pupil/Students assessment

Student assessment is done by: 

  • periodic examinations on larger curricular units 

  • ongoing assessment: 

  • daily short assessments 

  • home tasks 

  • other assignment formats 

The education provider determines autonomously the local evaluation policy. The class council is responsible for the evaluation of each individual student. This class council consists of all teachers who have taught the student and is chaired by the principal. The final evaluation according to study progress is a collegial decision of the deliberating class council. See study progress for more info. 

Assessment of students may result in suspension of classes, including holding class council meetings and providing feedback to the students in question. The maximum number of days that may be spent on student assessment is: 

  • 60 half days for schools using the examination system 

  • 18 half days for schools applying the continuous assessment system 

Progression of pupils/students

The class council is the central evaluation body in secondary education. It has three tasks in this regard: 

  1. decide on admission to a particular stage 

  1. guide and evaluate during the school year 

  1. evaluate and deliberate at the end of the school year. 

A favorable decision of the admissions class council (= the class council of the receiving stage) is in certain cases necessary for study progress. 

At the end of the school year, the deliberating class council decides collegially whether the student has sufficiently achieved the objectives to move on to the next learning year, with or without certain restrictions (clausing). The deliberating class council bases this decision on all the evaluation data it has collected during the school year. 

The government does not set assessment criteria or minimum passing grades in this regard. Class councils therefore have broad autonomy. However, the regulator does stipulate that in the area of evaluation and possible study progress, schools must communicate transparently and that deliberative class council decisions must be clearly justified. 

Parents and students can appeal against no or limited study progress within the school context. 

The deliberating class council decides on June 30, prior to the summer vacation. It may postpone its decision in exceptional cases, e.g. by allowing the student to retake the examination. In the event of a postponement, the decision is taken no later than September 1. 

Sitting over a year is possible. A student who does not pass must sit over, in the case of clausing (limited advancement to the higher grade), sitting over is sometimes possible (in some cases, whether or not after a binding negative advice from the class council, sitting over is not possible). In the case of extended clausing, the student always retains the right to oversit (for full regulations, see 3.13 of the omzendbrief SO 64). 


Certificates granted by the school

At the end of the school year, 4 types of orientation certificates may be issued: 

  • an A-certificate when the student has successfully completed the year; 

  • an A-certificate with restrictions when the student is admitted to the next year after the first year, but with some basic options excluded 

  • a B-certificate when the pupil is admitted to the next year, but with some educational options and/or directions excluded; 

  • a C-certificate requiring the student to remain seated. 

At the end of the first stage, a certificate of that stage is awarded to students who pass. Within the first stage, a certificate of basic education is issued to pupils who pass in that stage and have been admitted to it without having obtained that certificate in elementary school. 

Certificates granted by the Examination Board of the Flemish Community for fulltime secondary education 

The first-degree certificate, the second-degree certificate and the secondary school diploma can also be obtained through the successful completion of examinations at the Examination Commission of the Flemish Community for full-time secondary education. This is thus an alternative to the school track. Among other things, it provides a solution for young people who fulfill compulsory education through home schooling and cannot obtain official study certificates within this home schooling.