How it is done

Flowchart of procedures from the development of subject specifications to the issue of exam results

General Matura Curriculum and subject specifications

Assessment objectives are determined within subject specifications and, as a rule, comprise knowledge of lasting value that is important for further academic studies. The content, scope, level of knowledge and tier as determined by each subject specification must not exceed the syllabus for the subject in question. Each national exam committee prepares a draft version of a subject specification, which, after approval from the National Committee, is then forwarded for endorsement to the National Council of Experts for General Education. The objectives of the GM, the number of subjects available, both compulsory and optional, and the manner and forms of assessment, etc., are determined by the General Matura Curriculum drawn up each year by the National Committee and endorsed by the afore-mentioned Council of Experts.

Candidates have to be informed about the scope, content, responsibilities and requirements for taking the GM no later than two years in advance (by the time they enrol in Year 3). Subsequent changes are possible (and allowed) only when they do not concern the scope, content, responsibilities or requirements for taking the GM, or, when they put candidates in a more favourable position.

Development of examination materials

Examination materials are developed by national exam committees in accordance with subject specifications. The Centre is responsible for the proofreading and formatting of materials; for candidates from the Italian and Hungarian ethnic minorities, materials are translated and certain adaptations are made (in Geography and History). The Centre is also responsible for modified question papers for candidates with special needs. A set of question papers for any individual exam series is determined through a random draw by the National Committee. For detailed information on the structure of exams for individual subjects, click here.

Managing confidentiality and security of exams and logistics

All procedures for the development, printing and distribution of examination materials to schools, as well as assessment procedures, are designed with a view to managing the confidentiality and security of examination materials as well as the anonymity of all candidates and examiners. Careful recording of examination materials prior to sending them to and from schools ensures the traceability of question papers during both the administration and assessment of the exams.

Exams and assessment

Question papers and marking schemes for all subjects are drawn up externally and all candidates take the same tests on the same day at the same time.

In the GM exam, external assessment (of question papers) is complemented by some forms of internal (i.e. school-based) assessment.

School-based work has various forms, such as practice, coursework, research tasks and other types of task and is assessed in schools. However, questions for the oral exams are set by national exam committees. The instructions for school-based assessment carried out by teachers and supervisors at schools are the same for all candidates and are also established by national exam committees.

Oral exams and stage performances are performed by candidates in front of a three-member committee of examiners appointed by the Centre in accordance with the assessment criteria established by national exam committees.

Written parts of exams are developed and assessed externally. Tasks, items and the marking scheme with the key are set by members of the national exam committees for each subject, while candidates’ coded, i.e. anonymous, papers are assessed by trained examiners in accordance with assessment criteria that are established in advance and are the same for all candidates. Prior to assessment, each national exam committee carries out moderation of the marking scheme on a random sample of scripts. The objective of moderation is to make sure the marking scheme includes answers the test developers had not included but are nevertheless correct.

Each question paper is marked by one examiner, and in some cases, two – this is called re-marking. Open-ended tasks (i.e. essays) are always marked by two examiners; in this case, a candidate is awarded the average of the marks. When the marks of two examiners differ by more than one fifth of the highest possible score of the question paper, the paper is assessed by a third examiner; in this case, the third mark (i.e. the re-mark) is final.

Chief examiners (one per subject) are responsible for setting and maintaining the standards of assessment and leading a team of examiners and/or moderators; they are all national exam committee members. In subjects with a large number of candidates and examiners, they are helped by assistants. Examiners award marks according to moderated marking schemes developed for an individual exam series by each national exam committee after having examined a sample of scripts.

Since 2021, all GM question papers have been marked electronically (on-screen).

Gathering data, setting grade boundaries and informing candidates

In preparation for assessment, candidates’ question papers are returned to the Centre, then cut and scanned. Examiners mark candidates’ scripts in a web application for e-marking. In some subjects, candidates’ answers for one of the question papers are on answer sheets which allow for optical mark reading and data processing. Based on data gathered from e-marking, answer sheets and school-based assessment, the IT Centre and Research & Development Unit perform a number of statistical analyses of candidates’ achievements based on which each national exam committee prepares a proposal for conversion of marks into grades (i.e. how many percent are required in any individual subject for each grade). The proposal must be approved by the National Committee. Criteria established for the Spring exam series are valid also for the following, i.e. the Autumn, exam series. On the day the exam results are published (determined by the Key Dates Calendar for the General Matura), candidates can access the website of the Centre in the morning using their exam code. Later the same day, they receive their General Matura reports at their schools. The Centre sends data on the candidates’ achievements to the higher education application and information services of all higher education institutions (universities and colleges).

Later, analyses of achievement at school level are carried out by the head teacher and teachers using the online Tool for Quality Assessment of Knowledge (OrKa).