The cantons specify what method of assessment is used, while teachers carry out pupil assessment (Schülerbeurteilung). They are guided in the assessment process by the learning objectives set out in the curriculum. As well as academic performance, they also consider learning behaviour, attitude to work, and individual and social conduct.
Where performance is graded, the grades generally range from 1 to 6 (6 = best grade; 4 = satisfactory; below 4 = unsatisfactory). Graded assessment does not take place in all cantons from the same point. In school years in which no graded school report cards are issued, learning reports without grades or other assessment procedures are used. Pupils generally receive a graded school report card, or a learning report, twice a year at the end of a semester.
The issue of support is taken into account in school assessments. Holistic assessment forms are used with formative and diagnostic elements. This demands open teaching geared to learning objectives which meets children’s individual learning abilities and class diversity.
In various cantons there are compulsory or optional end-of-year tests, orientation and comparative examinations, or performance level assessments for the class as a whole in certain school years and subjects. These comparative examinations or performance tests give an indication of what pupils know and can do at a particular time in particular subject areas. They serve as positioning and facilitate the targeted support of pupils. Teachers can also compare the learning success of their class to that of other classes.
Progression of Pupils
The cantons are responsible for regulating transfer to the next class and the conditions for repeating a class (Repetition) in their education acts. As a rule, a decision is made at the end of each school year as to whether pupils can be transferred into the next class. Assessment of performance at school is used as the basis for provisional or definitive transfer to the next class and for transition to the next level. In most cases, as well as the teachers, parents are consulted in the decision on transfer to the next class, and, less frequently, also the school administration and pupils themselves. The school authorities or teaching staff are usually responsible for the final decision on transfer. As well as repeating a class, the provision of special education measures is another possibility.
Pupils are not given a leaving certificate at the end of primary; all pupils continue their education in lower secondary level.