There are 3 types of national tests:
- tests for the transition from primary education to secondary education (PFS);
- standardised tests (épreuves strandardisées - EpStan);
- joint tests (épreuves communes).
Tests for the transition from primary education to secondary education (épreuves du passage de l'enseignement fondamental à l'enseignement secondaire - PFS)
The orientation of pupils at the end of the last year of primary education and their admission to classical secondary education and general secondary education is subject to a procedure leading to an orientation decision. This decision is prepared jointly by the parents and the pupil’s class teacher. The orientation decision is based on a set of elements, including joint tests.
These joint tests are organised at national level based on success criteria and are coordinated by the division of data processing on the quality of education and education offer of the SCRIPT. Their objective is to account for the development of the pupil’s skills with regard to the skill levels expected at the end of cycle 4.2.. In addition, they provide information on the pupil’s performance compared to the national average of all pupils in this cycle. The "PFS" joint tests include three disciplines: French, German and mathematics. The skills assessed are oral comprehension, written comprehension, written production in French and German; the reproduction and application of knowledge and skills as well as solving problems in mathematics.
These joint tests are prepared by work groups including members of the regional directorates, teachers in primary education, professors and the coordinator of the division of data processing on the quality of education and education offer. Results are presented in form of a profile.
Further information: Transition from primary education to secondary education
Standardised tests (épreuves standardisées)
Standardised tests (ÉpStan) have a double objective:
- provide the ministry with an overview of learning achievements and monitor the impact of reforms;
- provide schools with steering instruments to improve the quality of education.
They are held each year on a national level and are coordinated by the division of data processing on the quality of education and education offer. For the time being, they are organised at the beginning of cycle 3 of primary education as well as in the class of 5e of classical secondary education and general secondary education.
In contrast to a class assignment, standardised tests do not directly relate to content assessed as teaching progresses. Their objective is to show the skill level of students in a scientific way, at key moments of their school career. They assess their academic performance in mathematics, German and French.
The design of standardised tests, the statistical processing and the preparation of the reports are performed by the team of the Luxembourg Centre for Education Testing (LUCET) of University of Luxembourg. Thus, it is like an external view cast on Luxembourg school.
Joint tests (épreuves communes)
In 2003 joint tests in languages (German and French) and in mathematics were organised for the first time in the classes of 5e in secondary education - ES (now: class of 5e in classical secondary education, ESC) and the classes of 9e in technical secondary education, EST (now: class of 5e in general secondary education, ESG). These tests are called « joint » as they are taken by all students of these classes and take place in all the high schools of the country at the same time at the beginning of the second quarter according to the same modalities.
For students, joint tests are like usual class assignments. They cover exclusively subjects included in the curriculum and content that was treated in class. Hence, they do not require any further or additional preparation than a regular class assignment. Tests are corrected only by the class teacher and the scores count as for a class assignment of the 2nd quarter.
The statistics department and the division of data processing on the quality of education and education offer collect the results and analyse them by averaging each class, school and calculating the national average. With the introduction of the first skills bases (socles de compétences), this evaluation offers in addition a refined analysis of the performance of students based on the skills descriptors established for the end of the first cycle of secondary education.
This type of tests meets several objectives for the Ministry of Education.
Since they are based on assessment and correction criteria applicable to everyone, joint tests guarantee identical conditions of analysis and evaluation to all students. Thus, they help to improve consistency not only among classes of the same school, but also among the different high schools of the country.
The implementation of joint tests invites teachers of the same subject to consult to achieve joint objectives and therefore promotes exchange and collaboration between these teachers.
Joint tests help teachers to assess, based on criteria applicable at the national level, the achievements and potential difficulties of students as they prepare to move on to the class of 4e ESC and 4e ESG. At the same time, they allow teachers to objectively assess their own correction criteria in comparison with national criteria and adapt them where appropriate.