Compulsory primary school leavers attainment test

All pupils in the last year of primary school must complete a primary school leavers attainment test. The test measures pupils’ skills in language, arithmetic and mathematics.

Reason for introducing a compulsory attainment test in year 8

The attainment test shows whether pupils have attained benchmark levels for language and number skills. Together with the school advice, it also indicates what type of secondary education would be most suitable for the individual pupil. So the test is also a tool for ensuring a smooth transition between primary and secondary education. The primary school leavers attainment test is not an exam; pupils cannot pass or fail it.

School advice and attainment test

Primary schools give school advice to all pupils before the 1st of March. Students take the final test between April 15th  and May 15th.

Does a student receive a higher level from the attainment test than the school advice? Then schools have to reconsider the school advice. This reconsideration may result in the school advice being revised upwards.

Is the result on the attainment test lower than or equal to the school advice? Then the school advice will not go down. The school advice automatically becomes a definitive advice.

Exemption from the attainment test

The school board may want to exempt a child from sitting the attainment test. But it cannot do this without the parents’ agreement. If the parents and child so wish, the child can still sit the test.

The following pupils do not need to sit the attainment test:

  • pupils who are set to follow the labour market activities pathway or daily activity pathway in special secondary education;
  • pupils whose IQ is lower than 75;
  • pupils who have lived in the Netherlands for four years or less and who have insufficient command of Dutch.

Adapted attainment test for pupils with a disability

Pupils must be able to sit the attainment test with as few restrictions as possible. Adapted versions of the attainment tests are available for pupils with a disability.

Choice of primary school leavers attainment test

Schools are able to choose from the following attainment tests:

  • central primary school leavers attainment test;
  • ROUTE 8;
  • IEP;
  • Dia;
  • AMN.

Changes from schoolyear 2023-2024 onwards

From the 2023-2024 school year onwards, pupils from year 8 take the compulsory attainment test already in February. The new attainment test ('doorstroomtoets') will take more into account that the pupil continues to develop after the test in year 8. In the last week of March, the pupils of year 8 register simultaneously for the secondary school. As a result, all students have an equal chance of a place at the school of their preference and at the level that suits them best. 

Attainment tests approved for four years, with annual checks

The minister approves attainment tests for a period of four years. The content must be adapted each year. Once a year the ministry checks that the content of the attainment tests is up to standard. Schools must be able to depend on the tests and know that they assess what has actually been taught.

Date of the primary school leavers attainment test

Pupils must sit the primary school leavers attainment tests between 15 April and 15 May.

Language and number skills always tested

Language and number skills are compulsory elements for all primary school leaver attainment tests. The tests may also include other, non-core elements, like environmental studies. This is a broad area of learning that covers geography, history and science.