assessment policy in finland

Last Updated on August 12, 2023 by Oluwajuwon Alvina

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According to the General Upper Secondary Schools Decree, the students and their parents or other guardians are to be provided with information concerning the individual students’ schoolwork and progress of studies at sufficiently frequent intervals. This provision of information is determined in more detailed in the national core curriculum ( Lukion opetussuunnitelman perusteet 2019 ). Assessment is based on the objectives defined in the national core curriculum. Each course is assessed once it has been completed. The purpose of assessment is to give students feedback on how they have met the objectives of the course and on their progress in that subject.

The grade for the overall subject syllabus is basically determined as the mathematical average of the grade of the individual courses. A student who wants to raise a grade has to be given an opportunity to take a separate examination to raise the grade.

According to the General Upper Secondary Schools Decree, students’ knowledge and skills in each subject or subject group are assessed by the students’ teacher or, should there be several teachers, jointly by the teachers concerned. The final assessment is carried out by the principal together with these teachers.

The scale of grades used in numerical assessment is 4–10. Grades indicate following knowledge and skills

  • 5 adequate
  • 6 moderate
  • 7 satisfactory
  • 8 good
  • 9 very good
  • 10 excellent 

Grade 4 is reserved for a failed performance. Some courses are assessed with passed/failed. In some cases, numerical grades can be complemented and specified by written verbal assessment or oral feedback given in an assessment discussion.

At the end of general upper secondary education, students usually take the matriculation examination (Finnish: ylioppilastutkinto, Swedish: studentexamen). The examination consists of at least four tests; one of them, the test in the candidate’s mother tongue, is compulsory for all candidates. The candidate then chooses three other compulsory tests from among the following four tests: the test in the second national language, a foreign language test, the mathematics test, and one test in the general studies battery of tests (sciences and humanities). The candidate may include, in addition, as part of his or her examination, one or more optional tests. The objective for the matriculation examination is to better measure whether students have acquired the knowledge and skills of the upper secondary curriculum and achieved sufficient maturity and eligibility for further studies in accordance with the objectives.

There is a separate assessment system for the matriculation examination. The tests are initially checked and assessed by each general upper secondary school’s teacher of the subject in question and finally by the The Matriculation Examination Board.

The Latin grades and the corresponding points given for the tests are: 

  • laudatur (Latin for “praised”, 7),
  • eximia cum laude approbatur (“passed with exceptional praise”, 6),
  • magna cum laude approbatur (“passed with much praise”, 5),
  • cum laude approbatur (“passed with praise”, 4),
  • lubenter approbatur (“satisfactorily passed”, 3),
  • approbatur (“passed”, 2), and
  • improbatur (“failed”, 0).


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