The respective VET ordinances regulate the assessment procedures in the training company, inter-company courses and school teaching.
- Training companies use formative and summative forms of assessment. Formative assessment is particularly important: it is carried out during the working and learning processes and is adapted to the learner. The learner’s educational level is assessed at least once a semester through a learning report Bildungsbericht which contains the objectives agreed between the learner and the vocational trainer. The learner’s professional, methodological, social and personal skills are assessed. Learning documentation, which is prescribed in most VET ordinances and in which learners systematically record their learning stages and experiences, is an important basis for the learning report (Lerndokumentation).
- At the VET school the learner’s performances in the individual subjects are assessed each semester in the form of a school report card (6 = best grade; 4 = sufficient; below 4 = insufficient). If academic performance casts doubt on the success of in-company VET training or if the learner’s conduct is insufficient, the VET school contacts the training company to take appropriate measures. The VET ordinance for the occupation stipulates whether and to what extent school grades are taken into account in the final examination.
- Inter-company course providers document the learners’ performance through competence certificates according to the comments set out in the education plan. Competence certificates are expressed in grades and are used in some occupations to calculate the grade for experience in line with the VET ordinance.
Progression of pupils
The Federal Act on Vocational and Professional Education and Training (VPETA) does not lay down regulations relating to transfer for teaching at VET schools but only allows the respective VET ordinances to provide for such regulations. Some cantons have adopted rules governing transfer. If academic performance casts doubt on the success of in-company VET training, the VET school contacts the training company to take appropriate measures. If performance is insufficient, it may be necessary to repeat the entire VET programme year, or to abandon the VET programme entirely. The decision lies with the parties to the contract.
According to the Ordinance on the Federal Vocational Baccalaureate (Article 14), the learner transfers to the next semester if the overall grade is at least 4, if the total difference between the “insufficient” grades and grade 4 does not exceed two grade points, and if the grade “insufficient” is given in no more than two subjects. If performance is insufficient the learner may transfer to the next semester on a provisional basis. Provisional transfer is possible only once during the VET programme..
Vocational education and training (VET)
VET leaving certificates are recognised throughout Switzerland. “Qualification procedure” is the umbrella term for all procedures used to determine whether a person has the competences laid down in the relevant VET ordinance.
- The two-year VET ends with a qualification procedure, usually a final examination. The skills acquired through practical experience are strongly weighted. The programme leads to the Federal VET Certificate. Young people who do not successfully complete the two-year VET can have their skills checked on an individual basis.
- The three to four-year VET concludes with a qualification procedure, usually a final examination. This tests the professional skills acquired through work experience, the school-based vocational education and general education. The grade for experience awarded at school and in the practical training is also taken into account; the results achieved in inter-company courses are used in this assessment. An individual practical work (individuelle praktische Arbeit) may be part of the final examination. The programme leads to the Federal VET Diploma. The weightings for the individual examination sections are laid down in the VET ordinance for the occupation.
The qualification procedure may be repeated a maximum of two times. There is no need to repeat sections which have already been passed. The respective VET ordinances can lay down stricter requirements relating to obligations to repeat certain subjects.
The Ordinance on the National Qualifications Framework for vocational training qualifications creates the basis for the classification of all formal vocational and professional education and training qualifications in a National Qualifications Framework for vocational training qualifications and for the production of certificate supplements and diploma supplements. The National Qualifications Framework for vocational training qualifications consists of eight levels in which all qualifications described as formal education by the Federal Vocational and Professional Education and Training Act (VPETA) are classified according to their requirements. The classification level refers to the respective vocational training qualification and not to individual performance
With the help of the European Qualifications Framework drawn up by the EU, which serves as a kind of translation tool, Swiss qualifications can be compared with qualifications from other countries.
Federal Vocational Baccalaureate
Those who successfully pass the Federal Vocational Baccalaureate and hold a Federal VET Diploma also obtain a Federal Vocational Baccalaureate certificate. The Ordinance on the Federal Professional Baccalaureate governs the conditions for awarding a pass: the grades in the subjects of the basic area, the area of specialisation, the supplementary area and the interdisciplinary project all count towards a pass in the Federal Vocational Baccalaureate examination. The Federal Vocational Baccalaureate is deemed to have been passed if the overall grade is at least 4, if the total difference between the “insufficient” grades and grade 4 does not exceed two grade points, and if not more than two grades below 4 have been awarded. The Federal Vocational Baccalaureate examination may be repeated a maximum of once.
The Federal Vocational Baccalaureate allows direct access to specific study courses at universities of applied sciences.
On successfully completing the supplementary examination (“Passerelle” aptitude test) in addition, holders of a Federal Vocational Baccalaureate also gain access to all courses of study at universities and universities of teacher education.
The supplementary examination is offered by the Swiss Baccalaureate Examination Commission (SMK) and organised by the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation (SERI). The examinations take place twice a year in the three language regions. The examination procedure and the contents of the examination are governed by the ordinance on the supplementary examination (Verordnung über die Ergänzungsprüfung) and in guidelines. The examinations test the first national language, a second national language or English, mathematics, natural science subjects, and humanities and social science subjects.
The method of preparation for the supplementary examination can be chosen freely. It may be carried out through self-learning or through attendance of a one-year course offered by private or state-run schools.
For holders of a Federal Vocational Baccalaureate admission to study courses at universities of teacher education is possible only if they can prove, through a supplementary examination (Ergänzungsprüfung), that they have an adequate general education. Different training establishments (e.g. baccalaureate schools for adults, universities of teacher education) offer one-year courses for preparation for these examinations. The preparation can also be carried out through self-learning. Evidence of an adequate general education can also be provided through the university aptitude test (“Passerelle” aptitude test).
Adults can catch up a VET qualification.