A variety of evaluation and assessment tests and tools are compulsory in primary and lower secondary education. The purpose is to help schools identify and meet the pupils’ needs and challenges. The compulsory tests and tools include:
- National testing;
- Screening for reading difficulties in form level 1 (compulsory from 2025/2026);
- Risk-testing for dyslexia no later than form level 1 if a pupil shows signs of reading difficulties;
- Language assessment in pre-school (compulsory from 2024/2025);
- Screening for high ability pupils in form level 1 (compulsory from 2024/2025);
- The dialogue tool The Message Book for messages between the school, parents and pupil.
In addition to the above, Danish schools use a number of local tools and tests as part of an ongoing evaluation and development of education in primary and lower secondary schools.
New national tests in primary and lower secondary education comes into effect from 2026/2027. In the meantime, temporary national tests are implemented from 2022/2023 to 2026/2027. The tests are digital and self-correcting. In addition, the tests are linear, which means that all pupils have to complete the same tasks in the same order.
The purpose of the tests is to give teachers an insight into the individual pupil’s academic skills in the specific areas of literacy and mathematics covered by the tests. The tests are conducted in the beginning of the school year so the teachers can use the test results when planning the instruction for the rest of the year.
The tests in Danish (reading) and mathematics are compulsory. The table below shows an overview of the compulsory temporary national tests that pupils must complete at the different form levels:
Compulsory test in Danish (reading)
Compulsory test in mathematics
In the transition period before the new national tests are fully developed in 2026/2027, primary and lower secondary schools can also conduct optional, adaptive tests in selected subjects.
The Message Book
In addition to tests, The Message Book is a compulsory part of the ongoing evaluation. It is a dialogue-tool for messages between the school, parents and pupil.
It includes focal points that the educational staff deem to be essential to support the pupil’s professional and individual development. These focal points must be based on the knowledge of the educational staff and current observations of the pupil.
There are few formal requirements for The Message Book and schools are free to develop relevant formats. The formal requirements include that The Message Book must:
- Be in writing;
- Be used regularly and made available to pupils and parents at least once a year;
- Include content about the competence areas of language and mathematical attention for pupils in preschool class;
- Include content about the pupils’ education after primary and lower secondary school and the process for achieving the academic requirements that may have to be met regarding admission to upper secondary education for pupils in form level seven to nine;
- Include content covering the initiatives and the follow-up that the school has initiated to remedy the challenges for pupils with challenges.
General proficiency marks
Another part of the ongoing evaluation is general proficiency marks. The general proficiency marks are given in all exam subjects to pupils in form level 8, 9 and 10 at least twice a year. The last marks of the school year are given immediately before the written examinations and express the pupils’ proficiency in the subjects at that particular time. The marks are awarded after the seven-point grading scale.
In addition to the ongoing evaluation, examinations are held at two different levels:
- The Folkeskole leaving examination (form 9 and 10);
- The 10th form examination (form 10).
At the end of form level 9, the pupils must complete seven compulsory examinations. Five of these examinations are the same for all pupils:
- Danish (oral examination);
- Danish (written examination);
- English (oral examination);
- Mathematics (written examination);
- Joint examination in physics/chemistry, biology and geography (oral examination).
The remaining two examinations consist of one examination in a science subject and one examination in a humanistic subject. The Ministry of Children and Education draws at random to choose which subjects the pupils are to sit an examination in. The science and humanistic subjects as well as the examination form appear from the table below.
German / French*
Physical education and sports
*When the Ministry of Children and Education draws at random, the examination in German or French is either oral or written.
Furthermore, pupils must sit an exam in form level 8, which is included in the leaving examination certificate. The pupils choose one of the following subjects:
- Home economics (practical/oral examination);
- Crafts and design (practical/oral examination);
- Visual arts (practical/oral examination);
- Music (practical/oral examination).
The leaving examination after form level 10 is optional and the pupils decide whether or not to sit for examinations in a subject upon a consultation with their teachers and parents.
For examination in form level 8, 9 and 10, marks are given according to the seven-point grading scale to indicate the performance of the pupil.
Progression of pupils
Progression to the next form level happens automatically as pupils follow the form that corresponds with their age. However, the school head can, after consulting the parents, decide to let a pupil repeat or skip a form if it is in the best interest of the pupil.
In 2021/2022, 1.9 per cent of the pupils in preschool class had repeated preschool class, which is the lowest part since 2009/2010.
In single structure education, pupils who have achieved an average mark of 02 or above in the Folkeskole leaving examination receive a certificate. The school issues the certificate.
The 9th form leaving certificate must include the following information:
- The pupil’s name and civil registration number;
- Which subjects the pupil has received instruction in in form level one to seven;
- Form level;
- Name and address of the school;
- The pupil’s latest general proficiency marks or written evaluations replacing marks in the compulsory subjects;
- The pupil’s latest general proficiency marks in the optional subjects with an indication of the form levels at which the marks were given;
- Marks achieved at the examinations at form level eight;
- Marks achieved at the examinations at form level nine;
- The date of the signing and the school head’s signature.
The admission requirements for upper secondary education depend on which upper secondary programme the pupil wishes to attend. For information on the admission requirements for general upper secondary education and vocational upper secondary education please see chapter 6.1 and chapter 6.4 respectively.
Ministry of Children and Education, 2023: Test, evaluation and development of education. [Accessed 10 May 2023]
Ministry of Children and Education (Børne- og Undervisningsministeriet), 2022: Access to tests (Adgang til prøve). [Accessed 10 May 2023]
Ministry of Children and Education (Børne- og Undervisningsministeriet), 2022: Certificates and requirements for passing an exam (Beviser og beståkrav). [Accessed 10 May 2023]
Ministry of Children and Education (Børne- og Undervisningsministeriet), 2022: Pupils in preschool in the academic year 2021/22 (Elever i børnehaveklassen i skoleåret 2021/22). [Accessed 10 May 2023]
Ministry of Children and Education (Børne- og Undervisningsministeriet), 2023: Optional adaptive tests (Frivillige adaptive test). [Accessed 10 May 2023]
Legislation and Official Policy documents
Legal Information (Retsinformation), 2022: Act on the compulsory tests in the Folkeskole in the academic years 2022/23 up to and including 2025/26 (The Folkeskole’s national tests) (Bekendtgørelse om obligatoriske test i folkeskolen i skoleårene 2022/23 til og med 2025/26 (Folkeskolens Nationale Overgangstest)), BEK no. 1223 of 31/08/2022. [Accessed 10 May 2023]
Legal Information (Retsinformation), 2022: Act on the Folkeskole (Bekendtgørelse af lov om folkeskolen), LBK no. 1396 of 05/10/2022. [Accessed 10 May 2023]
Legal Information (Retsinformation), 2022: Act on the tests of the Folkeskole (Bekendtgørelse om folkeskolens prøver), BEK no. 1224 of 31/08/2022. [Accessed 10 May 2023]