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Assessment in general upper secondary education


6.Upper secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary Education

6.3Assessment in general upper secondary education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Pupil/Students assessment

The principle of variety is used as a measure to assess learning achievements, such as written, oral and integrated tests, evaluation of individual and group work, and different test works such as diagnostic tests, project works and examinations. A 10-point grading scale is used by the teachers to evaluate educational achievements of pupils in upper-secondary education (classes 10-12) in all the learning subjects:

  • 10 with distinction (izcili),
  • 9 excellent (teicami),
  • 8 very good (ļoti labi),
  • 7 good (labi),
  • 6 almost good (gandrīz labi),
  • 5 satisfactory (viduvēji),
  • 4 almost satisfactory (gandrīz viduvēji),
  • 3 weak (vāji)
  • 2 very weak  (ļoti vāji),
  • 1 very very weak (ļoti, ļoti vāji). 

Pupils receive a school-report showing grades in every subject at the end of each semester. Pupils of the 12th class receive the school- report once a year – at the end of the first school term. The Ministry of Education and Science approves a sample of a school-report to be issued to pupils.

Upon completion of the upper-secondary education there are the centralized examinations (i.e. examinations developed and evaluated at national, not school level) where another system of evaluation is used. The educational achievements of pupils are evaluated at six levels (A, B, C, D, E, F levels, where A is the top level and F is the lowest level). The levels of evaluation at the foreign language examination are determined according to the recommendations of the Council of Europe. In other subjects the Ministry of Education and Science works out the levels of evaluation.

From 2012/13 student performance in the centralized examinations is assessed and presented only in the form of percentage. The certificate indicates the percentage of the resulting total score as well as each part of the exam percentage scores. Centralized foreign language examination results are expressed as B1, B2 or C1 language proficiency level according to the average educational standard requirements for language proficiency levels and the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages. The assessment of students who fail to achieve B1, B2 and C1 language proficiency level are expressed in percentage.

Progression of pupils/students

With the school year 2012/2013 the progress of general upper-secondary pupils (grades 10-11) to the next grade is automatic. In case of underachievement a school determines additional learning activities for a pupil. It is possible to repeat the year at upper-secondary level only in an exceptional case, if because of a justified absence it is not possible for a pupil to get a final evaluation.


At the end of upper-secondary school one has to complete and receive assessment in all courses prescribed by the chosen programme and to pass final centralised examinations. The contents and procedure of taking exams is defined by the Cabinet of Ministers. Graduates have to take at least 4 exams. According to the national standard there are mandatory exams in Latvian language and literature, foreign language and mathematics. And the 4th is an exam developed and offered by the National Centre for Education and/or one exam offered by the school and chosen by the pupil himself.

The content and materials of the exams are developed by the National Centre for Education. An exam can be written or combined (written and oral or written and with a practical performance). 

In January 2014, the government decided to introduce the 5th mandatory exam in chemistry or physics/natural sciences (depends on educational programme, choice of pupils). In April 2016 the National Centre for Education organised a pilot centralised national test and assessment of its results in chemistry, physics and natural science for the 12th grade students. A subject of test – whether it is physics, chemistry or integrated subject of natural science – is optional for students.

National tests' dates

Every year the Cabinet of Ministers approves dates of compulsory centralised examinations. For the school year 2020/21 following dates are scheduled for the national tests at the end of upper-secondary level (however there might be some changes in dates because of epidemiological situation in spring 2021):

One foreign language centralised examination by student’s choice (combined content):

  • English –16 March (written part), 16, 17 and 18 March 2021 (oral part),
  • German –17 March 2021 (both written and orally),
  • Russian – 18 March (written part), 18 and 19 March 2021 (oral part),
  • French – 19 March 2021 (both in writing and orally).

Mandatory centralised examinations in:

  • Latvian language – 18 May 2021 (examination in writing),
  • Mathematics – 21 May 2021 (examination in writing).

One centralised examination by student’s choice:

  • History of Latvia and the World history  - 24 May 2021 (examination in written form),
  • Biology – 1 June 2021 (examination in written form),
  • Chemistry – 26 May 2021 (examination in written form),
  • Physics – 28 May 2021 (examination in written form),
  • Informatics – 3 June (written part), 3 and 4 June 2021 (practical test),
  • Geography – 7 June 2021 (examination in written form),
  • Economics – 9 June 2021 (examination in written form),
  • Russian ethnic minority language and literature – 11 June 2021 (examination in written form).

Education documents/diploma

The amendment (2003) of the General Education Law states that if a pupil has not received assessment in one of the subjects (a yearly mark) or in one of the state examinations, or has received a mark below "4" in more than two of them, he/she receives only a school-report. The diploma of general upper-secondary education atestāts par vispārējo vidējo izglītību is handed-out only to graduates who have received assessment in all compulsory subjects (the mark must be "4" or higher; an assessment below "4" can be maximum in two subjects) as well as have successfully passed all compulsory state examinations which, at the same time, serve as the criteria for enrolment in a higher education institution.

Along with a diploma on general upper-secondary education an achievement sheet, where final marks in all subjects and state exams are noted, is also issued by the school.