7. French Primary School - Ecole Primaire

  1. Structure
  2. Enrolment
  3. Curriculum
  4. Assessment

7.4. Assessment & Le Redoublement in French Primary Schools

There is both continuous and periodic assessment, although there is no certification process.

Parents receive a report three times a year (livre scholaire)on the child’s progress. The marking system is a notation stating whether 'not achieved', 'partially achieved', 'achieved' or 'excelled'

Pupils may be required to repeat a year if it is felt they would benefit from doing so, notably if, in their final year at primary school, the school does not consider that the child is ready to move up to collège.

The process of repeating a year is called le redoublement.

There is a lot of debate in France about the efficacy of le redoublement, with many who doubt it makes any difference to attainment, and who consider it inequitable.

As a result, since 2014 the government have decreed that it should only be done on an exceptional basis.

Nevertheless, it is not unusual for pupils from overseas to be asked to repeat a year if their French language ability is not considered adequate.

Alternatively, they may be placed in a lower class level on entry.

In the same manner that children can be asked to repeat a year, they can also be moved up to a higher class if their ability and results justify it, and if the school council and parents consider the child would benefit from it.

Teaching in schools may be organised according to age or level although, in general, classes are mixed ability.

There is a network of specialist teaching professionals who are able to offer specialist teaching to pupils who present particular difficulties.

Support for those with difficulties (both physical and intellectual) was further improved during 2005 when the government introduced a range of important reforms to grant greater equality of opportunity to all pupils.

These proposals included the requirement for schools to make specific provision for assistance to pupils whose first language is not French.

Children in CM1 and CM2 (9 to 11 years) who need additional tuition can be offered teaching classes during the school holidays, in an initiative called stages gratuits de remise à niveau pendant la période des vacances scolaires. They consist of 5 days teaching, 3 hours per day.

In addition, additional teaching and support can be organised during term time through an initiative called les activités pédagogiques complémentaires (APC).

These changes are part of a strong government drive to try and give greater individual attention to pupils, although it is unclear how this will be achieved with continuing pressure on the curriculum, and only limited new resources being made available.

Next: Lower Secondary School

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