Upper secondary schools (střední školy) and conservatoires (konzervatoře) use both continuous assessment and final assessment of pupils in a school report.
There are no examinations at the end of the academic year. The Maturita examination (maturitní zkouška), carried out in spring 2011, was the first nationwide test. Since 2015, the Czech School Inspectorate (CSI) have carried out regularly so-called surveys on pupils' educational results, which determine how pupils of upper secondary perform in individual educational fields and what is the level of their literacies. The survey always includes only a sample of schools, its purpose is to determine the quality of the educational process both at the level of school and the entire educational system.
The Education Act states that rules of assessment of educational outcomes of pupils are part of a school's School Code (školní řád), issued by the school head. Rules of assessment are approved by the school council (školská rada). The Decree on Secondary Education and Education in Conservatoires stipulates rules that must be based on requirements of the framework and school education programmes and what they should include.
Assessment of pupils at the lower level of multi-year general secondary schools (víceletá gymnázia) and lower classes of conservatoires fulfilling compulsory school education corresponds to the assessment at basic schools.
Assessment of pupils in a school report
Pupil's outcomes are assessed each term and may be expressed by a mark, a verbal assessment, or by a combination of both. The school head decides on the form of evaluation with the consent of the school council. The school can convert s verbal assessment into a numerical mark or vice versa if the pupil is transferring to a school which uses a different type of assessment.
If marks are used, pupil's educational results in individual subjects are assessed by the following marks:
1 – excellent
2 – very good
3 – good
4 – satisfactory
5 – failed
If it is not possible to assess a pupil, the expression "not assessed" is used. If he/she was excused from the class (e.g., for health reasons), the expression "excused" is used.
In case of verbal assessment, the pupils' educational achievements in the individual compulsory and optional subjects set by the school education programme must be described in relation to the set educational goals and to the pupils' educational and personality-related prerequisites.
In an on-site form of education, pupils' behaviour is also assessed, by means of the following marks:
1 – very good
2 – satisfactory
3 – unsatisfactory
The overall assessment of pupils is expressed in their report as follows:
passed with distinction if the mark for any compulsory subject or if the verbal assessment translated into a mark is no worse than 2 – very good, the average results in compulsory subjects are at most 1.5, and his or her behaviour is assessed as very good. In Art and Applied Art courses, specialised subjects must also be assessed as: 1 – excellent,
passed if no compulsory subject has been assessed by a mark or a verbal assessment translated into mark 5 – failed,
failed if the mark for any compulsory subject or its verbal assessment translated into a mark is 5 – failed or if a pupil is not assessed in some subject at the end of the second term.
not assessed if it is not possible to assess a pupil in some subject at the end of the first term or on an alternative date.
A school head, a class teacher or a teacher of practical training can, in certain specified cases, give so-called educational measures: a formal praise or another form of appreciation, or a warning or a reprimand in the case of the School Code violation. A school head may decide to exclude a pupil from the school or alternatively to give him/her the warning of exclusion. Since September 2017 demonstration of violence and bullying in schools are judged more seriously. If the intensity of these is classified as a very serious violation of the responsibilities set by the education act, the school head is obliged to expel a pupil from school.
The form of the school report is specified in the Decree on Some Documents on Education. The forms for reports also include information on the attained level of the European Qualification Framework (EQF), which is the scale including all qualifications.
Progression of pupils/students
The progression of pupils is stated by the Education Act and Decree on Secondary Education and Education in Conservatoires.
Only those pupils who receive a pass or a pass with distinction in their report at the end of the second term may proceed to the next grade.
Pupils who fail a maximum of two compulsory subjects at the end of the second term, or pupils who fail a maximum of two compulsory subjects at the end of the first term (from subjects taught in the first term only), are assessed in these subjects by a board (komisionální opravná zkouška).
Following a written request, the school head may permit a pupil who is not anymore fulfilling his/her compulsory school attendance and failed or could not be assessed at the end of the second term, to repeat a grade. A pupil who is completing the compulsory school attendance in such cases always repeats the grade.
Pupils who have completed their compulsory school attendance may also interrupt their education with the prior consent of the school head, for a period of no longer than two years.
In the case of an exceptionally gifted pupil, school heads may, upon the request of his/her legal guardian, transfer the pupil to a higher grade without him/her completing the previous grade. The transfer is conditional on his/her passing examinations relating to the syllabus (or a part of the syllabus) of the grade the pupil has not completed.
Progression of pupils still completing their compulsory school attendance corresponds to progression of pupils at basic schools (except for the resit).
Studies in upper secondary schools (střední školy) in Czechia are completed according to the Education Act:
by completing a prescribed number of grades of the educational programme and by passing the Maturita examination (maturitní zkouška)
in courses of secondary education completed by the Maturita examination (střední vzdělání s maturitní zkouškou); a successful school leaver receives ISCED level 344 qualification in general or ISCED level 354 qualification in vocational fields
by completing a prescribed number of grades of the educational programme and passing a VET final examination (závěrečná zkouška)
in courses of secondary education with the VET certificate (střední vzdělání s výučním listem); a successful school leaver receives ISCED level 354 qualification
in courses of secondary education (střední vzdělání); a successful school leaver receives ISCED level 253 or 353 qualification
Both examinations, the VET final examination and the Maturita examination, test if pupils have achieved the educational objectives of their course, especially the level of key knowledge, skills, and attitudes of pupils, which are important for their further education or performing an occupation or specialised activities.
After passing the VET final examination and the Maturita examination, pupils receive certificates (vysvědčení) with grades for each examination, an overall evaluation of the examination and a statement of the level of education achieved. In courses leading to a secondary education with a VET certificate, pupils also receive a VET certificate (výuční list). These documents are issued by schools. The Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports lays down in the Decree on Some Documents on Education the form and the content of valid forms for school reports, extracts from school reports and VET certificates. School reports and VET certificates contain the birth identification number of a pupil or a student if such number has been assigned to him/her. School reports and VET certificates are stamped with the national coat of arms of Czechia and they are a public instrument. The forms for reports certificate and VET certificates also include information on the level of the European Qualification Framework (EQF) that is the scale for all qualifications.
It is also possible to acquire secondary education with the Maturita examination in conservatoires (konzervatoře), by successfully completing the corresponding part of the educational programme for conservatoires, however not earlier than after four years of attending an on-site form of education, within the six-year educational programme (in the fields of Music, Singing and Music and Drama) or after eight years of attending an on-site education within the eight-year educational programme (in the field of Dancing). By successfully completing the educational programme for conservatoires, i.e. by completing the prescribed number of grades of the educational programme and by passing the graduate examination at conservatoires (absolutorium v konzervatoři) pupils can achieve the tertiary professional education in conservatoires (vyšší odborné vzdělání v konzervatoři).
Completion of the secondary education with the Maturita examination is a prerequisite for admission to Bachelor's and Master's study programmes at higher education institutions (vysoké školy) or tertiary professional education programme at tertiary professional school (vyšší odborná škola).
Courses with the Maturita examination – general and vocational education
Pupils attain secondary education with the Maturita examination (střední vzdělání s maturitní zkouškou) (ISCED 344 in general, 354 in vocational fields) by passing the Maturita examination. The Maturita examination report (vysvědčení o maturitní zkoušce) is the certificate of acquired education passed on to the pupil by the school head. A pupil may take the Maturita examination not later than five years after completing the last grade of education.
The Education Act sets two parts – the standardised (state) part and the profile (school) part of the Maturita examination (maturitní zkouška). The details on its organisation are set by the Decree on Completing Education by the Maturita Examination in Secondary Schools.
Detailed and practical information on the Maturita examination is available at the websites maturita.cermat.cz (in Czech).
CONTENT OF THE EXAMINATIONS
The standardised part of the Maturita examination consists of 2 compulsory exams:
the compulsory subject Czech language and literature
the second compulsory subject is a choice of:
a foreign language (the pupil chooses from the offer – English, French, German, Spanish, and Russian language – only the foreign language which is being taught at the particular school he/she is attending)
It is possible to take voluntarily an examination in another two (non-compulsory) subjects. Those can be a language (he/she chooses from the offer set by the implementing regulation and again only the foreign language which is being taught at the particular school he/she is attending), mathematics, and “mathematics extending”.
The pupil takes the standardised part of the Maturita examination successfully in case that he or she passes all compulsory examinations the standardised part consists of.
All examinations are held in the form of a didactic test. A didactic test in the Czech language and literature lasts 85 minutes, in a foreign language 110 minutes (from which 40 minutes are reserved for the listening part of the test and 70 minutes are assigned to the testing of reading and language skills and knowledge), in mathematics 135 minutes, and in mathematics extending 150 minutes.
In the profile part of the Maturita examination, a pupil takes following examinations:
Czech language and literature
Foreign language (if chosen in the standardised part)
other 2 to 3 compulsory examinations from the school head's offer (the number of the examinations is set in respective framework education programme):
general upper secondary education (obtained at gymnázia): 2 to 3 compulsory examinations (sports training secondary general school (sportovní gymnázium) – 2 compulsory examinations)
lyceum (lyceum): 2 to 3 compulsory examinations, of which the pupil takes at least one in the area of vocational education
upper secondary vocational education and education in conservatoires (konzervatoř): 3 compulsory examinations, where a pupil takes at least 2 examinations in the area of vocational education, one of which in the form of a practical examination or as a graduation thesis and its defence in front of the board (in conservatoires, the practical examination can take the form of a public performance)
A pupil can also take a maximum of two non-compulsory examinations offered by the school head.
The school head can include in the profile part of the Maturita examination only such subjects whose total time, according to the school education programme is at least 144 teaching hours during the education (student's entire educational cycle).
The pupil takes the profile part of the Maturita examination successfully in case that he or she passes all compulsory examinations the profile part consists of.
Czech language and literature
The Czech language and literature examination is always held in the form of a written essay and an oral examination in front of the examining board.
The written essay lasts at least 110 minutes, including the time for choosing the assignment (a school head sets a minimum of 4 assignments). The minimum length of the written essay is 250 words.
The preparation for the oral part lasts 15–20 minutes, the examination itself 15 minutes at maximum. Before the examination, a pupil selects a number of the worksheet. The examination takes the form of a structured interview using the worksheet, which includes an extract of the literary work. The list of 60 literary works is set by the school head making it available to pupils 7 months before the examination. Pupils choose their own list of at least 20 selected works from the school list and submit it to the school head by 31 March.
The foreign language examination is always held in the form of a written essay and an oral examination in front of the examining board.
The written essay in foreign language lasts 60 minutes, including the time for choosing the assignment (if the school head sets more than 1 assignment). The minimum length of the written essay is 200 words.
The preparation for the oral part lasts 15–20 minutes, the examination itself lasts 15 minutes at maximum. A pupil draws one of the 20–30 topics. One assignment corresponds to one worksheet. The examination takes the form of a structured interview using the worksheet, which includes 1 or more assignments related to the chosen topic (in case of vocational and lyceum courses including the professional terminology).
The other exams are taken in the form of:
the graduation thesis and its defence in front of the examining board (the time for drawing it up is at least one month, preparation for the defence of the graduation thesis takes at least 5 minutes, its defence 15–30 minutes)
the oral examination in front of the examining board (the preparation takes 15 minutes, the examination no longer than 15 minutes)
the written examination (duration is set by the school head for 300 minutes at maximum)
the practical examination (at maximum 3 days, in art fields of education (except for conservatoires) 2–4 weeks)
the combination of two or more listed forms
Pupils can take the Maturita examination as soon as they have successfully completed the last year of studies and no later than 5 years after completing their studies. The student has to register for the Maturita examination by 1 December at the latest for the spring term and by 25 June at the latest for the autumn examination. The application includes, among others, the names of the selected examination subjects, inclusion of a pupil with special educational needs into a respective category and into a group with the aim to adjust conditions for realization of the standardised part of the Maturita examination or the request of a pupil-foreigner for adapting the examination in Czech language and literature. Spring term examinations are held from 2 May to 10 June, the autumn then from 1 September to 20 September. Pupils are entitled to 5 learning days leave intended for preparing for the Maturita examination. The term of the leave is set by the school head.
ORGANISATION OF EXAMINATIONS AND STAFFING
The standardised part of the Maturita examination is held at school, the tests are not open to the public. The Ministry of Education Youth and Sportsis the responsible body for preparing the examination, its methodical management, record of registration applications and of test results of standardised part of the Maturita examination. At the same time, the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports determines the content of the standardised part of the Maturita examination and at the same time publishes catalogues defining the knowledge and skills required. The standardised part is prepared, assigned, organised, processed and evaluated by the Centre for Evaluation of Education – the Centre (Centrum pro zjišťování výsledků vzdělávání – Centrum) established for this purpose by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. Well-ordered running of the written part of the standardised examination in school is ensured by the school commissioner, appointed by the Centre. The fact that the commissioner has not been employed or otherwise related to the school for a period of two previous years is a prerequisite for his / her appointment. Didactic tests are assigned by the submitter in the classroom, appointed by the school head. The training of the commissioner and the submitter is ensured by the Centre. 17 pupils are the maximum class size.
The profile part of the Maturita examination is taken in front of the same examining boards (zkušební maturitní komise). A chairperson, a deputy chairperson, and a class teacher (or a head of a department in a conservatoire) are standing members of the Maturita examination board. Other members are as follows: an examiner (teacher of the examined subject), a teacher-assessor, and in the case of art subjects a leading art teacher of the particular branch of the pupil's art specialisation. An expert from the practice, a higher education institution (vysoká škola) or a tertiary professional school (vyšší odborná škola) may also be appointed as a member of the board. In case the examination or part of it is taken in the form of a thesis and its defence, a supervisor of the thesis and an opponent will also be members of the board. Upon a proposal of the school head, the chairperson is appointed by the regional authority and the other members of the board by the school head. Examinations – with the exception of written examination and written essay – are public. Examinations taken in the practical form are non-public in cases where it is necessary to protect health and safety and in health educational fields in order to protect the privacy of the patient.
EVALUATION OF EXAMINATIONS
Didactic tests of the standardised part are evaluated centrally by the Centre for Evaluation of Education. They are assessed verbally "passed" or "failed" with a percentage of success. The results of didactic tests are made available to the school head by the Centre via the Centre's information system in the spring examination period no later than 15 May, and in the autumn examination period no later than 10 September.
In the profile part of the Maturita examination, each examination is assessed separately. The method of the assessment of each examination or its part and the method of setting the final evaluation of the examinations is proposed by the school head and approved by the board. The examining board decides on the assessment of pupils in individual subjects by voting on the proposals of the board members. In the profile part of the Maturita examination, the five-point grading scale is used.
The overall evaluation of the examination is carried out on the basis of the results for both the standardised and the profile parts of the Maturita examination and is based on the following scale:
passed with distinction if the pupil passed the compulsory examinations of the standardised part of the Maturita examination and at the same time was not assessed in any compulsory examinations within the profile part by mark worse than 2 – very good, and the simple arithmetic average results in all compulsory examinations within the profile part were at most 1.5;
passed if the pupil passed the compulsory examinations of the standardised part of the Maturita examination and at the same time no mark in any compulsory part was 5 – failed;
failed if the pupil failed one of the compulsory examinations of the standardised part of the Maturita examination or was assessed in any compulsory part by mark 5 – failed or if the pupil did not pass the compulsory examination for any other reason.
A pupil can repeat an examination in each compulsory subject only twice. In the case the examination consists of multiple parts held in various forms and the pupil failed in any part of the examination, he/she repeats the part of the examination which he/she failed.
For schools and classes where the language of instruction is the national minority language, the examination in the national minority language has to be part of the profile part.
For persons who have been educated for at least 4 years in the previous 8 years before the relevant exam at a school outside the territory of Czechia, the duration of the didactic test in Czech language and literature is extended by 30 minutes and in mathematics by 10 minutes upon request; they can also use the translation dictionary.
The conditions of the Maturita examination are adapted to pupils with special educational needs.
For pupils with temporary protection, the Ministry of Education modified some of the conditions for holding the Maturita examination in 2023 by a biding general measure. It concerns mainly the possibility to extend the time of exams / preparation for exam and the possibility to use a dictionary.
Courses with the VET certificate – vocational education
To acquire secondary education with the VET certificate (střední vzdělání s výučním listem) (ISCED 353) it is necessary to pass the VET final examination (závěrečná zkouška). Certificates which confirm acquiring this level of education are the report on the VET final examination (vysvědčení o závěrečné zkoušce) and the VET certificate (výuční list). A pupil may take a VET final examination if he/she has successfully completed the last grade of secondary education, but no later than five years after completing the last grade of secondary education.
The basic conditions for the final examination are set out in the Education Act, the details are provided in the Decree on Completion of Education in Upper-secondary Schools in the Form of a VET Final Examination, and on Completion of Education in Conservatoires in the Form of a Graduate Examination.
Detailed and practical information on the VET final examination is available at the websites zkouska.cermat.cz (in Czech).
Content of examinations
VET final examination in secondary education leading to VET certificate – standardised assignments
The examination consists of several separately assessed examinations, which take place in the following order: 1. written examination (in writing or electronically). 2. practical examination in practical training, 3. oral examination. Subjects or other integral parts of the curriculum which are tested during the VET final examination are set in the framework education programme and the school education programmes.
During the VET final examination the school uses standardised assignments and related documentation for individual fields. They are prepared and made available for schools by the Centre for Evaluation of Education – the Centre (Centrum pro zjišťování výsledků vzdělávání – Centrum), which took this role from the National Institute for Education in 2019. The Centre administers the database of topics and tasks, updates obsolete topics and continuously prepares new topics which reflect the development in the field. It is based on a standardised assignment of the VET final examination for each field of upper secondary education with the VET certificate (in both categories of the fields – H and E). Vocational school teachers are in charge of preparation of topics of the standardised assignment, with specific concern for the application of technical theory into practical tasks and questions. Specialists from practice participate in the preparation of assignments. The qualification standard is used defining the qualification to which the training in the field leads. So far non-traditional elements have been integrated into the VET final examination – a general overview of the world of work and the possibility of using the results of independent technical work. In relation to the use of framework and school education programmes, the schools are given the opportunity to supplement (according to the defined rules) the standardised assignment with their specific features stated in their school education programmes.
The obligation for schools to use standardised assignments was introduced by the amendment of the Education Act in 2015. It was an adjustment of the existing practice; a year before the standardised assignments became compulsory, 90 % of schools were already organising their VET final examinations according to the standardised assignment. In the years 2005–2015, the reform of the VET final examination in fields completed with the VET certificate was organised in order to permanently assure the quality of the education of pupils in VET courses and the prestige of vocational education and training. The reform was financially supported by the European Social Fund and the state budget of Czechia through the national projects Quality (2005–2008), New VET Final Examination (2009–2012), and New VET Final Examination 2 (2012–2015).
The VET final examination is held in June in dates set by the school head. In the fields of education, where a practical examination lasts 2-4 weeks, the school head may fix the date of the VET final examination from 20 May. The school head can stipulate the term for the practical examination before 20 May after an agreement with the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports. The school head may set different dates for the VET final examination in the case of completing education within retraining under a special legal regulation. Prior to the commencement of an oral examination or a practical examination, pupils do not attend lessons for a period of four instruction days.
Organisation of examinations
The VET final examination is held at the school where the pupils were educated. The practical examination can also take place at the workplaces of other subjects, where practical education takes place.
The VET final examination is taken in front of the examining board (zkušební komise). The examining board consists of the chairperson, the vice-chairman, and the class teacher of the examined pupils (permanent members) and the teacher of practical training, the teacher of vocational subjects, and an expert practitioner.
The chair of the board is appointed by the appropriate regional authority until the end of February of the particular school year. The chairman of the examining board
has a vocational qualification in the relevant or related field and has carried out a direct pedagogical activity for at least five years;
cannot be in an employment relationship or any similar relation with the school at which he/she will carry out the function;
has not taught of the pupils who are taking the VET final examination during their upper secondary education.
The other members are appointed by the school head.
Evaluation of examinations
The examining board decides on the assessment of pupils in individual subjects by voting on the proposals of the board members. Marks are given on a five-point scale.
The overall assessment of a pupil at the VET final examination is carried out by the examining board on the following scale:
passed with distinction if the average of the marks at the VET final examination is not higher than 1.5 and if any of his/her marks is no worse than 2;
passed if the pupil does not receive a mark worse than 4 in any part of the VET final examination;
failed if the pupil's performance in any part of the VET final examination is assessed by mark 5 – failed.
If a pupil fails a part of the VET final examination, he/she may resit that part, although not more than twice in the case of each examination.
The conditions of the VET final examination are adapted to pupils with special educational needs.
For pupils with temporary protection, the Ministry of Education modified some of the conditions for holding the VET final examination in 2023 by a biding general measure. It concerns mainly the possibility to extend the time of exams / preparation for exam and the possibility to use a dictionary.
Other courses – vocational education
To acquire secondary education (střední vzdělání) (ISCED 353 or 253), it is necessary to pass a VET final examination (závěrečná zkouška). Certificates which confirm acquiring this level of education are the report on the VET final examination (vysvědčení o závěrečné zkoušce). A pupil may take a VET final examination if he/she has successfully completed the last grade of secondary education, but not later than five years after completing the last grade of education.
The basic conditions of the procedure and organisation are set in the Education Act and the Decree on Completion of Education in Upper-secondary Schools in the Form of a VET Final Examination, and on Completion of Education in Conservatoires in the Form of a Graduate Examination. Topics, content, form, concept, and dates of examinations in courses of secondary education are laid down by the school head. Subjects or other integral parts of the curriculum which are tested during the VET final examination are set in the framework education programme and the school education programmes.
Content of examinations
VET final examination in secondary education
The examination consists of practical examinations in vocational subjects and theoretical examinations in vocational subjects.
The practical examination takes place prior to the theoretical examination. For the practical examination, the school head sets 3–5 topics, from which one is drawn for a group of pupils. Groups of pupils sets by the school head. The practical examination lasts no more than 240 minutes.
The theoretical examination in vocational subjects is oral. The school head sets 20–30 topics, from which the pupil draws one. If specified in curricular documents, the examination can be divided into two separately assessed examinations. An oral examination lasts no more than 15 minutes, with additional 15 minutes for preparation. The examination can also include a written or a graphic solution of the assign task. The chair of the examining board can prolong the time for preparation by additional 15 minutes if a graphic or a written solution is part of the topic.
In contrast to the courses of secondary education with a VET certificate (střední vzdělání s výučním listem), standardised assignments are not set at the central level for the VET final examination in the courses of secondary education.
Terms, organisation, assessment procedures, and adapted conditions
The terms, organisation, assessment procedures, and adapted conditions of the VET final examination to acquire secondary education (ISCED 353 or 253) are the same as for completing education for acquiring upper secondary education leading to a VET certificate (ISCED 353).