Secondary education is validated by the European Baccalaureate examinations at the end of year 7.
The certificate awarded is fully recognised in all the countries of the European Union, as well as in a number of others.
European Baccalaureate certificate holders enjoy the same rights and benefits as other holders of secondary school-leaving certificates in their countries, including the same right as nationals with equivalent qualifications to seek admission to any university or institution of higher education in the European Union.
The Examining Board, which oversees the examinations in all language sections, is chaired by a university professor and is composed of examiners from each European Union country. The 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 Baccalaureate examinations assess performance in the subjects taught in years 6 and 7, and to qualify for admission to the examinations students must have completed at least the last two years of secondary course at a European School.
Assessment of each candidate's performance is based on:
- a preliminary mark reflecting performance in course-work, oral participation in class and the results of tests during year 7, and accounts for 50% of the marks.
- at the end of year 7
a. five written examinations, which account for 35% of the marks, including the student's mother-tongue (or the language of the section in which the student is enrolled according to the category to which he or she belongs), first foreign language and mathematics, which are compulsory for all candidates.
b. three oral examinations, which account for 15% of the marks, including the student's mother-tongue (or the language of the section in which the student is enrolled according to the category to which he or she belongs), which is compulsory.
To pass the Baccalaureate, candidates must achieve a minimum of 60%.
The close scrutiny exercised by the Examining Board, which, as far as the written examination papers are concerned, requires double marking and, where necessary, a third marking, guarantees the high level and quality of the Baccalaureate and thus allows the certificate to be awarded only to students with the competences and knowledge required to go on successfully to higher education.