The European Baccalaureate (EB) is a group diploma awarded by the 14 Type 1 European schools of the European Union, which were established to educate the children of parents working in European Union institutions. In addition Accredited European Schools (currently 12) have been or are in the process of being established, six of which will already have students taking the European Baccalaureate in 2016.
There are currently around 25,000 pupils in the system as a whole, and approximately 2,000 pupils take the final examination every year.
All lessons and periods in the secondary section are of 45 minutes duration.
The EB examines the final two years of a seven-year secondary education.
Only marks received in Year 7 (Year 13 in the English system) count towards the final qualification.
A significant and mandatory element of study is undertaken from Year 3 (Year 9 in the English system) and assessed at the final European Baccalaureate in the first modern foreign language, including at least the first modern foreign language itself, history and geography.
Students take a core of compulsory subjects (including mathematics and at least one science course) and must choose a minimum of two 4-period options. In addition they may choose 3-period advanced courses in some subjects and additional complementary courses.
The minimum number of lesson/periods per week is 31 and the maximum is usually 35 or 36.
Students must pass each year – if not they must repeat the year, and ultimately leave the school if they fail the same year twice.
Students take at least 10 subjects and their final Baccalaureate is based on assessment across these.
There are no individual subject pass certificates, but individual subject marks are indicated on the final Baccalaureate certificate.
- Language 1
- Language 2 (the first modern foreign language)
- Mathematics (3 or 5 periods)
- Religion or ethics
- Language 3
- Language 4
- Ancient Greek
- Advanced language 1
- Advanced language 2
- Advanced mathematics
Complementary courses vary considerably between schools, but might include
- Laboratory physics
- Laboratory chemistry
- Laboratory biology
- Introduction to economics
- Physical education
- Language 5
Broadly comparable to UK Level 3 qualifications. Acceptable as a group qualification satisfying general HE entrance requirements in all member states of the European Union.
Candidates are awarded a final overall mark expressed in points with two decimal places.
The pass level is set at 60 out of 100 (6 out of 10).
From 2021, the overall pass mark will be reduced to 50 out of 100.
Candidates also receive a mark out of ten for each individual subject. This is calculated as a weighted average of all the assessed components of the subject.
The assessment structure below is correct for students obtaining the EB from 2014 onwards.The detailed provisions concerning the EB, including those students who obtained the EB in 2013 or before, can be seen at https://www.eursc.eu/en/Office/reports-statistics
The EB is a group diploma and the final mark is based on:
- internal school examinations of all subjects studied (excluding religion / ethics) in Year 7, which is the final year of their EB course.
- internal continuous assessment during Year 7 (excluding religion / ethics).
- three final oral exams set by the teacher and marked by the teacher and an external examiner appointed by the examining board. These are in:
- mother tongue: the first modern foreign language (or history or geography, which are studied in the first modern foreign language).
- Advanced mathematics (compulsory if taken) or a 4 period option / elective subject (if not taken as a written exam) or a 2 period subject. The list of possible subjects is restricted.
Complementary courses cannot be offered in the final written or oral examinations.
The detailed provisions concerning the EB, including those students who obtained the EB in 2016 or before, can be seen at https://www.eursc.eu/en/Office/reports-statistics
Summary from 2014 EuropeanBaccalaureate
- 30% of final grade based on internal school examinations.
- 20% of final grade based on internal continuous assessment.
- 35% of final grade based on five final written exams set by the examining board and assessed externally.
- 15% based on three final oral exams set by the teacher and checked by the external examiner and relevant inspector.
No examinations can be retaken to improve marks.
A student taking the minimum number of periods and lessons would receive over 1,500 hours of guided learning during the two year programme.
For the purposes of comparison, a candidate studying the compulsory Maths 5 and 3 period courses would have at least 240 and 144 hours of guided learning respectively during the two year EB programme.
HEPs tend to focus on the overall result plus marks in the most relevant subjects.
When assessing the overall result it should be borne in mind that students have to perform well across a wide range of academic subjects (i.e. at least 10 subjects) to obtain a good score.
All subjects are continually assessed. Some are additionally assessed tests during normal lessontime.
Five final written exams are taken in June of the final year. Three final oral exams are taken in June / July of the final year.
All subjects in which a written examination may be taken in the Baccalaureate are examined in January of the final year.
European Baccalaureate results are published in early July.
This is a current qualification.
The first awards of the EB were made in 1959. Assessment arrangements were updated for 2013/14.
More detailed information is available in the Department for Education document for admissions officers of university and other higher education institutions (July2013).
The average overall mark in the EB across the schools has risen only very slightly over time, and is just over 77 (out of 100) over the last five years.
The number of students obtaining marks of 8 or 9 for individual subjects over the last five years remains stable.
Over a five-year period (2011–15) students achieved:
Percentage of students
0 – 60 (fail)
70 – 80
80 – 90
Article 5 (2) (b) of the Statute of the European Schools, an international treaty to which the UK has acceded, provides that holders of the EB shall: ‘have the same right as nationals with equivalent qualifications to seek admission to any university in the territory or the Contracting Parties’. In this context ‘university’ applies to all HEPs.
Department for Education information for admissions officers of university and other higher education institutions (July 2013) – www.gov.uk/government/publications/information-on-the-european-baccalaureate
The European Schools website, which includes links to each individual school and syllabuses – www.eursc.eu/
University of Cambridge: International Examinations External Evaluation of the European Baccalaureate (2009) Final Report: www.eursc.eu/Documents/External%20Evaluation%20-%20Final%20Report.pdf
PISA Report on the European School of Luxembourg(2006): www.euroschool.lu/luxschool/pisa/EE_PISA_2006.pdf
PISA Report on the European School of Culham(2012): www.esculham.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2013/03/PISA-Based-TestforSchools_The-European-School-Culham-report-ebook-1.pdf
Report on the European Baccalaureate 2015 www.eursc.eu/Documents/2015-09-D-7-en-4.pdf