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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

Pupils Assessment

Currently, there are no regulations concerning the assessment of collège pupils. In practice, pupils do homework in or out of class at regular intervals, and this work is corrected on an individual basis and receives a score and assessment from the teacher. 

The assessment of the pupil's results is materialised first by a series of scores listed on a bulletin that is sent every three months to the parents by the administration of the school institution. These notes also contain, for each subject, detailed assessments from the teacher on the pupil's work and the progress they have made. The information for parents also contains contacts and meetings with the teachers of the class and primarily with the main teacher and the guidance counsellor as well as parent-teacher meetings that are organised on a regular basis.

School report

Aunique school report that follows the pupil from the Cours préparatoire to the Troisième has been launched. It gives a comprehensive look at the pupil’s results on a regular basis, as well as a look at his/her progress towards the acquisition of the new common core of knowledge, skills and culture.

In the collège, two types of documents report to parents on the student’s progress and his/her teachers’ appreciation regarding his/her work.

The regular report: it presents for each subject the main curriculum items that were worked into depth during the year quarter, as well as the progress that was made and difficulties that were encountered by the pupil, and finally the “achieved level” of the pupil. The “achieved level” may take the form of a grade or any other alphanumeric-based restitution system, and it must also give the progress made by the pupil towards the learning objectives of the common core on 4-level scale: not attained, partially attained, attained, topped. 

This list is mandatory but does not limit institutions if they want to include other assessment methods. For pupils of Troisième, the regular report also contains the streaming wishes and the final decision (instance of a Cinquième regular report).

End-of-cycle reports (last quarters of Sixième and Troisième): an end-of-cycle report is done for the pupil. It gives an outlook at the pupil’s mastery level of the common core of knowledge, skills and culture, following the same 4-level scale:

  • Insufficient acquisition;
  • Fragile;
  • Sufficient;
  • Very good.

These reports must also have a written commentary on the pupil’s learning of the cycle, and, if needed, advice for the rest of the school career. The reports are enacted by the School principal or his/her deputy, by the Head teacher and by the parents or the guardian of the pupil.

Exhaustive evaluations

The assessment is aimed at all pupils in the sixth form in public and public schools under contract in metropolitan France and the overseas departments and regions. In this context, it is essential that pupils with special educational needs can benefit from the usual adaptations and means of compensation.

It has three objectives:

  • to enable teaching teams to have information on the level of mastery of pupils when they enter collège in French and mathematics;
  • to provide teams with assistance in the pedagogical management of school-college networks;
  • enriching academic management tools with information provided by standardised assessments throughout the country. The interest of these assessments is to provide an objective measure of pupils' skills and knowledge. This measurement is based on scientific methods and is independent of the conditions of observation and correction.

A test protocol is provided to schools in order to standardise the conditions of the assessment. It takes place in two sequences of 60 minutes each (10 minutes of preparation and 50 minutes of taking the test) in French and mathematics. The test is taken digitally from an online platform. The answers to the questions do not require correction.

The exercises proposed in this evaluation were designed with the help of teams set up by the Direction de l'évaluation, de la prospective et de la performance (Depp) made up of school teachers, certified and associate teachers, trainers and educational advisers. The Direction générale de l'enseignement scolaire (Dgesco) and the Inspection générale de l'éducation, du sport et de la recherche (Igésr) were involved in this work.

The exercises in the three sequences proposed refer to the Cycle 3 school programmes. In French, the exercises and the fluency test enable the knowledge and skills associated with "Oral language", "Reading and reading comprehension", and "Language study" to be tested. In mathematics, the assessment focuses on the areas of "Numbers and calculations", "Magnitude and measures", "Space and geometry".

For middle school teams, the individual results are made available to teachers quickly after the test in the form of a positioning tool according to 3 degrees of mastery. A report by class and by domain according to the degrees of mastery is also available.

Each pupil receives an individual feedback sheet. This feedback form has been improved to make it easier to understand and communicate with pupils and parents. Parents are informed of their child's results and of the importance of this evaluation in order to offer personalised teaching adapted to the needs of each student. This feedback is done according to the school's practices. The challenge is that each pupil receives the most personalised and effective help possible from his or her teachers and parents, within the framework of an educational partnership and a differentiated pedagogy.

The ambition is to identify the skills that need to be supported by the pupil as well as the achievements and knowledge that will allow future progress.

Cedre assessments

Since 2003, the Ministry of National Education has introduced standardised sample assessments at national level that are similar to PISA. The Cycle des Évaluations Disciplinaires Réalisées sur Échantillons (Cedre - Cycle of Disciplinary Assessments Conducted on Samples) measures the skills of pupils at the end of secondary school.

Each year, one subject area of the programme is assessed as part of a 6-year rolling cycle. In elementary education, the areas assessed are :

  • Mastery of the language
  • Modern foreign languages ;
  • History-geography and civic education ;
  • Experimental sciences ;
  • Mathematics.

The presentation of the results makes it possible to situate pupils' performance on level scales. These assessments, which are renewed at regular intervals, make it possible to monitor changes in the "level of pupils" over time. Tests are taken at the end of the school year.

In lower secondary schools, the target population is third-generation pupils in public and private lower secondary schools under contract in metropolitan France. A stratification is also carried out on the school sector. Year 9 classes are randomly selected with a view to national representativeness (for example, this represented approximately 8 400 pupils in more than 300 classes for the mathematics assessment in 2014).

To take account of non-response, samples are adjusted to ensure representativeness by sector, gender and educational disadvantage.

Progression of Pupils

Progression from one class to another

The procedures for transitioning from one class to another in collège is set in the legislative (article L331-8) and regulatory (article D331-23 et seq.) sections of the French Code of Education. According to these provisions, and the assessment report, the pupil's parents formulate a request to transition to the next class, a request for orientation or a repeat year. The latter is examined by the class council which will take into account all of the information collected by its members and in turn will issue a proposal for a transition or to repeat the year. 

If the proposal is in compliance with the requests, the school head makes the decision and sends it to the parents. If the proposal does not comply with the requests, the school head receives the pupil's parents, informs them of the proposal and receives their observations. He then makes the decision. If a disagreement persists, the parents have recourse with an appeal commission, presided by the académie inspector who will make the final ruling. 

Decree no. 2014-1377 of November 18, 2014 changes the Code of Education regarding the streaming of pupil as well as repeating school years. According to article L311-7 of the Code of Education, repeating years can only be an exceptional occurrence. It also always needs the written approval of the parents.

Moreover, in Troisième, repetition cannot be demanded by the parents or be proposed by the institution. Only if the family of the pupil who does not obtain his/her orientation wishes, they may, rightfully, ask to maintain the pupil in its present class and for a maximum duration of one academic year.

Progression toward upper secondary education

At the end of 3rd class the pupil is directed either towards the general and technological path or towards the vocational path. The orientation decision is the responsibility of the school head and is taken after the class council; it is subjected to recourse through appeal to a commission lead by the académie director. However, the choice of the option taken by the pupil in the type institution he was directed to is entirely up to the family.

A personalised orientation interview is offered to all Troisième pupils, in order to accompany them in transitioning to lycée. This interview is conducted by the main teacher, who will call upon the expertise of the guidance professionals (directors of guidance and information centres, guidance counsellor-psychologists). The concrete methods for organising this are the responsibility of the school head (Circular no. 2006-213 of 14 December 2006).


Diplomas and certificates, issued by the Department of National Education, Higher Education and Research, recognised nationally, can be delivered to collège pupils. Pursuit in Lycée is not conditional to their attainment:

  • The Certificat de Formation Générale (CFG - general training certificate);
  • The Diplôme National du Brevet (DNB - national brevet diploma);
  • Pix certification for digital skills. 

The Certificat de Formation Générale (CFG)

The (CFG - general training certificate) validates the acquisitions in the areas of general knowledge (French, maths, social and professional life). This is a diploma intended for adapted general and vocational education pupils (SEGPA) and pupils of regional adapted education (EREA) institutions, as well as for young people aged 16-25 or adults who have followed an alternative training effort in a social and professional integration system or ongoing training. 

Candidates are awarded the General Training Certificate if their knowledge and skills are assessed at a satisfactory level, as reflected in a point total. For all candidates, the total number of points required to obtain the diploma must be at least 200.

Points are awarded according to the level of mastery of their academic achievements assessed in relation to the cycle 3 reference scale and the 8 domains of the Common Base of Knowledge, Skills and Culture according to the following scale

  • 10 points if the candidate obtains level 1 "Insufficient mastery";
  • 20 points if he/she obtains level 2 "Fragile mastery";
  • 25 points if he/she obtains level 3 "Satisfactory mastery";
  • 30 points if he/she obtains level 4 "Very good command".
  • and an oral test, common to all candidates, marked out of 160 points.

The evaluation of their achievements is established during their training by their teachers: the expected level of mastery for each of the components of the first domain and for each of the other four domains of the common base of knowledge, skills and culture must be at least equal to the 'satisfactory mastery' level of the cycle 3 reference scale. As these candidates have attended cycle 4, their academic achievements, as referenced to the end-of-cycle 4 expectations, are also mentioned in their livret scolaire. They are taken into account for the award of the diploma.

The oral test assesses the candidate's "oral communication and social skills, as well as their ability to present their personal experience and to situate themselves in their social or professional environment" - in other words, their mastery of oral expression, their ability to enter into dialogue, to retrace their experience, and to argue and justify the chosen project.

The Diplôme National du Brevet (DNB)

The assessment of the Common Base represents 400 points.

The continuous assessment part, which attests to the mastery of each of the eight components of the common base and which is assessed during the class council meeting in the third quarter of the 3rd year:

  • Insufficient mastery (10 points) ;
  • Weak control (25 points) ;
  • Satisfactory mastery (40 points) ;
  • Very good command (50 points)

The examination part represent 400 points.

  • French (3 hours), marked out of 100 points: based on an extract from a literary text and possibly an image, evaluation of linguistic skills (grammar - including rewriting -, vocabulary, etc.) and comprehension and interpretation skills + dictation + writing;
  • Mathematics (2h), marked out of 100 points: exercises, some with tables or diagrams, including a computer exercise;
  • History and geography (2 hours), marked out of 50 points: analysis and understanding of documents + use of historical and geographical references + mobilisation of moral and civic education skills;
  • Science (1h) (2 of the 3 disciplines), marked out of 50 points: physics-chemistry, life and earth sciences, technology;
  • and finally, the oral test, marked out of 100 points, which focuses on a project carried out in art history or as part of an EPI or one of the educational pathways, and in particular makes it possible to assess the quality of oral expression. There are two ways to do this:
    • or an individual interview of 15 minutes (5 minutes presentation and 10 minutes interview).
    • or a group interview of 25 minutes (10 minutes presentation and 15 minutes interview).

Additional points are awarded to candidates who have followed optional teaching according to the level they have achieved at the end of cycle 4 with regard to the learning objectives of this teaching:

  • 10 points if the learning objectives of the cycle are met;
  • 20 points if the learning objectives of the cycle are exceeded.

In total, the student is accepted if he/she accumulates 400 points out of the 800. Depending on the total number of points obtained, pupils may be awarded mentions: 'assez bien' (480 points, i.e. 12/20), 'bien' (560 points, i.e. 14/20) or 'très bien' (640 points, i.e. 18/20). Under certain conditions, the "bien" and "très bien" distinctions allow students to benefit from merit-based grants for the rest of their school career.

A republican ceremony to award the brevet diploma is organised at the beginning of each school year for the winners in their college. Each year, the academies, in conjunction with the schools and local elected representatives - mayors, departmental councillors, etc. - organise an official presentation of the diplomas obtained the previous year. This ceremony brings together the educational community and elected representatives around the pupils who are completing their common schooling. It is an opportunity to highlight the essential role of schools in the Republic and to congratulate pupils who have obtained their first diploma.

Pix certification

A reference framework of digital skills (CRCN), inspired by the European DIGCOMP framework, has been defined by the ministries responsible for national education, youth and higher education. The digital skills defined in the CRCN are assessed and certified nationally via an online platform, Pix, for pupils at the end of secondary school.

The Pix certification provides a certified digital skills profile recognised by the State and by registration in the inventory of the National Commission for Professional Certification (CNCP). The platform provides students with a certification of digital skills at the end of cycle 4.

The Pix platform enables pupils from cycle 4 onwards to assess themselves and their progress on the basis of placement tests. From the 5th grade onwards, pupils register on the Pix platform, which is accessible free of charge, where they can monitor their progress. If they move to another school, they can keep their progress.

Public and private schools under contract are equipped with a Pix Orga space that allows educational teams to generate test paths on different digital skills, to follow the results of the students and thus to accompany them in the acquisition of their skills until certification.