In basic education legislation, assessment has two obligations that complement one another:
to guide and motivate pupils’ learning
to assess pupils’ competence in relation to the set goals
Assessment is based on national principles common to all schools. Some of these principles include equality, consistency, and versatility. These are all defined in the national core curriculum principles, and they are followed in the whole country and in all municipalities.
Assessment is based on goals and contents set per subject and per grade for grades that do not have defined national criteria. The goals in question are set in the national core curriculum and they are further detailed, per grade, in the local, municipality-specific curriculum.
Assessment done at the end of sixth grade utilises the assessment criteria defined in the national core curriculum. These criteria describe the skills a pupil must possess to receive a numeric grade of 8 in a subject.
For each subject or study module, pupil assessment is always done by the pupil’s teacher or, if there are several teachers, they decide the grade together.
Conduct is assessed in line with the city/municipality-level conduct assessment criteria; these have been defined separately for grades 1–3 and grades 4–9.
In addition to continuous, guiding feedback, pupils receive two intermediate reports during the school year and a school year report at the end of spring. One of the intermediate reports is in the form of an assessment discussion together with the teacher, pupil, and guardian(s), and the other is a written report. The discussion is based on the city/municipality-level common form for pupil self-assessment.
At the end of each school year, pupils get a school year report that provides a performance assessment for the entire school year.
In grades 1-3, intermediate and year reports use verbal assessment, and in grades 4-9 pupils are assessed by grading.
The aim of final assessment is to define how well and to what extent a pupil has achieved the subject-specific goals set in the core national curriculum for basic education at the end of their basic education.
Final assessment is based on the national criteria for final assessment in basic education. The grades in the basic education certificate are significant as they form the primary basis for student selection to upper secondary schools and vocational institutions.
It is important that students realise that some common subjects are not studied until the final year. For example, studies of visual arts, home economics, and crafts are subjects common to all only in the 7th grade. The grade pupils receive in the spring of 7th grade becomes their final grade unless pupils choose optional courses in these subjects for consecutive grades. History and music are only taught until the 8th grade, so grades from these subjects become final grades in the basic education certificate.
At the end of ninth grade, pupils receive their basic education certificates in which all numerically graded subjects must be assessed at least adequate (grade 5). Conduct assessment is not included in the basic education certificate. In case a guardian submits a written request to exclude the numeric grade for an optional language, the basic education certificate will show “Pass” for that subject. This does not apply to Swedish that must have a numeric grade in the basic education certificate regardless of whether the pupil has studied it as an optional or a common subject.