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Assessment in primary education


5.Primary education

5.3Assessment in primary education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Pupil assessment

« Livret scolaire unique »

During the very first enrollment of pupils in primary education, a digital schoolbook called “livret scolaire unique” (unique schoolbook) is created to assess and follow their knowledge and skills acquisition in regards to the curricula and common core objectives. The unique schoolbook was implemented by the decree no. 2015-1929 of December 31st, 2015 for the 2016/2017 school year. This schoolbook will cover the whole school career of pupils from primary education to the end of lower secondary education. It covers the cycles 2, 3 and 4 in a consistent manner.

Two main assessments are provided in the unique schoolbook. The first assessment is the periodic assessment, of which the methods are left to be determined by the teaching staff in regards to the curricula objectives. In primary education, the unique schoolbook records the pupils’ position in to these objectives according to a grading system as follows:

  • “Not achieved”;
  • “Partially achieved”;
  • “Achieved”;
  • “Exceeded”.

The second assessment that is provided by the schoolbook regards end-of-cycle assessments. In primary education, it only concerns Cours Élémentaire 2 (CE2 – 3rd grade). The end-of-cycle assessment is not the result of a specific evaluation but rather the result of a regular assessment of learnings. They allow an overview of the knowledge and skills of the pupils in regards to the 8 domains of the common core. The grading is as follows:

  • “Insufficient mastery”;
  • “Fragile mastery”;
  • “Sufficient mastery”;
  • “Excellent mastery”.

The unique schoolbook allows a tracking of skills and knowledge acquisition by the pupils to their parents and is also a communication tool between the teaching staff and parents.

Pupils’ assessment in CP and CE1

Since September 2018, every pupil in Cours préparatoire (CP – 1st grade) and Cours Élémentaire 1 (CE1 – 2nd grade) in public and subsidized private education have standardised assessments (commonly known as "Repères") in French and mathematics to give their teachers a better picture of their skills and knowledge, in order to better support their learning. .

In CP, these assessments take place twice during the schoolyear (September and February), and allow the teaching staff to complete the overview of skills and knowledge acquisition that is provided by the teachers at the end of pre-primary education for each pupil. As these assessments are nation-wide and are taken by every child, its format is a booklet of exercises which is provided by the ministry (example of a booklet in French in CP). In September as well as during the “update” assessment in February, pupils take two 20-min long tests in French and one 20-min long test in Mathematics. Assessed skills are:



  • Knowledge of letters;
  • Vocabulary;
  • Phonologic and phonetic awareness ;
  • Oral comprehension.
  • Number construction;
  • Calculus aptitude, including enumeration;
  • Numbers breakdown;
  • Knowledge of the numerical line.

 In CE1, there is only one assessment in September. As in CP, the assessments take the form of a booklet of exercises, 2 for French and 1 for mathematics, and are 20-min long. Assessed skills are:



  • Aloud reading;
  • Reading comprehension;
  • Oral comprehension;
  • Vocabulary;
  • Spelling.
  • Comprehension and usage of numbers;
  • Mental calculation;
  • Line calculation;
  • Problem solving;
  • Geometry.

In CP as well as in CE1, pupils’ assessments are entered by teachers on an online dedicated platform. Individual performance is only available at the school level, providing teachers a “profile” for each pupil, and results are given to parents. At the national level, the statistical data is anonymized, and provided to local decision-makers (inspectors).

CEDRE assessment

Since 2003, the Ministry of National Education has implemented nation-wide standardized evaluations, similar to PISA. The Cycle des Évaluations Disciplinaires Réalisées sur Échantillons (CEDRE – Subject evaluation cycle on the basis of samples) aims at measuring skills of pupils at the end of primary education.

Each year, a subject of the curricula is evaluated in the framework of a 6-year rolling cycle. In primary education, the evaluated subjects are:

  • Language mastery;
  • Modern foreign languages;
  • History, geography and moral and civic education;
  • Experimental sciences;
  • Mathematics.

The presentation of results gives the position of pupils’ performances on a scale of performance. As the evaluation is regularly repeated, it allows a tracking of the evolution the pupils’ performance over a 6 year period. The evaluation is taken at the end of the schoolyear. In primary education, the evaluated pupils are in Cours Moyen 2 (CM2 – 5th and last grade of primary education). The sampling differentiates the type of school (public, priority education or subsidized private). In each participating school, every pupil in CM2 takes the evaluation (in 2014, the sample was 8,600 pupils coming from 300 schools).

Progression of pupils

The progression of pupils in each cycle is done following a proposition of the teachers’ council. After the review of each pupil’s situation, the teachers’ council gives an opinion regarding the progression: simple progression, two-grade advancement or repeat may be proposed by the council. The teachers’ council can only propose one repeat or advancement over the primary education career of a pupil. However, in specific cases, the council can propose a second advancement with the agreement of the National Education inspector.

According to the decree no. 2018-119 of February 19th, 2018, repeating can only happen on an exceptional basis and only after the failure of the remediation with a specific educational support mechanism.

The school head gives parents the propositions of the teachers’ council. Parents’ have a 15-days delay to appeal the decision, justifying their recourse in front of the local inspector who gives the final judgement.


There are no exams at the end of primary education to determine the transfer to lower secondary education. All pupils are entitled to attend lower secondary education unless the relevant teacher objects. There is no document certifying the end of elementary education.