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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Assessment in general upper secondary education


6.Secondary and post-secondary non-tertiary education

6.6Assessment in general upper secondary education

Last update: 15 February 2023

Pupil/Students assessment

The Government, through the Ministry of Education and Vocational Training (MEFP), in consultation with the autonomous communities, is responsible for designing the basic aspects of the curriculum in relation to, among others, the assessment criteria for each stage, in order to ensure a common education throughout the national territory.

The evaluation criteria are the specific referent to assess the learning process of the students. They indicate the levels of performance expected of students in activities or situations referred to in the specific competences for each subject at a given moment in their learning process.

They are completed and specified by the educational authorities in their respective administrative scopes. The educational institutions also do so in their programmes, while the Teachers’ Assemblies are responsible for setting the criteria for pupil’s assessment.

In the school year 2022/2023, the amendments introduced in Organic Law 3/2020 (LOMLOE) which amends Organic Law 2/2006 on Education (LOE) regarding the curriculum, organisation and objectives of bachillerato studies in the first year (Royal Decree 243/2022)  have been implemented. However, in the second year these will not be implemented until the following year, so the regulation of these aspects for that level in the academic year 2022/23 is based on Royal Decree 984/2021. In addition, for the 2nd year in bachillerato the assessable learning standards introduced by the revoked Organic Law 8/2013 for the improvement of the quality of education (LOMCE), are of an indicative nature.

During this stage special emphasis is placed on the educational and vocational guidance of students incorporating the gender perspective.

Bachillerato education assessment has these characteristics:

  • The assessment of pupils is continuous and differentiated according to the different subjects. 
  • The teachers of each subject determines, at the end of the course, whether each student has achieved the objectives and reached the appropriate level of acquisition of the corresponding skills.
  • Students may sit an extraordinary exam for the subjects they have not passed, on the dates determined by each educational administration.
  • Teachers assess student learning, teaching processes and their own teaching practice.
  • In those Autonomous Communities which have more than one official language according to their Statutes, students may be excused from the assessment of the Co-official Language and Literature subjects, as established by their regional regulations.
  • Teachers make widespread use of varied, diverse and flexible assessment instruments adapted to the different learning situations that allow for the objective assessment of all students, and which also ensure that the conditions for the processes associated with assessment are adapted to the needs of students with specific educational support needs.

The results of the assessment are expressed in numerical grades from zero to ten without decimals, and grades lower than five are considered negative. When students do not attend the extraordinary tests, they will be marked as Not Attended (NP - No presentado). In addition, a standardised average mark will also be included, calculated without taking into account the grade for the Religion subject.

The educational authorities may establish procedures for awarding an Honourable Mention or Matrícula de Honor for students who have shown excellent academic performance at the end of the stage.

With regard to the communication of assessment results throughout the academic year, the following characteristics are present:

  • It is made in writing to the families at least on a quarterly basis.
  • It has no official academic value, but is key to consider whether the student's progress is adequate.
  • Whoever is tutoring each class group, as class teacher, is responsible for informing the families regularly about the students’ progress and any difficulties identified.

In the case of pupils with special educational needs, the assessment reference points are those included in the corresponding adaptations to the curriculum, without this fact preventing them from being promoted or obtaining a qualification. In turn, it is necessary to establish flexibility measures and methodological alternatives in the assessment of the foreign languages for students with specific educational support needs with difficulties in comprehension and expression in said language.

Progression of pupils/students

The Government, through the MEFP, is responsible for establishing the general criteria for student promotion. This regulation is found in article 36 of the LOE, as amended by the LOMLOE, in article 20 of Royal Decree 984/2021, and in article 21 of Royal Decree 243/2022. 

The educational authorities define these in their respective management areas and they are applied at the end of the first year in the stage.

Students progress to the second year of the stage in the following cases:

  • If they have passed all the subjects studied.
  • If they have a negative evaluation in one or two subjects. In this case, the student must enrol in the pending subjects and participate in the remedial and evaluation activities organized by the school within the organisational framework established by the education administrations.

In 2009, the MEFP and the education authorities of Andalucía, Aragón, Asturias, Illes Balears, Islas Canarias, Cantabria, Castilla León, Castilla-La Mancha, Cataluña, Extremadura, Galicia and País Vasco signed an agreement on the conditions for the repetition of the 1st year of Bachillerato for students who fail three or four subjects of the first year of  bachillerato studies for students who finish it with a negative assessment in three or four subjects. These students are allowed one of the following options, always keeping their families informed in this regard:

  • retake the first year of bachillerato in its entirety, giving up the grades obtained;
  • retake the first year of bachillerato in its entirety, so that they might consolidate knowledge of the subjects they have already passed and improve their grades. If the new grade is lower, they can keep the one obtained the year before;
  • retake the subjects they have failed. Depending on the availability of the school, students may voluntarily take other subjects the management team might consider more suitable for their training.

In Comunidad Valenciana, Comunidad de Madrid, Región de Murcia, Comunidad Foral de Navarra and La Rioja, students in this situation may choose to repeat the whole year or to enrol in the first year subjects with a negative evaluation and extend their enrolment with two or three second year subjects. In any case, these subjects of the second year must not require knowledge included in the failed subjects. Students must be ready for progression to the second year in order to be able to enrol on those subjects of the second year and be graded. Under-age students must have the authorisation of their family or legal guardian for this special schooling system.

Passing the second year subjects is conditional upon passing the corresponding first year subjects indicated in the said Annex as they imply certain continuity. However, within the same modality, students may enrol in the second year subject without having taken the corresponding first year subject, provided that the teachers involved consider that the student meets the necessary conditions to be able to successfully follow the second year subject. Otherwise, they must take the first year subject, which is considered to be a pending subject, although it cannot be counted for the purposes of modifying the conditions under which they have progressed to the second year.

Students who at the end of the second year obtain a negative evaluation in some subjects, may enrol in them without having to retake the subjects they have passed, or they may also choose to repeat the whole year.

The Education Administrations establish the conditions under which a student who has studied the first year of Bachillerato in a certain modality or itinerary may move on to the second year in a different modality or itinerary. 

They may stay a maximum of four years in mainstream bachillerato.

Certification and qualification

Students who pass all the subjects of a bachillerato programme are awarded the Bachillerato certificate. This qualification certifies the achievement of the objectives established for the stage and the acquisition of the corresponding skills. Exceptionally, the teaching team may decide to award the Bachillerato certifictae to students who have passed all but one of the subjects, provided that all of the following conditions are also met:

  • the teaching team considers that these students have achieved the objectives and skills associated with this qualification;
  • there has been no continuous and unjustified non-attendance in the subject on the part of the student;
  • these students have taken the tests and carried out the activities required for their assessment, including those of the extraordinary call;
  • the arithmetic average of the grades obtained in all the subjects of the stage is equal to or higher than five. In this case, for the purposes of calculating the final grade for the stage, the numerical grade obtained in the failed subject will be taken into account.

The Bachillerato certificate qualifies for access to higher education studies, although students may have to pass specific entrance examinations and meet other requirements in certain types of provision. These are the following:

  • university education;
  • advanced artistic education;
  • advanced vocational training;
  • advanced plastic arts and design professional studies;
  • advanced vocational education in sports.

In addition, this qualification allows access to military education for officers and non-commissioned officers

The certificates are issued, on behalf of the King, by the head of the Ministry of Education or the relevant educational authority. It is unique and is issued with the following information:

  • the modality studied;
  • the average grade obtained, which is calculated as the arithmetic average of the grades of all the subjects taken, rounded off to the nearest hundredth.

The following details are included on the back:

  • an explicit mention of the fact that the certificate is issued, on behalf of the King, by the head of the Ministry of Education or the corresponding educational authority in each autonomous community;
  • mention of the fact that it is issued on successful completion of the corresponding studies leading to the award of the said certificate
  • name and surnames, place and date of birth and nationality of the student;
  • name and location of the educational institution where the studies were completed, month and year of completion;
  • name and location of the institution where the corresponding qualification was requested, indicating month and year;
  • place and date of issue of the certificate;
  • codes identifying the official nature of the diploma;
  • three signatures: in the case of the autonomous communities, the signatures of the competent body, the relevant authority of the executive body responsible for controlling the issuing of certificates in the Autonomous Community and the interested party. As for the certificates issued by the Ministry of Education the signatures of the Minister, the Director-General responsible for issuing certificates and the interested party;
  • the national and regional regulations guaranteeing the official nature of the studies.

Obtaining the Bachillerato certificate from other types of education

According to article 23 of Royal Decree 243/2022, students can obtain the Bachillerato certificate by passing the common subjects when they are in possession of one of the following qualifications:

  • Technician in Vocational Training, for the Bachillerato certificate in the General modality,
  • Technician in Plastic Arts and Design, for the Bachillerato certificate in the Arts modality,
  • Technician in Music or Dance, for the Bachillerato certificate in the Arts modality.

As for the grade that will appear on the Bachillerato certificate of these students, it is calculated on the basis of the following percentages:

  • 60 % of the average of the grades obtained in the common subjects in Bachillerato.
  • 40 % of the average grade obtained in the programmes leading to the qualification, calculated in accordance with the provisions in the corresponding royal decrees governing such programmes.