Compulsory primary school leavers attainment test

As of the 2014/2015 school year, all pupils in the last year of primary school must sit 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. 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.

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 70;
  • 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 for the 2015/2016 school year

Schools will probably be able to choose from the following three attainment tests for the 2015/2016 school year:

  • central primary school leavers attainment test;
  • ROUTE 8, by A-VISION;
  • primary education final evaluation test, by Bureau ICE.

The Minister of Education, Culture and Science may allow other tests to be used. In November each year the ministry announces which tests may be used.

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. Because the 2014/2015 school year is a transitional year, other rules apply to the use of aptitude tests and tests measuring learning progression.

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.