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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Assessment in general lower secondary education


6.Secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education

6.3Assessment in general lower secondary education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Section 6.3 concerns pupils'/students' assessment and progression, and describes certification issues.

Pupil/student assessment

Both formative and summative evaluation is used for pupil assessment at the gymnasium level. Formative assessment provides direct feedback leading to the improvement of the Lower Secondary Education curriculum and the teaching-learning process. A number of methods and techniques are used by the teachers, the most common of which are:

• Daily informal evaluation of a pupil`s participation in the teaching-learning process;

• Short written tests, the number of which is at the discretion of the teacher;

• Period-long written tests which are given with notice, with one compulsory test per term in each subject;

• Assignments set by the teacher, which the pupils do at school or at home; and,

• Projects are undertaken by pupils individually or in groups, which are completed under the guidance of the teacher. 

Based on the outcomes of formative assessment oral participation and exam results) the teacher is responsible for the awarding of grades at the end of each four-month term, which are approved by the teachers’ assembly. At the end of the first term, a written report is issued to the pupil, which includes the grades awarded; it may also contain some comments on the pupils` participation in class.  The grading system is on an A-E scale with A standing for Excellent, B for Very Good, C for Good, D for Satisfactory and E for Fail.

Summative assessment involves written examinations, internally set by the individual school, which are held at the end of the school year in four subjects: Modern Greek, History, Mathematics, and Physics. The examination content is determined by the Ministry of Education and Culture and the examinations are prepared by the teacher and take place in the school. The marking of the papers is done by the classroom teacher on a numerical scale of 1-20. Numerical grades correspond to the following letter grades:

• 19-20=A

• 16-18=B

• 13-15=C

• 10-12=D

•  1 – 9=E

Progression of pupils/students

Progression of pupils from one class to the next is not automatic. Provided that a pupil satisfies the regulated criteria for progression at the end of the school year, they will be issued a certificate of progression in order to enroll in the next class. The certificate contains the grades of the two terms for every subject and the marks of the final examinations for the subjects of Modern Greek, History, Mathematics, and Physics.

Pupils are allowed to repeat a class twice in the school they attend. If they are required to repeat a class for the third time, they have to enroll at a different school.

Decisions on pupils' progression or retention of pupils are taken by the school Teacher Assembly based on regulated criteria. A pupil cannot progress to the next class if:

●  They have failed Modern Greek and Mathematics;

● They have failed three or more of the subjects in which they were tested, or they have failed in two subjects in which they were tested and two or more in which they were not tested;

● They have been absent from school for 51 periods or more of unexcused absence or 161 periods or more of absence in general, either excused or not;

● They did not sit the re-examination in September (where applicable)

● They failed a subject which they had transferred from a previous grade.


A pupil who successfully completes Grade C, graduates with a gymnasium school-leaving certificate (απολυτήριο). This certificate entitles the pupil to enroll in a Lyceum or a Technical school to continue their studies. The certificate is issued by the school and it is recognized by the state as an official document of the Ministry of Education and Culture.

Organisational Variations and Alternative Structures

Musical Gymnasiums

The Musical Gymnasiums operate today in the 5 free cities of Cyprus in order to bring our country closer to the cultural and musical events of Europe. The quality and remarkable work and the multifaceted contribution of the Musical schools enable their students, as tomorrow's citizens, to contribute to the music and cultural development of our country, while at the same time placing it in a dignified place that will leave it its stigma in the wider world culture.

The Musical Gymnasiums are designed within the existing educational system in the form of an All-Day School. With the expansion of the institution into the Gymnasium cycle, the goal to make six-grade Music Schools has been achieved. Students attend the morning lesson program, with the music class being enhanced in all classes and the remainder of the afternoon specials.

For the operation of the Musical Gymnasiums, the Ministry of Education has provided the necessary laboratory infrastructure in the Gymnasiums and High Schools where the Music Schools are hosted, in particular, the Pancyprian Gymnasium and the Acropolis Gymnasium in Nicosia, Lanitio Gymnasium and Lyceum in Limassol, St. George Lyecum and Drosia Gymnasium in Larnaca, Kokkinochoria Lyceum and Gymnasium in Frenaros (Famagusta), and the Secondary School of Makarios III and Nicolaidio Gymnasium in Paphos.

The Entrance Exams and Hearings for Gymnasium Musical schools are held in the middle of April (time frame varies depending on Easter holiday).For the coming year 2022-2023, the Directorate of Secondary General Education held in March, 2022, a Pancyprian Internet update on the institution of the Music School and the process of entrance and qualifying exams.

Musical Gymnasium students follow the same program as the other Gymnasium students. Grade 1 students are also required to attend music courses for 6 periods during the afternoon hours and students of Grades 2 and 3, seven periods during the same hours. During their studies, they are offered support when preparing for the national exams.

Athletic Gymnasiums

Currently, 5 Athletic Gymnasiums are operating in Cyprus in the major cities of the island with 403 students registered in 19 sports.

They all follow the program of the regular Gymnasiums, with the only exception that they have a few hours per week to practice.

During his/her study the student should satisfy the following criteria:

       1. A 15/20 grade point average

       2. Excellent behavior.

        3. Participation in competitions and championships of schools and federations.

        4. Participation in the afternoon training of his team.

        5. Individual Sports: 1st - 3rd place in the Pancyprian Championships of school and other games.

         6.Team Sports: 1st - 3rd place in the Cyprus Championships with at least 50% participation in all competitions of the year he/she enrolls or two national team competitions.

Athletic Gymnasium students follow the same program as the other Gymnasium students. In addition to their regular studies, they attend athletic courses/ practise for 2 periods, three times a week. In addition, they practise for 2 days per week in the afternoon (Tuesdays and Thursdays) for 3 periods each day. During their studies they are offered support when preparing for the national exams.