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Assessment in vocational upper secondary education

Bosnia and Herzegovina

6.Upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary Education

6.6Assessment in vocational upper secondary education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Students assessment

The school evaluates students' knowledge, skills and abilities and their applications. Students are evaluated by follow-up, checking and assessment. The assessment is expressed by numerical and descriptive marks. The behaviour of students at school is evaluated on the basis of relations towards the rights of other students, work and towards oneself. Evaluation of behaviour is expressed in descriptive grades. Students who are classified under the Regulation on Classification as persons with multiple disabilities, autism, mental, as well as more retarded persons are assessed descriptively.

There are two basic types of assessment based on the competences are used in schools:

Formative assessment is the main form of assessment during vocational secondary education. It is carried out continuously for each subject by using three forms of examination: oral, written and practical work.

The assessment of students’ knowledge (skills, performance, practical work, engagement) in all subjects is carried out through a five-point scale of both qualitative and quantitative examination marks:

  • 5 (excellent),
  • 4 (very good),
  • 3 (good),
  • 2 (satisfactory), and
  • 1 (unsatisfactory).

During each semester, each student must earn at least 3 marks for each course, which is the basis for their final grade at the end of the semester. The final grade is proposed by the teacher and approved by the Teachers' Council. The grade point average (GPA) is calculated at the end of the first semester as the average of all final grades in that semester and at the end of the school year - based on all grades during that year. It also includes a grade for student behavior.

Summative assessment in vocational education is carried out through the system of national exams and it ends secondary education. It may be in the form of: vocational graduation exam and final exam.

Students who complete four-year secondary vocational education will take the graduation exam according to the program determined by a special Bylaw. Students who complete three-year secondary vocational education will take the final exam.

Vocational graduation exam

Vocational graduation exam assesses competences acquired during secondary school and is compulsory for all students of 4-year vocational schools, at the end of the 4th grade.

The vocational graduation exam consists of three minor exams and a student must pass all three to pass the entire vocational graduation exam. In addition to these, the student has the right to take additional (optional) exams. The additional (optional) part of the vocational graduation exam corresponds to the optional part of the general graduation exam.

Required exams as part of the vocational graduation exam are:

  1. Mother tongue and literature;
  2. Mathematics (except for the educational profiles that do not have math in the last two years. They select a subject from the list of general education subjects where the mathematics was offered as well);
  3. Vocational exam (exam / test of vocational-theoretical knowledge and practical work).

General subjects are of the same test content and structure as in general secondary education.

The content of the vocational exam is determined by the Bylaw for each educational profile. The vocational exam consists of:

  • theoretical part (test / examination of vocational-theoretical knowledge) and
  • practical part (practical exam).

Theoretical part of the vocational exam is the verification of the vocational and theoretical knowledge necessary for the tasks’ performance for which the student is being educated. During practical exam, as part of a vocational exam, a student performs practical work tasks that test vocational competences, i.e. the acquired knowledge, abilities and skills.

Final exam 

Final exam is intended for students of 3-year vocational programmes and has a certification character. It assesses competences acquired during secondary education in the main field of study. This exam is mandatory for those graduating from vocational secondary schools and it allows students to join the labour market and search for a job in their occupational profiles.

The content of the final exam is prescribed by the specific Bylaws for each educational profile. It is realized through a practical exam consisting of one or more standardized tasks. Same as with practical part of the vocational exam, a school forms a school list of standardized tasks in each examination period.

The evaluation of the acquired vocational competences, i.e. knowledge, abilities and skills is provided by a three-member examination commission that is established for both vocational graduation and final exams. The commission consists of two vocational subject teachers, one of whom is a chairman of the commission, and a representative of employers - an expert in the given field of work.

All forms of assessment, including assessment criteria, are adjusted to students with disabilities in both regular and special education schools, according to their Individual Education Plans.

Progression of student

Students whose grades at the end of the school year are least satisfactory (2) can move on to the next grade. However, it is possible for the student to repeat the grade under certain circumstances. If a student has more than two unsatisfactory (1) final grades at the end of the school year, repeat the grade. They can repeat twice during regular schooling.

Students whose capacities and achievements are high above average can, subject to the approval by the School Council and Principal, switch to accelerated education, which allows them to complete two grades in one school year. Their achievement is assessed through grade exams, under the same rules as described above.


A vocational secondary school graduate receives Certificates on Grade Completion (separate for each grade), as well as the Secondary School Certificate.