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Assessment in primary education


5.Primary education

5.3Assessment in primary education

Last update: 27 November 2023

Pupil assessment

Formative and summative assessment reports

With the competence-based approach, new assessment instruments and processes have been introduced. Their main function is to inform pupils on their own progress and to give them the means to advance in their learning process.

Teachers regularly evaluate their pupils by the means of different methods such as tests, analysis of pupils’ works, observation, classroom exercises and so on. Parents are informed on a regular basis: Individual consultations with the class teacher (titulaire de classe) take place three times a year, at the end of each three-month term.

Reporting to pupils and parents is based on daily work, tests and so on and relates to the basic skills levels (socles des compétences) defined for the respective learning cycle. Feedback is provided by means of the following instruments:

  • Intermediate assessment report: at the end of the 1st and the 3rd three-month term of each school year (that is before the Christmas and the summer holidays), the pedagogical team sets up an intermediate assessment report on the child’s development and his or her learning achievements. As a formative instrument, this report documents the child’s individual progress related to the learning objectives (basic skills levels) defined for the end of the cycle. This document is discussed with the children and the parents
  • Meeting with parents: at the end of the 2nd three-month term, another meeting with the pupils’ parents takes place before the Easter holidays. Teachers provide an update on the pupil’s progress
  • End-of-cycle assessment report: at the end of each learning cycle, pupils receive an end-of-cycle assessment report, which certifies the skills levels they have achieved at the end of this cycle.

The intermediate assessment report and the end-of-cycle assessment report refer to the basic skills levels (socles de compétences) that pupils have to develop during a learning cycle. They do not comprise any grades or marks. The reports are discussed with the parents during an individual meeting with the teacher. At this occasion, the teacher explains how the child has been performing in view of the objectives to be attained and which efforts remain to be undertaken.

The intermediate assessment reports are delivered together with a booklet explaining the levels of competence. For parents' information this booklet is available in different linguistic versions: English, French, German, Portuguese and Serbo-Croatian.

The new assessment reports, as used from school year 2016/17, are further explained on the ministry of Education's website.

Pupils’ portfolios

The pupils’ portfolio is an individual collection of works realised by pupils in relation with specific learning objectives. Developed by the ministry of Education, it may be used by elementary school teachers on a voluntary basis in order to understand, to monitor and to document a child’s progress and his or her learning achievements.

This collection of a child’s works helps teachers to establish assessment reports.

The portfolio mainly comprises two types of information:

  1. Works done by the pupil, such as oral and written exercises, video documentation, photos or transcriptions
  2. Personal reflections by the pupil on these works (self-assessment).

The pupils take an active part in selecting the work to be included in their portfolio and defining the quality criteria and quality assessment. During the meetings with parents, teachers may provide explanations on the basis of the works collected.

Pupils' progression

Within the same learning cycle, promotion to the next year occurs automatically.

The basic skills levels (socles de competences) to be attained by the end of each learning cycle are defined by the curriculum framework of elementary education. In principle, pupils should have developed these respective skills before moving to the next cycle.

Pupils usually stay in a learning cycle for two years. In certain cases, the pedagogical team (équipe pédagogique) may decide to reduce or extend this duration. Thus, a pupil who has achieved the basic skills levels within one year may already be promoted to the next cycle, while a pupil who has not achieved these skills may benefit from an additional third year. In practice, teachers rarely decide to reduce a learning cycle to one school year.

If a pupil has to stay longer within a cycle, the pedagogical team has to take the decision before the 15th June of the current year. An adapted individual programme for this third year has to be developed. However, before such a decision is taken and as soon as difficulties become apparent, the pedagogical team has to support the pupil by the means of differentiated teaching while keeping the parents informed of his or her progress.

In both cases, parents may lodge an appeal within 15 days of being informed of the decision. The district inspector then takes a decision within a month.


At the end of cycle 4, the elementary school delivers an end-of-cycle assessment report, which certifies that the pupil has the competences required to get on to secondary education. For each field of competence, the report states the competence level attained by the pupil. The assessment is carried out by the pedagogical team on the basis of all information gathered in the different situations and contexts.

Transition from the 4th cycle of elementary education towards secondary education

As of school year 2016/17, the process of guidance towards secondary education starts at cycle 4.1 of elementary school and spans over the two last years of fundamental education.

  • At cycle 4.1, three end-of-term individual meetings are held between the class teacher and the parents. A first prognosis is established by the pupil’s teacher at the end of the third trimester and transmitted to the parents. It includes all available information on educational provision at secondary level: information on general and technical secondary education, but also on international provision (e. g. École internationale de Differdange), ALLET classes (German taught as a foreign language), French-speaking and English-speaking classes, international baccalaureate in French or English, etc.
  • At cycle 4.2, two individual meetings of teacher and parents are planned, the second of which at the beginning of the 3rd term. At that time, the end-of cycle assessment report and the intermediate assessment report are transmitted to the parents. A third meeting of teacher and parents is held at the end of cycle 4.2. This is the final guidance meeting (entretien d'orientation), as a result of which a common decision is taken.

The guidance decision is based on the pupil’s learning achievements and progress during the 4th cycle, personal interests, assessment by the teacher, the results of the national non-standardised tests (épreuves communes) in German, French and mathematics, and –if asked by the parents– the opinion of a psychologist.

If parents and teacher disagree about the decision, a guidance council (commission d'orientation) will take a decision based both on the analysis of the documents transmitted by the class teacher and on the discussions, notably with parents, class teacher and psychologist, all of them participating with voting rights as invited members to the guidance council.

The procedure does not include any entry examination to access secondary education.