Assessment is internal and external. The teacher is the one who does internal assessment. The school principal, the school board, and administrative officers from the Ministry of Education, Youth and Science, the Regional Inspectorates of Education, National Boards of State Matriculation Exam Assessment, Boards for Assessment Vocational Qualification Exams conduct external assessment.
Students’ assessment is done in different formats:
- On-going assessment – through oral examinations, written examinations, practical examinations.
- Exams – score corrective exams at the end of grade 12, state matriculation exams after completing grade 12, examinations for acquisition of vocational qualification after completion of vocational education;
- Assessment for establishing the level of attainment of the state educational requirements for study content – for a certain grade, stage or level of education.
Assessment is done using a six-point rating system – the grades awarded are: Excellent (6), Very good (5), Good (4), Fair (3) and Poor (2).
Current, term and annual grades are awarded during the academic year on compulsory, core curriculum optional (specialized and general education studies) and free elective studies. Final grades on all academic subjects are awarded on completion of secondary education.
The students’ entrance level is assessed at the beginning of every school year. In case students are dissatisfied with their academic performance over their upper secondary education on completing grade 12 they can sit for up to 3 correction exams in subjects per grade of their choice.
After the successful completion of grade 12, students sit for state matriculation exams. The compulsory state matriculation exams are two. They are specified in the curriculum. One of them is in Bulgarian Language and Literature, and the other one – according to the student’s choice. If a students wishes, he/she can sit for a third state matriculation exam(s) on a subject of his choice among the compulsory or the core curriculum optional subjects according to the corresponding school curriculum. Students who want to continue their education at a higher education institution have to pass successfully the two compulsory matriculation exams in order to receive a diploma. The rest receive a certificate for having completed upper secondary education and can sit for matriculation exams whenever they decide to in the following years.
General education state matriculation exams are in the format of standardized tests in two examination versions according to the subject syllabi and the examination syllabi. They are developed on the basis of the study content covered during compulsory education according the respective curriculum. Students are examined on only one of the versions, randonmly chosen on the day of the exam. Subject syllabi and examination syllabi are adopted with an Ordinance of the Minister of Education, Youth and Science, and for schools funded by the budget of another ministry or institution – after being coordinated with the respective minister or head of institution. State matriculation exams can be administered as oral, written, or practical depending on the subject. Their format and duration are determined by the respective subject and examination syllabi. State exams for acquiring a degree in vocational qualification comprise an exam in the theory of the profession and speciality and an exam in the practice of the profession and speciality. Students’ state matriculation exam marks are valid for university enrollment under conditions stipulated by every university.
In the subjects of professional training, practical tests are conducted. In the individual and/or in the group practical assignments, as well as in work on projects and laboratory exercises, assessment criteria are formulated in accordance with the approved ones in the national examination programs for acquiring a degree of professional qualification. Term assessment for the training modules in vocational training is formed only when the training in these modules ends at the end of the study period. For a subject, which according to the school curriculum, is studied only during one of the terms, an annual mark is formed on the basis of the respective term mark. In production practice, only an annual assessment is formed on the basis of the overall performance of the student in the learning process and at least two ongoing tests. When the vocational training is carried out in modules, the annual assessment is set according to the assessment system described in the curriculum for the respective module. At the completed stage, for the acquired degree of education and / or qualification in a profession, final marks are recorded in the documents set aside for this purpose.
A qualification in a profession is acquired when, after assessment or validation, it is established that all units of learning outcomes achieved, included in the state educational standard for acquiring a qualification in the respective profession, have been achieved. Individual units of learning outcomes defined in the state educational requirement for acquiring a qualification in the respective profession, for which credits are awarded, may be assessed or validated. The credit is a measure of the achieved unit of learning outcomes from the state educational requirement for acquiring a qualification in the respective profession. The credits are awarded by the educational institution and are certified by a document according to a sample approved by the Minister of Education and Science. Credits may be accumulated for the purpose of acquiring a professional qualification in a profession and / or may be transferred for the acquisition of a professional qualification in another profession from the same professional field. Credits awarded to units of learning outcomes in general vocational training may be transferred and accumulated for the acquisition of a professional qualification in all professions.
Recognition of a professional qualification acquired in a school of a foreign country is carried out only in connection with the recognition of a completed class or degree of education. Recognition is an official written confirmation of the correspondence of a completed period, class, stage, completed degree of school education and acquired professional qualification in a school of a foreign country or in a school of the European Schools system with those in school education in the Republic of Bulgaria. It may aim at access to vocational education in the country, to training in the higher education system or to facilitate access to the labor market. It is carried out by the Regional Department of Education.
Acquired competencies through non-formal and informal learning are subject to validation and are assessed by passing one or more exams. When the validation of competencies is for one class of one subject studied for the acquisition of general education or vocational training, the examination is one and is taken on the curriculum defined in the respective curriculum for the subject. When the validation of competencies is for one class in all subjects studied for the acquisition of general education or vocational training, the examinations are in each of the subjects and are taken on the curriculum defined in the respective subject curricula. When the validation of competencies is for all classes of the stage in one subject studied for the acquisition of general education, the exam is one and is taken on the curriculum defined in the state educational standard for general education in the subject.
Progression of Pupils/Students
After a student completes a certain grade he/she is eligible to progress into the next grade if his/her annual grades in all academic subjects from the compulsory, core curriculum optional or specialized studies are not lower than Fair (3.00). Students who get a Poor (2.00) mark, sit for a corrective exam in the respective subject(s) in no more than two regular corrective examination sessions during the academic year. The sessios are administered after the end of the school year in June or July or from 1st to 13th September according to a procedure, specified by an order of the school headmaster. Students who do not sit for the corrective exam or get a Poor (2) grade repeat the grade with the exception of those who are in their last year at upper secondary school. Completion of a high school grade is certified by pupil’s grade book.
Diploma of completed secondary education is issued to students who have completed grade 12 and have passed the state matriculation exams. The diploma is issued according to the state educational requirements for the level of education, the general education minimum and curriculum and for the statutory documents on the system of public education. The diploma is issued by the school, in which the pupil has completed grade 12.
If the pupil has not passed the state matriculation exams he is issued a certificate of completed last grade of upper secondary education, which entitles him/her to continue his/her vocational education for acquiring qualification in a given profession.
Completed secondary vocational education is certified by a diploma for completed secondary education, certificate of professional qualification and competence. Certificates of professional qualification are issued to students who have completed 12th grade who have passed the state matriculation exams for acquisition of vocational qualification according to the state educational requirements for vocational education and training, for acquisition of qualification in given professions and for the system of assessment. Students trained at vocational schools, vocational upper secondary schools and art schools (at upper secondary level) also acquire a degree of professional qualification. According to the Vocational Education and Training Act the degrees of vocational qualification are four and the fourth degree is attained through training after completing secondary education. Completion of secondary education at a respective school leads to the attainment of second (4-year duration of studies) and third degree (5 or 6-year duration of studies) of vocational qualification.
Diplomas for completed secondary education and certificates of professional qualification issued by schools are also registered in a software program, kept up by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Science.