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Assessment in general upper secondary education

Poland

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

6.3Assessment in general upper secondary education

Last update: 6 February 2023

Pupil assessment

The assessment system for all types of secondary schools is based on the amended School Education Act of 7 September 1991 (ustawa z dnia 7 września 1991 r. o systemie oświaty).

Internal assessment

Internal assessment of pupils' learning achievements involves assessing the level of knowledge and skills and the progress made in relation to the learning requirements based on the curricula. It is mainly formative assessment. Internal assessment covers learning achievements and behaviour.

Internal assessment aims to:

  1. inform pupils about their learning achievements and behaviour, and their progress in this respect;
  2. support pupils in learning by providing feedback to them on where they have performed well and how they should continue to learn;
  3. support pupils in the individual planning of their development;
  4. motivate pupils to make further progress in learning and behaviour;
  5. provide parents (legal guardians) and teachers with the information on pupils' progress or learning difficulties, behaviour and special talents;
  6. enable teachers to improve organisational approaches and methods used in their educational activities.

Internal evaluation includes:

  1. defining educational requirements to obtain individual end-of-semester (mid-year) and end-of-year marks for compulsory and additional classes;
  2. setting criteria for the assessment of behaviour;
  3. conducting assessment on an on-going basis, and giving end-of-semester and end-of-year marks for compulsory and additional classes, and end-of-semester and end-of-year marks for behaviour according to the scale and in the forms approved in a given school;
  4. conducting so-called qualifying exams (for example, for pupils who did not attend classes in a given semester);
  5. defining conditions and procedures for pupils wishing to improve their expected end-of-semester and end-of-year marks for compulsory and additional classes, and their end-of-semester and end-of-year marks for behaviour;
  6. defining conditions and procedures for pupils wishing to improve their expected end-of-year and (in post-secondary schools) end-of-semester marks for classes and end-of-semester and end-of-year marks for behaviour;
  7. defining conditions and procedures for providing parents (legal guardians) with information on pupils' progress or learning difficulties.

Teachers assess pupils separately in each subject. Marks for subjects are given by teachers of individual subjects. The end-of-year assessment takes into account the results of the assessment carried out during the year. Assessment is based on single, end-of-semester (mid-year) and end-of-year marks.

The teacher uses the following marking scale to assess pupils’ learning achievements: 6 – excellent (celujący), 5 - very good (bardzo dobry), 4 – good (dobry), 3 – satisfactory (dostateczny), 2 – acceptable (dopuszczający), 1 – unsatisfactory (niedostateczny). When giving marks in physical education, teachers should consider, in particular, the pupil’s efforts to fulfil specific requirements of the subject. School marks and marking criteria should be made available to pupils and their parents.

Where this is provided for in the school statutes, teachers in post-primary schools can use descriptive assessment as single, end-of-semester / mid-year and end-of-year marks in all or selected compulsory or optional subjects.

Pupils receive marks for their behaviour (conduct) according to the following scale: excellent (wzorowe), very good (bardzo dobre), good (dobre), acceptable (poprawne), unacceptable (nieodpowiednie), and inadmissible (naganne). In principle, the mark for behaviour has no influence on subject marks, the promotion to a higher grade or graduation. However, in specific cases, the school's teaching council may decide that the pupil cannot be promoted to the next grade or finish the school if he/she has received an inadmissible mark for behaviour at the end of two consecutive school years.

Pupils may take a so-called qualifying examination if they or their parents consider that the end-of-semester or end-of-year mark given by the teacher is too low.

Special regulations have been adopted to provide access to education to Ukrainian citizens enjoying temporary protection in Poland in accordance with the Council Implementation Decision (EU) 2022/382 of 4 March 2022 establishing the existence of a mass influx of displaced persons from Ukraine within the meaning of Article 5 of Directive 2001/55/EC, and having the effect of introducing temporary restrictions. These include provisions of Articles 50 to 59 of the Act of 12 March 2022 on the assistance for citizens of Ukraine in connection with the armed conflict on its territory (ustawa z dnia 12 marca 2022 r. o pomocy obywatelom Ukrainy w związku z konfliktem zbrojnym na terytorium tego państwa), and the Regulation of the Minister of Education and Science of 21 March 2022 on the organisation of education and care for children and young people who are Ukrainian nationals (rozporządzenie Ministra Edukacji i Nauki z dnia 21 marca 2022 r. w sprawie organizacji kształcenia, wychowania i opieki dzieci i młodzieży będących obywatelami Ukrainy).

Schools may establish so-called preparatory units (classes) for Ukrainian pupils to facilitate their adaptation in the Polish education system, for example, to help them learn the Polish language and fill in any gaps resulting from differences between curricula. Teaching in such units can be organised in so-called inter-school groups (for pupils from different schools). Pupils may learn in a preparatory unit for a maximum of 2 school years in total.

In the school years 2021/2022 and 2022/2023, pupils of Ukrainian nationality in Polish schools, including post-primary schools, can be exempt from end-of-year assessment on the condition that they attend preparatory classes and the teaching council of a school establishes that: (1) the pupil has no or insufficient knowledge of the Polish language to follow regular classes; or (2) the range of classes taught in a preparatory unit does not make it possible to conduct an end-of-year assessment. In the school year 2022/2023, Ukrainian pupils in preparatory units are not subject to mid-year-assessment either.

External assessment / Summative assessment

The maturity exam is conducted for pupils who finish general and technical secondary schools (and general and technical upper secondary schools of the pre-reform system) and stage II sectoral vocational schools.

The arrangements for the maturity exam are laid down in the School Education Act (ustawa z dnia 7 września 1991 r. o systemie oświaty) (Articles 44zzb to 44zzp) and the Regulation of the Minister of National Education of 1 August 2022 on the maturity examination (rozporządzenie Ministra Edukacji i Nauki z dnia 1 sierpnia w sprawie egzaminu maturalnego) (based on Article 44zzza of the School Education Act). The exam is based on the requirements set out in the core curriculum.

Currently, the maturity exam consists of two parts: the oral part, which is internal and assessed at the school, and the written part, which is external, set by the Central Examination Board (Centralna Komisja Egzaminacyjna) and assessed by examiners listed on the registers of the Regional Examination Boards (Okręgowa Komisja Egzaminacyjna).

The written part covers the following compulsory subjects: Polish language, Mathematics, Modern foreign language and a National minority language; an exam in the National minority language as a compulsory subject is taken only by pupils who have finished a school or class with a national minority language as the language of tuition. Written exams in all these compulsory subjects are taken at the basic level. Additionally, for the written part, pupils should choose up to 5 subjects from a list which includes: Biology; Chemistry; Philosophy; Physics; Geography; History; History of music; History of art; History of dance, Computer science / Information technology; Latin and ancient culture; Minority language (ethnic or national); Modern foreign language; Polish language; Regional language; Mathematics; Civic education. All additional subjects in the written part are taken at the advanced level.

The oral part, assessed by the schoolteachers, covers compulsory and additional subjects. Compulsory subjects include the Polish language; a Modern foreign language; a National minority language (only for pupils who have finished a school or class with this language as the language of tuition). Additionally, one subject should be chosen from the list including: a Modern foreign language; Ethnic minority language; National minority language; Regional language. The level (basic or advanced) is not defined for oral examinations.

The list of Modern foreign languages from which pupils choose those to be taken at the maturity exam includes English, French, Spanish, German, Russian and Italian.

To pass the maturity exam, pupils should: (a) score at least 30% of the points available for each compulsory subject, in both the written and oral parts; and (b) score at least 30% of the points available in at least one additional subject in the written part.

Results of the maturity exam are, in principle, final and may not be challenged in a court of justice. However, pupils may file an appeal with the Examination Arbitration Committee (Kolegium Arbitrażu Egzaminacyjnego) in case they have checked out their marked examination paper and their request to the Director of the relevant Regional Examination Board to verify the scores given has been refused. They may also improve their results by re-taking the relevant part ofthe exam; detailed arrangements are laid down in the School Education Act.

Progression of pupils / students

Pupils are promoted to a higher grade if they have received ‘acceptable’ (2) or higher marks for all compulsory subjects at the end of the school year. Pupils who have received one ‘unsatisfactory’ (1) mark can take a ‘resit’ exam in the subject concerned. A pupil who has not passed the exam is required to repeat a year.

The school's teaching council may promote conditionally a pupil who has received mark 1 (unsatisfactory) in only one subject. A pupil can be conditionally promoted to the next grade only once during the entire education cycle in a given type of school.

If pupils did not attend more than 50% of compulsory classes and, thus, there is no basis for assessment, they can take a so-called qualifying exam on an agreed date.

Certification

All public secondary schools, and non-public secondary schools that comply with the requirements set for public schools, award standardised certificates (the layout of these documents and rules for filling them in are laid down in the legislation).

Upon finishing a general secondary school, pupils receive a school leaving certificate (świadectwo ukończenia liceum ogólnokształcącego), based on end-of-year marks for all subjects in the final grade, without results of the final examination. The certificate provides access to a post-secondary (non-tertiary) school or the maturity exam.

General secondary school graduates who have passed the maturity exam receive a maturitycertificate (świadectwo dojrzałości). The certificate includes the results of the written and oral parts of the exam. Those who have re-taken the exam and improved their results in one or more subjects (or have taken the exam in additional subjects) receive an annex to the certificate. The certificate and its annexes are issued by the Regional Examination Boards. The maturity certificate provides access to higher education.

A graduate who has not passed the maturity exam receives information on the exam results provided by the competent Regional Examination Board.