In view of the fact that primary education is provided in Nipiagogeia and Dimotika scholeia (primary schools), which have attendant but distinct objectives, organization of the school day and week, curricula and teaching methods and materials, we can detect differentials concerning assessment.
In brief, in Nipiagogeio there is no standardized path to learning and alternative forms of assessment are prevailing. In Dimotiko scholeio the assessment of the progress of pupils is a continuous and advisable process and within this framework the assessment of the pupils’ performance is conducted in each subject of the curriculum of the relevant school year and pupils receive a Performance Assessment (with a descriptive assessment and a grading scale for certain grades).
Both at Nipiagogeio and dimotiko scholeio grade retention can occur subject to certain conditions.
Pupils that graduate form Nipiagogeio receive the Attendance Certificate and pupils who graduate successfully from dimotiko scholeio are awarded the primary school leaving certification (known as Leaning Certificate), which includes their general average grade.
Since school year 2017-2018 pupils’ descriptive assessment was implemented in public compulsory education.
There are no national exams at this level of education.
Detailed information foe assessment, progress and certification separately for Nipiagogeio and dimotiko scholeio are provided below.
Nipiagogeio (pre-school education)
Under the Cohesive Cross Thematic Curriculum Framework for Pre-primary Schools and the relevant Detailed Curriculum (Ministerial Decision 21072β/Γ2/28-2-2003), the main purpose of assessment is to provide private feedback on the educational process, aimed at improving the education provided.
In nipiagogeio (pre-school education), there is no standardised path to learning. Assessment is continuous, integrated in the daily process and based on the overall evaluation of the programme.
The educator systematically monitors the child during the school year. Initially, the educator identifies the level of experience, knowledge and interests of the child (initial or diagnostic assessment) and attempts to adapt the learning process to the abilities and individual characteristics of the child. Then, the educator checks the progress of every child (formative or gradual assessment) as the child develops new ideas, attitudes, values and competences. Finally, the overall achievement of the aims of the programme is assessed (final or overall assessment). In this respect, national pan-Hellenic tests in this level of education do not take place.
Essentially, assessment focuses on the effect of the learning process on the development and socialisation of the child on individual, as well as on team basis.
In nipiagogeio, there is no place for traditional forms of assessment. On the contrary, they have to be replaced by alternative practices such as:
- The progress and results of projects
- Peer assessment of the team by children themselves
- The child’s portfolio.
Regarding the methods and techniques, systematic monitoring of the children by the educator inside the classroom is suggested, while self-assessment, dialogue, discussion and the student’s individual portfolio are considered necessary.
In this context, educators have to:
- Assess the learning and development of the child in relation to the pursued objectives, based on the belief that every pupil has the potential for improvement.
- Assess the effectiveness of the curriculum, the conditions and means of its implementation, its teaching and pedagogical practice
- Explore the possible difficulties, which hinder children's progress
- Engage children themselves, their parents and other specialists in the process of assessing their learning and progress, ;recognizing the need for the shaping of a unique comprehensive personality
- Share the learning goals of the curriculum with the children and discuss the assessment criteria with them, encouraging them to self-evaluate the progress they have made
- Provide information to families on school results and the development of their children, as well as ideas for further support at home, so that there is a learning continuum outside the classroom.
In order to address cases of children facing serious learning difficulties or/and with behavioural problems, and so as protect and support them, nipiagogeio teachers may cooperate with the following:
- The school head or school director
- The teacher of the inclusion class
- The parents/guardians
- The competent KEDASY, within the framework of the operation of the team for the educational support of pupils or EDEAY (where in operation)
- The competent educational coordinator or the competent Education Consultant (Law 4823/2021)
- The educational coordinator of special education needs and inclusive education or the competent Education Consultant (Law 4823/2021)
- The competent services and bodies for protecting and supporting the children and their families.
Dimotiko scholeio (primary school)
According to the Cross-thematic Curriculum Framework and the Detailed Curricula (Ministerial Decisions 21072α/Γ2/28-02-2003 and 2107β/Γ2/28-02-2003), the assessment of the progress of pupils is a continuous and advisable process which is embedded in the teaching procedure.
It consists of assessing the pupils' performance in each subject of the curriculum of the relevant school year and it follows specific criteria which result from specific educational goals.
The pupils' assessment concerns not only the acquired knowledge, but also the development of competences, as well as the formation of attitudes, values and behaviours.
The process of assessment ought to be characterized by transparency, reliability, objectivity and validity. The aims and the criteria for assessment ought not only to be clear, but also to be communicated to the pupils on time.
The pupils' assessment concerns their performance, as well as their progress in comparison to prior performance.
A number of approaches, which are oriented according to the goals, the content and the teaching method of each study subject, as well the age, educational needs and the experiences of pupils, are used during the assessment process. At the same time, the personal characteristics of pupils, the individual pace and pace of progress, the stage of linguistic development, as well as the opportunities each child has in his/her social and family environment are taken into consideration.
The assessment process in primary education appears in a number of forms, which can be briefly presented as follows:
Initial or diagnostic assessment
Initial or diagnostic assessment is mainly performed at the beginning of the learning procedure and especially in the beginning of the school year or at the beginning of a course. It aims at defining the level of prior knowledge and experience, the pupils’ interests and detecting possible difficulties pupils might be facing.
Formative or gradual assessment
This type of assessment is performed during the teaching procedure and consists of a continuous daily practice, which has a mainly informative nature. It aims at the assessment of the progress of each pupil towards the fulfilment of certain educational goals, but also at deciding whether to modify the planned teaching method, in order to help pupils achieve the desired goals.
Final or overall assessment
This type of assessment is used to summarize and offer feedback, in order to assess and compare the level of pupil achievement compared to specified and anticipated pedagogical and educational goals. Final assessment is performed after the completion of a course or a syllabus. The aim is to systematically assess the results of the teaching procedure and pupils' efforts.
Assessment techniques are directly correlated with the particular characteristics, the aims and content of each subject. They aim at exploring the pupils’ cognitive achievements, whilst emphasizing their ability to acquire, manage and apply knowledge in various ways. In addition, they highlight the communicative skills and learning profile of each pupil. Assessment techniques, which at the same time consist of teaching practices and apply to all subjects, include:
- Written questions, with a duration of a few minutes or up to one teaching hour
- Written or oral exams of various types
- Short, guided essays
- Short questions, written or oral
- Summary of content, written or oral
- Judgement tests, which are more appropriate for the assessment of a deeper understanding of the content of a unit or a book
Detailed information on the assessment of each subject taught in primary education can be found on the Cross-thematic Curriculum Framework website at the address: http://www.pi-schools.gr/programs/depps/.
The assessment of pupils during their attendance of primary school is performed per subject and falls within the exclusive responsibility of the teacher or the teachers of the relevant class or grade, Specialised subject teachers, for subjects like Foreign Languages, Music, Arts, Physical Education, etc. are also responsible for the assessment of pupils on their subject.
In accordance with presidential decree 8/1995, the assessment of the progress of each pupil should be based on the following:
- Everyday oral examination and overall participation of the pupil in the educational procedure and relevant school activities
- The pupil’s performance. These criteria form a fundamental part of the school programme and are included in the teaching material. The criteria concerning the assessment of pupils in the last two years of primary school (grades 5 and 6) may be extended so as to include more complicated questions, which could relate to more than one subject
- The work that the pupil prepares as homework or at school.
Pedagogical meetings are carried out at the end of every term - there are 3 in total during the school year. The entire teaching personnel of the school unit participate in these meetings for the assessment of the progress of pupils per grade and school level. Within 10 days from the end of the term, the school head holds a meeting with the parents or the guardians of the pupils, where the latter receive the individual “Performance Assessment” which informs them on the results of the assessment as well as the performance of the pupil during the relevant term.
In Grade 1, the first "Performance Assessment" is handed out at the end of the second term (presidential decree 121/1995 and Ministerial Decision 4358β/2017). In grades 1 and 2, the assessment is only descriptive. The descriptive assessment allows teachers to inform pupils as well as their parents on the results of their efforts, abilities and aptitudes, as well as on any possible weaknesses in specific fields.
In grades 3 and 4, in the "Performance Assessment", apart from the descriptive assessment, the following grading scale is used: “Excellent” (A), “Very Good” (B), “Good” (C), “Almost Good” (D).
In grades 5 and 6, the following additional grading scale is used, which is expressed both verbally and arithmetically: “Excellent” (9-10), “Very Good” (7-8), “Good” (5-6), “Almost Good” (1-4). Pupils with severe cognitive difficulties are assessed with “Almost Good”. These pupils, as well as pupils attending grades 1 and 2, who are facing similar difficulties, benefit from remedial teaching programmes.
At the end of the teaching year, pupils who have attended grades 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 and provided that they fulfil the promotion requirements (as outlined in the following section) are awarded a "Progress Certificate", while pupils who have attended grade 6 are awarded a "Leaving Certificate". On the Progress Certificates awarded at the end of grades 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, only the characterization “Promoted” is written, without any marks, while on the Leaving Certificate, apart from “Promoted”, the verbal characterization of the grade is also written (“Excellent”, “Very Good”, “Good”, “Almost Good”), as well as the equivalent arithmetic symbol which consists of the average yearly performance grade of the pupil. The "Progress Certificate" is a prerequisite for enrolment in the next grade.
Briefing of parents/guardians in pre-primary and primary schools
Briefings on issues of behaviour and the progression of pupils constitute a right for parents/guardians and a responsibility for educators. These briefings, which also include matters of school work and school operation, take place:
- At the beginning of the school year. The school head and teachers inform the parents/guardians, per grade or collectively, on the timetable and the detailed curriculum, the contact hours and days or on general issues that pertain to the behavior, the progression of pupils and school operation.
- At least once a month the teacher of each grade sets a specific day and time, after the end of the lessons of the compulsory programme and within working hours. The day and time of co-operation are recorded in the register book of the school teachers’ board and parents/guardians are notified in good time. In addition, the classroom teacher can meet in exceptional cases with the parents/guardians, if necessary.
- During the school year and within 10 days since the end of term the school head and the classroom teacher are responsible for the organization of this briefing, informing parents of their children’s progress. Briefings are organized by decision of the school teachers’ board and take place beyond the teaching timetable, within working hours and at a time convenient for most parents/guardians.
Progression of pupils
Nipiagogeio (pre-school education)
Under the presidential decree 79/2017, repetition of pre-primary school for children at the age of their transition to grade 1 of primary school, is permissible in cases of serious attending difficulties assessed and confirmed by KESY or by a children’s medical - pedagogical centre evaluation or a relevant certificate from the special education needs and inclusion education coordinator or from an educational coordinator of nipiagogeio teachers, while the parents' consent is required.
In addition, if the absences of a pupil exceed the 100 during the school year, the certificate for enrolment in grade 1 of dimotiko scholeio is provided only by decision of the school teachers' board. It is issued after the educational coordinator of nipiagogeio teachers agrees upon it. Otherwise, the pupil must repeat his/her attendance of nipiagogeio (law 4610/2019).
Dimotiko scholeio (primary school)
In accordance with presidential decree 121/1995, pupils attending grades 1 and 2 progress to the next grade, as long as the teacher of the class believes that they can respond to the daily oral assessments, the assessment criteria included in the teaching material and the work assigned to them either at school or as homework, and that they can participate in the learning procedure and other school activities. Otherwise, they are required to repeat the same grade.
Pupils attending grades 3 and 4 progress to the next grade, as long as the majority of the final average grades of their subjects are other than D. Otherwise, they are required to repeat the same grade.
For pupils attending grades 5 and 6, the yearly progression mark per subject consists of the average of their marks in all 3 terms, as found on the progress assessments of each term. The general mark of yearly progression is calculated by adding the marks which correspond to the yearly progression of each subject and then dividing the total sum by the number of the subjects taught. Pupils attending grades 5 and 6 may progress to the next grade or leave school (in case of graduates), as long as their average mark is 4.5 and above (10 stands for excellent). If the general average mark is under 4.5, the pupil is required to repeat the same grade.
As far as grade retention is concerned, we should note that the majority of educators agree with the view of education experts, according to whom all individuals should be offered the same opportunities to develop to the highest degree every psychological and mental dimension of their personality. For this reason, schools ought to investigate and point out the cognitive difficulties faced by certain pupils in good time, to offer them any possible support either within their classroom or via individualized remedial teaching programmes, so that they can overcome their difficulties and integrate in their class, in this way minimizing the need for repetition of the school grade.
It is self-evident that grade retention concerns not only the teacher, but also the entire school unit. Therefore, the cases of pupils who face the possibility of repeating the grade are a subject of discussion in special pedagogical meetings of the teaching personnel, which are carried out following a decision of the school head. At the same time, the relevant educational coordinator is informed. The latter deals with each case separately, in co-operation with the classroom teacher and the school head, and state his opinion concerning the further progression of the pupil.
Therefore, the percentage of pupils that repeat a grade at primary schools is pretty low. (usually the percentage remains under 1%).
As far as progression to the next grade is concerned, apart from the required minimum marks, as defined in presidential decree 121/1995 presented above, regular attendance for a minimum time period of at least half of the school year is required. However, in case of justified leave for a time period longer than half of the school year, a pupil can progress to the next grade as long as, upon agreement of their parents, the pupil undergoes and succeeds in a relevant examination within the first 10 days of June or the first 10 days of September.
Progression to the next grade equals automatic enrolment of the pupil to the next grade of primary education.
Nipiagogeio (pre-school education)
The pupils who graduate from nipiagogeio receive the “Attendance Certificate”. It is issued by the nipiagogeio unit the pupil has completed at the end of the teaching year, according to the provisions in force for all pre-schools of the country. Attendance Certificates are official public documents. They bear the national logo of the Hellenic Republic, the name of the nipiagogeio issuing it, as well as that of the Regional Directorate of Education and the Directorate of Primary Education in which the school is adherent and the date of issue.
The pre-school attendance certificate is a prerequisite for the pupil’s enrolment to primary school, which is automatic.
Dimotiko scholeio (primary school)
Pupils successfully graduate from primary education provided that the general average mark of their performance, which is calculated according to the average mark of their performance per subject in all 3 terms equals at least 4.5 or above, where 10 equals “Excellent” (The procedure is fully presented in the above section).
Pupils who graduate from primary education successfully are awarded the primary school leaving certification, known as “Leaving Certificate”.
The primary school leaving certificate is provided by the school unit the pupil has graduated from. It is an official public document. It is issued upon completion of the school year, according to the provisions in force for all primary schools of the country. It bears the national logo of the Hellenic Republic, the name of the school unit issuing it, as well as that of the Regional Directorate of Education and the Directorate of Primary Education in which the school is adherent, and the date of issue.
On the primary school leaving certificate, apart from the reference “Graduated”, there is reference of the number, as well as the equivalent word description of the general average grade of yearly performance: “Excellent” (9-10), “Very Good” (7-8), “Good” (5-6).
The primary school leaving certificate is a prerequisite for the pupil’s automatic enrolment to lower secondary education schools.