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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Assessment in general secondary education


6.Secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education

6.3Assessment in general secondary education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Pupil/students assessment

In classic secondary education, students' assessment is mainly based on summative evaluations, i.e. periodical tests on contents which have been taught recently. Depending on the subjects, one, two or three tests per term may be organised. These tests may be written or oral. They form the basis of the students' quarterly (or in some classes mid-year) school report, which provides relevant information on their progress.

Marks are established on a scale from 1 to 60 points. A test is successfully completed if it scores 30 points or more.

In each subject matter, the quarterly mark -or semester mark- represents the average of all quarterly (or semester) tests. The teacher may adjust this average mark by up to 4 points (positive or negative) according to the student’s efforts and application, for example.

The annual general mark is the weighted average (according to each subject's coefficient) of all the annual marks of the subjects taught, as defined by the official time grid of the class concerned (see 'Syllabus and number of lessons' in sub-chapter 6.2).

At the end of each term (or by mid-year), the parents (or the adult students) receive a report mentioning, among others:

  • Quarterly (or semester) marks of the subjects taught
  • The general quarterly (or semester) mark
  • Remedial measures in case of insufficient results.

The report at the end of the school year also includes additional details:

  • Each subject's annual mark
  • The general annual mark
  • Promotion decision (positive or not) towards the higher class
  • Guidance advice (at the end of classes 7e and 4e in classic secondary; at the end of 5e in general secondary education)

In lower secondary education, the competence-based approach adopted since 2007 has introduced several formative aspects:

  • The different functions of assessment are produced in detail:
    • Formative evaluation: helping the student to become aware of their strengths and weaknesses while documenting their learning process
    • Certification of the student's individual knowledge and competences at the end of a learning period
    • Serve as a basis for the student's guidance.
  • With a view to these objectives, the school reports are complemented by a report supplement which provides an additional detailed assessment of the learner’s competences. In the example on the graph below, competences in French are specified as related to writing, comprehension and communication skills.

Bulletin 7e.png

(source: ministry of Education)

  • Common nation-wide tests are held during the third year of lower secondary education in order to allow learners to situate their competences and determine the efforts they need to make until the end of the cycle. These evaluations are also also help pupils define their future studies or professional outlook.

Progression of pupils/students

Progression from one class to the next

At the end of the school year, the class council deliberates on each student's promotion.

The class council consists of the teachers of all subjects taught, a member of the psychology service (SePAS) and the school's headmaster.

Its decision on progression is based on the learner's quarterly (or semester) school reports of the full year.

As provided by the current legislation, there may be three cases:

  1. Success: the student has obtained sufficient marks in all subjects, or may compensate insufficient marks by a good average mark; the compensation mechanism is specified by grand-ducal regulation (Art. 6, §3 of the coordinated text [texte coordonné])
  2. Failure: the student fails if the marks are insufficient in one third or more of the total number of disciplines. There may be an exception to this rule in lower secondary education, where insufficient marks in more than a third of the disciplines may be compensated with a general mark higher than 45 points (from a total of 60points)
  3. Referral: the student has neither passed the class with success, nor failed.  

(Coordinated text [Texte coordonné] of the grand-ducal regulation of 14 July 2005 on students' assessment and promotion in secondary education, Art. 6).

Referral (ajournement) means that the students concerned have to perform either a holiday assignment (travail de vacances) or a revision assignment (travail de révision):

  • The holiday assignment (travail de vacances) is systematically sanctioned by an examination at the beginning of the following school year. If the result is sufficient, the students have passed the class with success; if not, they fail
  • As for the revision assignment (travail de révision), the class council may decide to have the students concerned pass a test at the beginning of the following school year. This examination may count as the first mark for the first term or semester of the beginning year. A revision assignment may also be imposed on students benefitting from compensation.

Class repetition

In case of failure, the class council will recommend either a change to a different learning pathway, or a class repetition. The parents (or the adult learner) may opt for class repetition if the following conditions are fulfilled:

  • The learner won't repeat a class more than once, except the last class, which may be redone twice. Exceptional circumstances may be taken into account by the class council for serious conditions (e.g. illness)
  • The learner will have to follow the remediation measures decided by the class council

Progression from lower to upper secondary education

At the end of lower secondary education (class 4e, students aged 15-16 years), the class council establishes a guidance profile for each learner. This profile specifies the educational programmes that a pupil may access and those which are recommended by the class council, based on the learner's strengths and interests, professional projects and learning prospects.

Choice of specialisation

At the beginning of upper secondary education, the fourth comprehensive class aims at consolidating the knowledge acquired so far and at guiding pupils towards one of the nine specialisation cycles.

At the end of this class, the class council issues, in cooperation with the lycée's Service for educational and psychosocial follow-up and guidance (SePAS; Service psycho-social et d'accompagnement scolaires), a written non-compulsory recommendation on the learner’s choice on the basis of all the information they dispose of.

Access conditions to the various specialised sections in classic secondary education, respectively in general secondary education, are defined by grand-ducal regulation (see Art. 10 of the coordiated text of 14 July 2005).

The sections available in ESG are listed on Eurydice subchapter 6.4 under the title 'Regimes of intermediate and higher technical secondary education'.


Secondary school leaving diploma

At the end of the last year of secondary education, the students submit an examination with a view to obtaining the secondary school leaving diploma. This certification grants unrestricted access to higher education in all disciplines.

Examination subjects and modalities are defined by the grand-ducal regulation of 28 July 2017.

The final mark of each examination subject is made up of one third annual mark and two thirds examination mark.

Additionnally to the written tests, each candidate must also pass two oral examinations. The oral test counts for one quarter of the examination mark in that given subject.

The classic secondary school leaving examination covers six disciplines. It includes six written and two oral tests. The 6 study fields are distributed as follows:

  • 2 disciplines from the 'languages and mathematics' panel
  • 3 from the 'specialisation' panel
  • 1 from the 'general education' panel.

The remaining subject matters are evaluated with an annual average mark, which is taken into account for the calculation of the certification's final mark and the grade specified on the diploma.

The diploma complement

Since school year 2017/18, the Luxembourgish secondary school leaving certification has become more comprehensive: it includes a diploma complement retracing the student's efforts, while also reflecting the specificities of the national school system. This complementary document aims at maximising the students' chances to be admitted to the university of their choice.

The secondary school leaving diploma complement informs about:

  • All the final marks of the subjects studied in the last year ('première')
  • Mention of the disciplines studied in the second but last year ('deuxième'), without the marks.

The certification also includes a folder in which the lycée certifies the student's implication in school-related contexts (student committee, extra-curricular activities, projects, etc.). The student is also asked to complete this information by attestations of social or other activities (scoutism, voluntary work, sports or cultural commitments etc.).

The diploma merit or distinction grade

The merit or distinction grade of the secondary school leaving diploma is determined by the average of the final marks:

  • 36-39: 'quite good'
  • 40-47: 'good'
  • 48-51: 'very good'
  •  ≥ 52 : 'excellent'.