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Italy:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

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Italy:Assessment in Programmes for Children under 2-3 years

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Italy:Assessment in Programmes for Children over 2-3 years

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Italy:Organisation of General Lower Secondary Education

Italy:Teaching and Learning in General Lower Secondary Education

Italy:Assessment in General Lower Secondary Education

Italy:Organisation of General Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Teaching and Learning in General Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Assessment in General Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Organisation of Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Teaching and Learning in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Assessment in Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Italy:Organisation of Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Italy:Teaching and Learning in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

Italy:Assessment in Post-Secondary Non-Tertiary Education

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Italy:Conditions of Service for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Italy:Continuing Professional Development for Academic Staff Working in Higher Education

Italy:Initial Education for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Conditions of Service for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Continuing Professional Development for Teachers and Trainers Working in Adult Education and Training

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Italy:Guidance and Counselling in Higher Education

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Italy:Guidance and Counselling in a Lifelong Learning Approach

Italy:Mobility and Internationalisation

Italy:Mobility in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Mobility in Higher Education

Italy:Mobility in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Early Childhood and School Education

Italy:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Higher Education

Italy:Other Dimensions of Internationalisation in Adult Education and Training

Italy:Bilateral Agreements and Worldwide Cooperation

Italy:Ongoing Reforms and Policy Developments

Italy:National Reforms in Early Childhood Education and Care

Italy:National Reforms in School Education

Italy:National Reforms in Vocational Education and Training and Adult Learning

Italy:National Reforms in Higher Education

Italy:National Reforms related to Transversal Skills and Employability

Italy:European Perspective

Italy:Legislation

Italy:Glossary

Students Assessment

Vocational Upper Secondary Education

The 'Charter of students' (Statuto delle studentesse e degli studenti) in secondary schools sets out the right of students to ‘transparent and rapid evaluation aimed at starting a process of self-evaluation to identify his/her own strengths and weaknesses and improve his/her own performance’. 

Periodic assessment takes place at the end of each term. For assessment purposes the school year is divided into three-month or four-month terms, as established by each school.

Final assessment refers to the procedures that take place at the end of each school year and, for the final State examination, which students sit at the end of the fifth year of technical and vocational school.

Class teachers are responsible for periodic and final assessment, as well as for the certification of the competences acquired by students.

Students also undergo an external assessment of their learning outcomes carried out by the National Institute for the Evaluation of the Education System (Istituto nazionale per la valutazione del sistema di istruzione e formazione - Invalsi).

Periodic/Annual Assessment

The periodic and annual evaluation of pupils focuses on their learning process, their behaviour and their overall learning outcomes. These assessments should be consistent with the learning objectives established in the educational offer plan (POF) of each school. In the POF, the Teachers' Assembly of each school also defines the methods and criteria for assuring that pupil assessment is uniform, transparent and fair. Teachers also certify the competences attained by pupils by the end of lower secondary education.

At the end of every term and every school year, the Class Council, made up of all the teachers for a given class, assign the final marks to each student (the procedure is known as scrutinio). Each teacher proposes the mark for a given pupil to the Class Council for his or her subject. The final mark is approved by majority vote. If no majority is reached, the vote of the school manager prevails.

Periodic and annual assessment of pupils’ learning outcomes and behaviour leads to the assignment of a mark out of ten. A mark of 6/10 corresponds to a pass..
In addition, in the final assessment for each of the last three grades of upper secondary school, students who perform well receive points (credits), corresponding to their average final mark in each subject and conduct and includes other aspects such as school attendance, extracurricular activities etc. The number of credits obtained at the end of each year is known as the final 'school credit' (credito scolastico) up to a total of 25 points. The final mark assigned to students in the upper secondary State leaving examination also includes the final 'school credit'. The Ministry has published a table for the conversion of marks into credits.

Students are awarded ‘training credits' (crediti formativi) for any approved experience gained outside of school (e.g. training in cultural activities, the arts, sports, etc.). Such experiences must be duly documented and be related to the specialisation of the State examination. ‘Training credits’ contribute, along with ‘school credits’, to the final score in the final State examination.

At the end of each term and at the end of the school year, students receive a personal assessment document which includes their marks in numbers and a written appraisal for each subject, including conduct. Students who have attended optional Catholic religious education receive a separate assessment report by the teacher. The report describes the interest shown by the student in the subject and the results achieved. Schools are free to develop their own assessment document, provided these basic requirements are met.

Daily assessment of students is carried out independently be each teacher.

For the school year to be valid, students should attend at least three quarters of the annual teaching time. In exceptional cases, schools can autonomously provide for justified derogations. However, if the number of absences jeopardises the possibility of a regular assessment, the student cannot be admitted to the next grade or to the State examination at the end of the second cycle of education. Before the start of each school year, schools must define the annual teaching time to be used to calculate the 75% attendance required to validate that school year. At the same time, the school also defines the circumstances for derogations.

Upper Secondary Education Leaving Examination (State Examination)

At the end of both general and vocational upper secondary school students take a State examination (law 425/2007 and law 1/2007).

The upper secondary school state leaving examination aims to verify the knowledge and skills gained during the last year of the study path, according to the general and specific objectives of each branch of study, as well as the general cultural knowledge and the critical skills the candidates.

Some aspects (e.g. number and type of tests) of the upper secondary final examination are under reform. Please check the article on national reforms in school education for more details.

Admission of Internal Candidates

Students sit examinations at the school they have attended.

Admission to the state examination requires students to have obtained a mark of 6/10 or higher in each subject or group of subjects assessed with a single mark, and conduct. Students with a fail in conduct (a mark below 6/10) are not admitted to the examination. Students are also required to make up for any gaps in their studies (called 'debts') from previous years.

The Class Council makes an overall assessment of students, taking into consideration their knowledge and competencies gained in the last year of study, their critical and expressive skills and their efforts to make up for gaps in their learning and prepare suitably for the state examination.

After the overall assessment, the Class council decides whether or not to admit the student to the final examination. The decision is also made on the basis of the school credits assigned to the student. The outcome of the final assessment, along with the indication <admitted> or <not admitted>, is posted on the school notice board. The marks assigned for each subject and for conduct are included on the student's assessment document.

Students enrolled in the penultimate year may also be admitted to the state examination if they:

  • have gained a mark of 8/10 or higher in each subject, except for Catholic religious education and conduct in their final assessment;
  • have attended upper secondary school regularly;
  • have obtained marks of no lower than 7/10 in each subject and conduct in the final assessment of the previous two years;
  • have not repeated any school year in the previous two years.

Admission of External Candidates

Admission to the state examination is also granted to:

  • students who turn 19 in the calendar year in which the state examination takes place and have completed compulsory education;
  • students who have obtained the first-cycle leaving certificate, issued at least the same number of years previously as the duration of their current course, irrespective of their age;
  • students who turn 23 years of age in the calendar year in which the state examination takes place; in this case, the candidates are not required to present any lower qualification;
  • students who hold any other qualification obtained at the end of an upper secondary education course lasting at least four years;
  • students who stopped attending the last year of their course before 15 March.

External candidates, who attend a grade preceding the last one, should have stopped attending school before the 15th of March and are asked to meet the same requirements as internal candidates.

External candidates, who did not get the promotion to the last grade, are required to pass a preliminary examination on the subjects foreseen in the study programmes of the grade/grades for which they have not obtained a promotion and in the study programme of the last grade.

Finally, candidates who have not attended the last grade, although in possession of the admission to the last grade itself, are also required to pass the preliminary examination on all subjects included in the curriculum of the last grade of the relevant course of study, as otherwise they cannot be assessed for the admission to the final examination.

External candidates are required to present their request for the admission to the State examinations to the head of the relevant Regional School Office also indicating, in preferential order, the institutes where they wish to take the examination. The head of the Regional School Office will then assign the students to the institutes of the municipalities where they have their residence (or of the Province or of the Region). Students take preliminary examinations, if required, in the same institute they have been assigned to for the State examination (Law 176/2007).

The Examination Board

The examination board for the state leaving examination is made up of a maximum of six members - 50% external and 50% internal- and an external chairman. The examination board is appointed by the director of the Regional School Office, in accordance with criteria established at central level. The chairman is appointed according to specific criteria and procedures, from among school managers, state schools teachers and higher education professors. The external members of the examination boards are appointed from among teachers of upper secondary state schools.

The chairman of the examination board and the external members examine students from two classes. Each year the Ministry of education selects the subjects that the external experts are to test during the final examination.

Contents of the State Examination

The state examination includes three written tests and an oral test.

The purpose of the first written test is to verify proficiency in Italian or the language in which the course is taught, as well as the expressive, logical-linguistic and critical skills of the candidate. The second paper tests one of the main subjects of the programme. The third paper is determined autonomously by the school and is closely related to the school’s educational offer plan (POF). The third test is multidisciplinary and covers up to five of the subjects taught in the final year of study. It may consist in the concise treatment of topics, single or multiple choice questions, a problem solving exercise, practical and professional case study or the development of a project. Furthermore, it usually tests the knowledge of a foreign language.

The texts for the first and second written tests are selected by the Minister and sent to schools by the Ministry of education. The text of the third written test is set by the examination board using criteria established at central level.

Tests are delivered to schools through data communication.

The oral test is multidisciplinary in content and covers the course programmes of the final year of school.

The calendar for examinations is decided by the Ministry of education every year.

Examination results

The final result of the state examination is expressed as a mark out of one hundred. The examination committee adds the scores gained in the written and oral tests to the school credit score of each candidate.

Teachers assign a maximum of 15 points to each written test which, when totalled, account for 45 points. The pass mark for tests is 10 points. The maximum mark for the oral test is 30 points. The final mark is the sum of the school credit (maximum of 25 points) and the points obtained in the written and oral tests. The pass mark is 60 out of 100 points.

The school publishes the results of the written tests on the notice board at least two days before the start of the oral tests. The examination committee can award a maximum of five supplementary points to the final mark if the candidate has obtained a school credit of at least 15 points and a minimum overall score of 70 in the tests. The reasons for this decision must be accounted for. The examination committee can also award a merit (lode) to students who have gained the maximum score of 100 with no supplementary points and have achieved scores of 8/10 or more in all subjects and in conduct over the last three years of study. 

Candidates who pass the examination receive the related diploma and certificate, according to the models provided by the Ministry of Education.

Outstanding students may be awarded one of the following:

  • free or subsidised access to libraries, museums and cultural centres;
  • admission to training courses;
  • admission to special initiatives organised by science centres throughout the country;
  • educational trips and visits to specialist centres;
  • economic benefits;
  • other benefits by special agreement with public or private organisations.

Finally, outstanding students may be awarded 25 marks out of 105 for university admission tests.

Regional Vocational Education and Training (IFP)

Continuous assessment is carried out through several  tools ranging from more traditional interviews and class work to assess content, to practical tests (e.g. producing of technical projects) for a more effective assessment of the learning/teaching of competencies.

The final assessment, i.e. the qualification examination, varies from region to region, but shares a number of elements.

In most Regions, for admission to the final examination, students are expected to have attended at least 70% of the overall final-year programme and 50% of the work placement.

There are generally three types of tests:

  • theory or written  
  • practical (e.g. laboratory work, use of machines, problem-solving, etc.)
  • oral or interview

In some Regions, institutions prepare their own tests, whereas in some Regions, tests are prepared centrally at provincial/regional level and used by all institutions/agencies (provided that final examinations take place at the same time); in other Regions, theory tests are prepared centrally and practical tests are organised at institution/agency level.

The final overall mark leading to the final qualification is the sum of several evaluations, whose importance varies from Region to Region. These evaluations include the average mark for the last year of study, the overall score from the final examination and, in some cases, the work placement company’s appraisal.
The composition of examination committees varies between the Regions. Committees may be small (three members and one chairman) and made up of internal members or larger with mostly external members from the Regions, the Ministry of Labour, the Ministry of Education, trade unions and employers, as well as teachers and the person in charge of the agency/institution.

Although assessment procedures, tests and admission requirements to the final examination are generally shared at national level, the same does not apply to assessment scales. In fact, some Regions use written assessments, while others use different numerical scales, which may range out of one hundred, six or thirty.
Once or several times per year, learners evaluate teaching and the organisation of the course through questionnaires. In some cases, these assessments are carried out within standardised quality assurance procedures.

Progression of Students

Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Admission to the following grade requires, besides the minimum school attendance, marks equal to or higher than 6/10 in each subject, or group of subjects assessed with a single mark, and conduct.

The assessment is suspended if a student obtains a mark just below 6/10 in one or more subjects. In this case, the student is re-assessed before the start of the following school year in each subject in which he or she has a fail. Schools can autonomously organise catch-up courses or activities. Students with a minimum score of 6/10 can attend the next grade.

Students with a fail in conduct (a mark below 6/10), usually assigned in serious cases which must be duly explained, are always refused admission to the following grade and to the final examination.

Students are entitled to course and transfer to another type of school, if they pass a supplementary examination which grants admission to a class of the corresponding level. The supplementary examination is based on all or part of the subjects not included in the curriculum of the school of origin.

From the first or second year of study, schools offer integration activities to students who wish to transfer to a different type of school. Teachers from both schools work together to design support activities, which usually take place in the school of origin. On completion of these special courses, the student receives a certificate attesting that they have acquired the knowledge, skills and abilities required to change course.

Regional Vocational Education and Training (IFP)

A three-year vocational qualification entitles the holder to enrol in a fourth year of specialisation (only available for a few qualifications and offered by only a few training agencies in some Regions) and in the third or fourth year of upper secondary education (mainly technical and vocational institutes), leading to an equivalent qualification. Furthermore, a first-level vocational qualification can also be submitted for enrolment in second-level vocational training courses and to apply for professional apprenticeships (for people aged over 18). It also gives access to Higher technical education and training (Istruzione e formazione tecnica superiore - IFTS) courses, after verification of the skills acquired.

Holders of a four-year IFP technical qualification can apply to university, Higher education in art and music (Alta formazione artistica e musicale - AFAM) and Higher Technical Institutes (Istituti tecnici superiori - ITS) courses after attending a one-year conversion course offered by the Regions and organised by the vocational institutes and the training agencies.

Certification

Vocational Upper Secondary Education

Schools autonomously establish how to inform students and their parents on the results obtained in periodic and final assessments. Generally, students and their families receive an individual assessment paper at the end of both each term and school year. Schools deliver the assessment paper in electronic format and usually parents discuss the results with teachers.

The personal assessment paper released at the end of each school year certifies also the student’s admission or non-admission to the following grade. 

The personal assessment paper released at the end of the last year of upper secondary education certifies the admission or non-admission to the second-cycle leaving State examination.

Students who pass the final State examination at technical or vocational institutes, receive a technical education diploma (Diploma di istruzione tecnica) or a vocational education diploma (Diploma di istruzione professionale) respectively, and a certificate.

The Diploma shows student’s personal details, the type of institute, either technical or vocational, the branch of specialisation attended and the mark obtained in the final examination.

The certificate contains the following information: the branch and the length of studies, the final mark, the scores obtained in the written tests and in the oral test, the 'school credit', the ‘training credits’, any additional points awarded by the examination committee, any further specific evaluation made by the Commission on test passed with extremely high results. The certificate also shows the curricular subjects and the total number of teaching hours dedicated to each subject.

Schools release both documents after completion of all examination procedures that must end within July. Both documents are written in four European languages in order to make them understandable in the EU countries.

The Ministry of Education, University and Research has drawn up the models for the certification and the Diploma (models are annexed to the 
Decree no. 26/2009).

Finally, the Ministry of education has provided the model valid nationwide, for the certification of the levels of competencies (basic, intermediate and advanced) acquired by students after 10 years of compulsory education. Schools draft the certificate and deliver it upon students’ request.

Regional Vocational Education and Training (IFP)

Three-year vocational training courses lead to the qualification of ‘worker in +’, while four-year courses lead to the qualification ‘technician in +’.

Certification is aimed at ensuring the recognition of qualifications, in order to enable trainees to enter or re-enter the system of vocational education and training in the mobility system. The certified skills constitute training credit. The regions are responsible for the final and intermediate certification. They organise the implementation procedures taking into account the minimum standards and the types of certification defined at national level.

Legislative References

DPR 22 June 2009, no. 122 (assessment and certification)

Law 11 January 2007, no. 1 (State exam)