The European Baccalaureate

The European Baccalaureate Cycle

The European Baccalaureate cycle comprises the two last years of secondary education (s6 and s7) in the European Schools or in schools accredited by the Board of Governors.

The European Baccalaureate cycle consists of a comprehensive multilingual curriculum.

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Pupils must always follow a combination of language, humanities and scientific subjects with subjects taught through more than one language. The core curriculum consists of the following compulsory subjects, some of which can be taken at different levels of complexity:

  • At least two language subjects (the dominant language and another one)
  • Mathematics, either 3 periods/week or 5 periods/week
  • One scientific subject, either Biology 2 periods/week or any other 4-period scientific subject in either Biology, Chemistry or Physics
  • History and Geography, either 2 periods/week or 4 periods/week, which are taught through a different language from the dominant one, either in French, English or German.
  • Philosophy, either 2 periods/week or 4 periods/week
  • Physical Education
  • Morals/Ethics or Religion

In addition to the core curriculum, pupils have a wide range of options and complementary subjects they can choose from to complete their program, which will amount to a minimum of 31 periods per week and to a maximum of 35.


Assessment Principles in the European Baccalaureate

Assessment in the European Baccalaureate cycle is criteria referenced. It measures pupils’ achievement in relation to the learning objectives and required competencies defined in a given syllabus. The inspectorate also provides very clear assessment and marking guidelines for criteria for both oral and written examinations.

Assessment in the European Baccalaureate is both formative and summative.

Formative assessment focuses on the process of learning. It is reflected by the so called “A marks”. The A marks represent the pupils’ daily work in a subject, which consists of a variety of tasks and aspects such as:

  • Focus and attention in class
  • Active participation and quality of contributions in class
  • Regularity and consistency of the work in class and at home
  • Positive attitude towards the subject
  • Signs of initiative, independence and autonomy
  • Short written progress tests or oral interrogations
  • Observed progress
  • etc.

Summative assessment reflects the performance of a pupil at the end of a given period of instruction. It is reflected in the so called “B marks”, which are obtained in the term or semester Pre-Baccalaureate examinations. These examinations check the pupils’ competencies in certain subjects acquired over an extended period of time. They are held under certain physical conditions (room arrangement, use of specific formats, invigilation, etc.) and under time constraints.

At the end of year s7, the pupils obtain a preliminary mark, which accounts for 50% of the final mark. This preliminary mark reflects all the formative assessment and summative assessment (Pre-Baccalaureate examinations) carried out by the teachers during s7.

The other 50% of the final mark is obtained through the grades of the written and oral European Baccalaureate examinations provided by the internal and external examiners. The five written examinations account for 35% of this part and the three oral examinations for 15% of this part.

The overall pass mark for the European Baccalaureate is 6 out 10 (60 out of 100).

The European Baccalaureate Examinations

Secondary education is validated by the European Baccalaureate examinations held at the end of year s7. Candidates will sit five written examinations and three oral examinations.

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L1, L2 and Mathematics are compulsory written examinations. L1, L2 or a subject taught through L2 (History, Geography or Economics) are compulsory oral examinations. Therefore, candidates must demonstrate written and oral proficiency in at least two languages. 
Each examination will cover the entire syllabus of the corresponding subject in s7 but will also assess the competencies (knowledge, skills and attitudes) acquired in previous years, especially in s6.

Both written and oral examinations are marked twice, once by the candidates’ teachers and once by external examiners. The final mark will be the average of the two examiners’ marks. In the case of a mark disagreement of over two points, a third external corrector will be brought in. A thorough analysis of the previous corrections is conducted and a final mark between the highest and the lowest grades awarded by the two previous correctors will be determined.

The external examiners are appointed annually by the Board of Governors of the European Schools and must meet the requirements laid down in their home countries for appointment to examining boards of the same level.

The European Baccalaureate Diploma

The European Baccalaureate diploma is awarded to successful candidates by the Secretary-General of the European Schools on behalf of the Board of Governors.

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It certifies the completion of secondary studies in a European School or in a school accredited by the Board of Governors. It is officially recognized as an entry qualification for Higher Education in all the countries of the European Union, as well as in a number of other countries.

European Baccalaureate diploma holders enjoy the same rights and benefits as other holders of secondary school certificates of completion from their countries. This includes the same right as nationals with equivalent qualifications to seek admission to any university or institution of tertiary education in the European Union.