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EACEA National Policies Platform:Eurydice
Assessment in Primary Education


5.Primary Education

5.3Assessment in Primary Education

Last update: 2 February 2024

Pupil assessment

The aim of student assessment is to check the degree of acquisition of competences and their progress in all the learning processes.

Regardless of the monitoring carried out throughout the course, the teaching team, coordinated by the group tutor, will collectively assess student progress in a single assessment session at the end of the school year.

With regard to pupils with special educational needs, the most appropriate measures must be established to ensure that the requirements for carrying out the processes associated  to the educational assessment are adapted to their needs. In the case of these pupils, the assessment references will be those included in said adaptations, without this fact preventing them from being promoted to the next cycle or stage. 

The Government, through the Ministry of Education, Vocational Training and Sports (MEFD), 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 cycle, in order to ensure a common education throughout the national territory.

The assessment criteria are the reference points indicating the levels of performance expected of students in the situations or activities in which they must apply the specific competences for each area. 

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’ assembly is responsible for setting the criteria for pupil’s assessment.

Each teacher can adopt the evaluation techniques and instruments that he/she deems most appropriate in each context. Despite this, the use of varied, diverse, accessible and adapted assessment instruments for different learning situations is promoted. This way, objective assessment of all pupils is thus encouraged. 

In the academic year 2023/24 the implementation of all modifications introduced in the Organic Law 2/2006 on Education (LOE) by the Organic Law 3/2020 (LOMLOE) regarding the curriculum, organisation and objectives of primary education will be completed.

Formative assessment

During this stage, special emphasis will be placed on individualised attention to students, early diagnosis and the establishment of support and reinforcement mechanisms to avoid the need for students to repeat grades, particularly in socially disadvantaged environments.

Formative assessment has these characteristics:

  • it is comprehensive and continuous;
  • it takes into account the development of key competences and their progress in all the learning processes;
  • The education authorities  establish three moments  throughout such process: initial assessment, continuous assessment and final assessment.

In the context of a continuous assessment process, when any student's progress is not adequate, educational support measures will be provided. These measures will be adopted as soon as difficulties are identified, with special monitoring of the situation of pupils with special educational needs, and will be aimed at guaranteeing the acquisition of any learning that is essential to continue the educational process, with the support each pupil may require.

At the end of the second and fourth years, the tutor in charge of the class will issue a report on each student's degree of acquisition of skills, indicating, where appropriate, the reinforcement measures to be considered for the following cycle.

In order to guarantee the continuity of the pupils' training process, at the end of primary education, all pupils shall have a report drawn up by their tutor on their progress and the degree of skills acquisition developed, which shall be specified by each educational authority. In the case of pupils with special educational needs, the report should reflect the adaptations and measures adopted and their need for continuation in the next educational stage.

With regard to the communication of assessment results, 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 deciding 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.

 The MEFD, in consultation with the other  educational authorities, determines the basic assessment documents  and the formal requirements resulting from the assessment process, in order to guarantee student mobility.

The results of the evaluation are expressed in terms of the following. A ‘Fail’ is a negative assessment, whereas all the rest are positive:

  • Fail (IN - Insuficiente);
  • Pass (SU - Suficiente);
  • Good (BI - Bien);
  • Very Good (NT - Notable);
  • Excellent (SB - Sobresaliente).

Educational authorities must guarantee the right of pupils to objective assessment and to have their commitment, effort and performance assessed and recognised objectively, for which purpose they shall establish the appropriate procedures, which must take into account the assessment characteristics determined by the national legislation in force.

At the same time, in those autonomous communities which have, together with Spanish, another official language according to their statutes, students may be excused from the assessment of said Co-official Language area or subject, as established by their regional regulations.

Within the framework established by each educational authority, the most appropriate measures must be established so that the conditions for carrying out the processes associated with assessment are adapted to the circumstances of pupils with specific educational support needs. These adaptations may under no circumstances be taken into account in order to lower the obtained marks.

Likewise, the generalised use of varied and diverse assessment instruments adapted to the different learning situations should be promoted, allowing for the objective assessment of all students. At the same time, it is necessary to establish flexibility measures and methodological alternatives in the teaching and assessment of the foreign language for students with specific educational support needs, especially for those with difficulties in comprehension and expression in said language.

Summative assessment

Two assessments of this type are carried out in primary education:

  • a diagnostic evaluation at the end of the 4th year;
  • an evaluation at the end of the stage. Additionally, at the end of the stage, each pupil receives a report on his or her progress and the development degree of key competences.

These evaluations are carried out by the educational institutions according to what the education authorities set.

 Diagnostic Assessment

Article 21 of Organic Law 2/2006 on Education (LOE), as amended by LOMLOE, establishes that in the fourth year of primary education, all schools must carry out a diagnostic assessment of a census nature to evaluate the skills acquired by their pupils (at least the degree of mastery in linguistic communication skills and mathematical competence will be checked). This assessment, which falls under the responsibility of the education authorities, is informative, instructional and orientative in nature for schools, teachers, pupils and their families and for the education community as a whole.

Within the framework of improvement plans based on the analysis of the results of this assessment, education authorities must encourage schools to draw up proposals for action that will help pupils achieve the established skills, enable them to adopt measures to improve the quality and equity of education and guide teaching practice.

The  National Institute for Educational Assessment and the corresponding bodies of the Administrations will collaborate in the development of the common theoretical frameworks that will serve as a reference for these evaluations.

General Assessment of the Education System

Article 143.2 of the LOE, as amended by the LOMLOE, states that, in the last year of primary education, an assessment of the skills acquired by pupils shall be carried out on a sample and multi-annual basis. This assessment is informative, instructional and orientative in nature for schools, teachers, pupils and their families or legal guardians, and for the education community as a whole.

In the first edition of the assessments in the 6th year of Primary Education, the following competences are expected to be assessed:

- Linguistic Communication Competence;
- STEM competence;
- Digital Competence;
- Multilingual Competence.
The assessment frameworks for each of these competences are carried out by the National Institute for Educational Assessment. The first edition of the 6th grade assessment is planned for the academic year 2024-2025.

Progression of pupils

The progress to the next year or stage has these characteristics:

  • It occurs automatically in the first, third and fifth years of the stage.
  • In the second, fourth and sixth years, it takes place as long as it is considered that pupils have achieved the objectives set for the stage or those corresponding to the year concerned, and acquired the relevant key skills.
  • Special consideration is given to the information and judgement of the student's tutor.
  • The references for assessment in the case of students with special educational needs are those included in the corresponding adaptations to the curriculum, without this fact preventing them from being promoted to the next cycle or stage.
  • The decision must be made by the teaching team in a joint manner, although special attention is paid to the information and criterion of the class teacher tutoring the student’s group.
  • Students must receive the necessary support to catch up on the learning they did not achieve in the previous year.

Repetition, on the other hand, has these particular characteristics:

  • It is an exceptional measure and is taken after all sufficient, appropriate and personalised ordinary measures to deal with the curricular gap or learning difficulties of the pupil have been exhausted.
  • It is adopted when, taking into consideration the previous question, the teaching team considers that staying one more year in the same grade is the most appropriate measure to favour the student's development.
  • It can be applied only once during the stage, with a specific and personalised reinforcement plan so that, during that year, those repeating a grade can achieve the corresponding level of skills acquisition.
  • When the personal circumstances of students with special educational needs make it advisable for them to achieve the objectives of basic education (Primary Education and ESO), these students may extend their schooling for an additional year. These circumstances may be permanent or temporary and must be sufficiently documented.

Parents or legal guardians have the right to be aware of the decisions concerning evaluation and promotion and must collaborate in the support or strengthening measures adopted by the schools in order to facilitate the pupils' education progression.


No certification is awarded at the end of primary education since, at this point, pupils have not yet completed their basic compulsory education, which comprises Primary and  Compulsory Secondary Education (ESO).

The school record of primary education is the official document that reflects the evaluation results, as well as decisions concerning the students’ academic progress throughout the stage, and attests successful completion of the studies. Its safekeeping is the responsibility of the school where the student is enrolled and is supervised by the education inspection.

It contains, at least, the following items:

  • information identifying the holder;
  • areas studied each year;
  • evaluation results tin each level;
  • decisions on progression and retention, as well as the date those decisions are made;
  • information regarding changes of educational institution;
  • areas studied and any relevant curricular adaptations;
  • date of promotion to Compulsory Secondary Education