Earlier examinations for gifted and talented pupils

It will soon be possible for secondary school pupils who perform extremely well in certain subjects to take their final exams earlier than is currently allowed. The time they save will enable them to take on challenges such as new subjects or enrichment activities.

Pupils can already take their final exams in the year before the one in which they are due to complete the course. On the recommendation of Sander Dekker, the State Secretary for Education, Culture and Science, the regulations are to be further relaxed to allow top achievers, for instance in the 4th year of the pre-university stream (VWO), to take their final exams 2 years early.

To stimulate talent, provide challenge and reward excellence, schools want greater flexibility in shaping their pupils' education and training. This includes making it possible for pupils to take exams in certain subjects ahead of their class. As a spin-off, pupils would have time to study new subjects or pursue enrichment activities. They would also be better equipped to take exams in more than 1 combination of specialised subjects.

The new measure is part of the Top Talent Action Plan for 2014-2018 presented to parliament this spring.