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Assessment in single-structure education


5.Single-structure primary and lower secondary education

5.3Assessment in single-structure education

Last update: 21 March 2024

Assessment of pupils

A wide range of diagnostic assessment, used to measure pupils’ actual knowledge and ability levels, as well as formative and summative assessment, applied in connection with the assessment of their study progress and learning development, is used in the practice of the Hungarian single structure schools.  

Diagnostic measurement are typically linked to school changes. School admission tests applied in the period of kindergarten-to-school transition and at the first grade of single structure school belong to such diagnostics. Kindergartens, pedagogical assistance services and expert committees use various assessment tools. However, Diagnostic System of Assessing Development (DIFER, Diagnosztikus fejlődésvizsgáló rendszer)  of Hungarian development is increasingly used. This system of tools can be effectively used in kindergarten, in the period of transition from kindergarten to school and for lower graders in the diagnostics of criteria-oriented development of pupils’ cognitive abilities and their development.

Since 2001, a national system of diagnostic measurements has been developed and implemented through the National Assessment of Basic Competences. The original aim was to provide feedback on the performance of schools, but the assessment system has evolved in such a way that it is now able to provide information on the pupil’s individual progress to the students themselves, parents and teachers.

In primary schools, competences were measured in two grades (6th and 8th) in two areas (reading comprehension and mathematics) until 2021.

In the early 2020s the system of the Assessment of Basic Competences has been transformed. On one hand, the system has moved to a digital platform (the previously paper-based assessment is now entirely online), on the other hand the areas of assessment have increased and the number of participants has also expanded.

In 2022, the assessment was extended to all grades from 4 to 11 (4 to 8 in primary schools). Also in 2022, foreign languages and foreign (target) languages were included in the competence assessment system, and from the same year onwards, natural science competences are also measured. (From 2024, two new measurement areas, digital culture and history will be added to the assessment system, initially as a pilot.)

In addition to the national reports, the Education Authority also publishes reports of the results of the competency assessment at site, school and (until 2021) maintainer level. (Reports between 2008-2021: Az országos mérések eredményei (2008-2021-es FIT jelentések); from 2021: Az országos mérések eredményei)

The method of assessment of pupil achievement is regulated under the Act on Public Education (2011. évi CXC. Törvény a Nemzeti Köznevelésről).  Educators shall regularly evaluate the performance and progress of pupils during the academic year by marks and assess their half-year and year-end achievements by grades. The evaluation and assessment of the pupil's behaviour and diligence is carried out by the class teacher, after consulting the other teachers who teach in the class. Half-year and year-end grades shall be based on the marks obtained. Mid-term marks and end-of-year grades are accompanied by either an oral or written assessment. The school’s teaching staff collectively decide on whether or not a pupil is allowed to pass to a higher grade after reviewing the marks and grades awarded to the pupil at the end of the school year. The teacher informs the student and his/her parents about the grades through the academic administration system - in the form of a mid-term report and a certificate at the end of the year. The grades and the marks shall not be used as a disciplinary tool in the assessment and evaluation of the pupil's performance and diligence. Details of the student's absence must be recorded immediately in the academic administration system on the day of the absence.

A five-level scale is used to assess and grade the pupil's knowledge as follows: excellent (5), good (4), satisfactory (3), pass (2) and fail (1). Pupils’ conduct should be assessed on a four-step scale as follows: exemplary (5), good (4), varying (3), bad (2). The evaluation of pupils’ diligence differs from that of pupils’ conduct only in the designation of the lowest mark, i.e. “indolent”. Requirements for each mark and grade of conduct and diligence are set out in the school’s pedagogy programme and house rules. 

In the first grade the mid-term and a year-end school report, in the second grade the mid-term school report contains marks in written form. It must be expressed in the report that the pupil has performed excellently, well or satisfactorily, or needs to catch up. With an approved framework curriculum or the permission of the Minister responsible for education, a school may decide and lay down in its pedagogy programme that pupils’ performance is evaluated in writing at the end of second grade and in higher grades too. If the school does not use the forms of assessment specified by law, but it is necessary due to a change of school or further education and the pupil or his/her parents request, the school is obliged to complete the mid-term and year-end assessments with grades.

Formative assessment of a pupil’s progress and development takes place on an ongoing basis. Teachers are free to select and use particular tools and methods used for the purposes of formative assessment, within the framework laid down in the school’s local curriculum. Recitation (oral delivery of lessons), when a pupil should, in the classroom, recite memorized minor units of the curricular material in response to the teacher’s questions, is the most popular tool of formative assessment. Since this tool is quite time-consuming to use, especially in higher grades, short essays and answers in writing by all pupil simultaneously in a relatively short period of time (5 to 20 minutes), as well as the checking of written homework are widely used within the framework of specialist education. The final essay that pupils have to write at the end of each major unit of the curricular material, the written report on the material of several lessons and, rarely, the internal exam taken in alternative schools are the tools of summative assessment. In lower grades, summative assessment frequently uses various symbols (red dot or tale figures), too. 

Teachers aim at assessing each pupil’s achievement in each subject at least once a month. The electronic report card automatically informs parents about marks and other important information. Depending on the institution's settings, the information recorded in the electronic class register is immediately available to the student and his/her parents. The electronic report card can be used with any browser and from any ICT device.

Progression of Pupils

A pupil may pass to a higher school grade if he/she successfully fulfils the prescribed study requirements by the end of the school year, i.e. he/she has scored, on the basis of his/her mid-year study achievement or performance at the supplementary examination, at least a pass (2) mark in each subject. A pupil who has failed a subject at the end of the school year is allowed to sit a repeat exam before the start of the next school year. His/her progress to the next grade is conditioned on the successful exam passing (achieving at least a pass mark). The pupil whose total justified and unjustified absence from school exceeds the maximum permissible period specified by law – thus his/her performance during the school year could not be assessed with a grade – should repeat the grade unless he/she is allowed by the teaching staff to take a supplementary examination.

A pupil whose individual ability and level of development necessitates – on the basis of the opinion of the Committee of Experts – the head shall exempt from the rating of marks and grades, and prescribe to be rated textually instead.

In order to support the effective preparation of a grade 1-4 pupil, if necessary, the school should facilitate individual sessions at least twice a week. This provision shall be applied also if a pupil subject to compulsory schooling fails to complete the same class for the second subsequent time.

Compulsory schooling can be completed starting from grade 5 in 8-grade; form grade 7 in 6-grade secondary institutions. Enrolment can be completed at the discretion of the pupil or the parents. School admission shall be decided by the head of the secondary school, solely on the basis of the learning outcomes or the results of the centrally organized unified written examination and oral audition.


Pupils receive a certificate of completion of the study requirements for each grade and for the Upper Secondary School leaving examination, the professional exam, the basic art exam and the final art exam, which is issued by the class teacher. Regardless of the type of school, the certificate of successful completion of the eighth grade provides that the pupil has completed basic education, which is required for the pupil to progress in majority education. Assessment is mostly based on the pupil’s continuous performance during the school year.

The certificate and the document on which the certificate is based on are authentic instruments. The production and distribution of the certificate and the form on which the certificate is based is subject to the authorization of the Minister responsible for education. The certificate shall be issued in Hungarian, or if the school education is conducted wholly or partly in the language of one of the national minorities or in another foreign language - in two languages: in Hungarian and in the language of the school.

The certificate must include the name, the OM ID, the address and the stamp of the school. The formal elements of the certificate shall be governed by law (Ministry of Human Capacities Decree  20/2012. (VIII. 31.)  on the Operation of the Educational Institutions and the Use of Names of the Public Education Institutions. The certificate must also include: (a) its serial number, (b) the serial number of the certificate supplement, (c) the student's name, educational identification number, place and date of birth, mother's name at birth, (d) the student's registry sheet number, (e) the academic year and number of the grade completed, (f) the number of hours missed by the student, including the number of unjustified failures, (g) the assessment of the student's diligence and behaviour, except for elementary art schools, (h) the subjects studied by the student. (i) the necessary clause, (j) the decision of the board of educators, (k) the place and time of issue, the imprint of the school's round stamp, (l) the signature of the school head and the head teacher.

The school may not refuse the issuance of the certificate for any reason. The school procedure for handling certificate forms is prescribed by law (Decree 20/2012 of the Ministry of Human Capacities on the Operation of the Educational Institutions and the Use of Names of the Public Education Institutions).