The purpose of an assessment policy is to ensure that process and practices are standardised in ways that provide guidance and direction to teachers, learners and parents. This document provides a framework for the direction of actions taken in the assessment arena.  It has two main aims:

  1. To ensure quality services in continuous assessment and the preparation of examination papers;
  2. To ensure standardised processes in sets of subjects.

This document also ensures that progress done over the year and performance during examinations come together in making valid judgments about the learning process. The process of the production of this document, involved input and/or feedback from teachers, learners and parents. Therefore there is agreement on the content which helps with ownership and empowerment of the stakeholders involved. However, it is important to remember that such a policy is an evolving process – the proof is in the implementation. Such a document needs to have the possibility of adjusting to new realities and developments always with the aim of providing fair and equitable assessment practices for all learners.

Dr. Grace Grima

Director General, Directorate for Quality and Standards in Education



Since its foundation year in 1964, St. Paul’s Missionary College, like all schools, has been assessing its students during the course of each scholastic year.  And so the College has accumulated a wealth of experience in this area.  We have now come to another stage – putting into writing the existing praxis, and the educational and pedagogical principles that underpin it.

One concept, however, has always been a constant:  the promotion of a student from one form to another has never depended solely on the annual examination, but on all the work done by the student throughout the course of the whole year.  Furthermore, the College acknowledges the work done by the student throughout the year when it awards the Certificate of Merit, on the basis of the student’s work in its various forms all the year through and not just on examinations.

In view of the requirements outlined in the NMC (December 1999), we felt that a review of the modes of assessments and internal examinations at SPMC was due.   Hence, as staff, we started on a journey that took most of the time of our Development Days for two whole scholastic years.  During this journey we were guided by Dr Grace Grima, presently Director General, Quality and Standards in Education.  Eventually our conclusions were presented to the Student’s Council, Parents’ Representative Bodies, and finally to the parents at large.  Their observations were noted and included in the final draft.

Thus, this document, in its final  form, bears the imprint of all the stakeholders of our school:  the staff, its students and their parents.  And this makes us very proud indeed.

We feel indebted to Dr Grima for her contribution in guiding us forward, in helping us appreciate the many positive elements in the way we used to assess our students, whilst challenging us on other points that required reviewing.

A special word of appreciation as well is due to all SPMC staff who so patiently and objectively for two whole years questioned themselves about systems to which they had been accustomed for years.  And, finally, recognition is due also to the contribution of both parents and students.

What we make of this written policy is now down to all of us, here, at St. Paul’s: Students, Staff and Parents.

Fr Gerard Bonello mssp



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1.     Preamble

At SPMC, we believe in:

  • The holistic education of the students.  Educating the whole person means giving importance to his various dimensions – intellectual, social, psychological, physical and spiritual.  The student is encouraged to aim at, and strive towards such a holistic development.
  • The responsibility and accountability of the student.  The student is encouraged to commit himself wholeheartedly and consistently to his own education.
  • Education as a continuous process: it takes place throughout the whole year.  The student’s performance, in its totality, spread over a whole year, is considered, valued and acknowledged.
  • In a balance between Formative and Summative assessments.  Examinations are used as a tool for improved learning, and to certify that students have mastered the topics under consideration.The student’s need for encouragement.  As the student strives to develop his potential, his efforts are appreciated and his successes celebrated.

As a direct consequence of the above, the effort and performance of the student throughout the whole year is valued.  Credit is given to his commitment to work.

Cumulative System

2.     Cumulative System

2.1     It is the aim of the College to encourage students to work throughout the year.  So course work is valued, and marks in all subjects are awarded to the student for the course work done in all  its various forms.    The course work marks are separate from, and do not form part of, the examination mark. They are added to the examination mark at the end of each term, including the last term when the annual examination is held.

2.2     Table: Distribution of Marks

Exam Exam C/W C/W Total Total
Marks % Marks % Marks %
Term 1 75 18.75 35 8.75 110 27.5
Term 2 75 18.75 35 8.75 110 27.5
Annual 150 37.50 30 7.50 110 45
Total 300 75.00 100 25.00 400 100

NB: %’s are based on Final Global Mark (FGM) of 400

2.3     The Final Global Mark (FGM) comprises examination marks (75%) and coursework marks (25%).  Of the marks allocated to examinations, 50% will be carried by the Annual Examination, and 25%  by each of the Christmas and Easter Examinations.

Course Work

3.  Coursework

Course Work (CW) refers to all the work (but not examinations) done by the student during the academic year.   It  may comprise Homework, Class Work, Class Tests, Projects, Reports, Fieldwork, Oral work and Group Work.

Different forms of CW are to be set with the aim of establishing as objectively as possible the degree of assimilation by the student.  Marks will thus be awarded on the actual performance of the student, and offset help from other parties.

Coursework should be:

  • carried out diligently
  • done by the student himself, not by other parties
  • handed in on time
  • presented in the required format.

A student may be penalised for breaking any of the above.  Cheating (eg: copying and plagiarism) will not be tolerated.

Given the importance  of  coursework for the purpose of continuous assessment, the monitoring of the student’s progress in the subject, and its weighting for the purpose of promotion, at least six (6) units of coursework are to be given, collected, corrected and marked during each term.

Special course work in a particular subject may be allotted a percentage of the annual examination marks.  This falls under the discretion of the teacher, after consultation with the Rector.  The teacher will inform the students regarding the matter in due time.

Course work for  the three terms will carry a  total of 25% of the Final Global Mark (400) in each subject.  The CW mark for both Term 1 and Term 2 will be 35.  In Term 3, when the number of lessons is reduced because of half days, the CW mark will be 30.

Exams Forms 1-4

4.     Examinations Forms 1 – 4

4.1     Examinations are to be taken seriously by all parties.

Teachers are to set examination papers in a way which is in keeping with this policy.  Students are to prepare themselves by studying and revising topics covered during the relevant term/year.

All students are encouraged to act and behave responsibly during examination sessions. Cheating during examinations will not be tolerated, and those caught acting irresponsibly will be penalised.  If the case warrants it, the paper may be cancelled.  Such a decision will be at the Rector’s discretion.

Standard headings on all papers will be adhered to.

Students may be asked to answer questions on the examination booklet or on the foolscaps provided.

Marks allocated to each question will feature in the examination papers.

It is envisaged that higher order questions are to carry higher marks.

After the examination sessions of Term 1 and Term 2, teachers will give out the marked scripts to the students in class, and the examination paper discussed.  It is at the teacher’s discretion whether to allow students to keep a copy of the marked script.

4.2         There are three examination sessions per year:  Christmas,      Easter and Annual.

4.2.1     Parents’ Days are held early in the second term, after the results of the December Examination are sent home to the parents.

Questions in Term Examinations are to focus primarily upon content covered during that particular term.  However, in the case of Term 2:

It is at the teacher’s discretion whether to include content covered during the previous term, particularly in topic-based subjects.

If content from Term 1 is to be included in the Term 2 paper, questions related to the previous term may not exceed 20 – 30% of the examination.

4.3.3     The teacher will inform the students at least two weeks before the examination about the structure of the paper.

4.3.4     In language papers, content is much harder to define.  However, if specific grammar topics are to be examined, questions are to target particular units covered during that term.

4.4     Term Examinations are marked out of 75.

4.5     Annual Examinations are to cover at least 80% of the year’s syllabus.  Questions are to cover content covered during all the three terms. However, since the content covered in Term 1 and Term 2 will already have been examined, questions in the annual paper are to be biased in favour of content covered in the third term.  The structure of the Annual Paper is at the teacher’s discretion.

4.5.1     The teacher will notify the students at least two weeks prior to the examination with regards to the structure of the paper.

4.6     The Annual Paper will be marked out of 150.

4.6.1     Should a student miss any examination/s due to illness or other valid reasons, the marks in the examination/s missed will not be forfeited.  The marks in any examination that may be missed will be added to the mark allocated to that subject in the Annual Examination. Thus, for example, if a student misses a term examination in a particular subject, the annual examination mark for that specific subject will be raised to 225 (150 + 75).


5.     Promotion to a Higher Class

5.1     Promotion to a higher class depends upon all the work done throughout the year, and not solely on the Annual Examination.

A student who obtains 50% (i.e. 200/400) in the Final Global Mark in each subject will be awarded the College Certificate of Merit.  This Certificate will be awarded during a Parents’ Evening – the Christmas `End-of-Term’, the following December.

There will be no re-sit examination sessions.

As a norm, a student may not drop a subject during  the course of his studies.  However, in exceptional circumstances, and at his sole discretion, the Rector may allow a student to do so.

A student is to repeat an academic year if he obtains less than:

  • 30% of the FGM in one subject;
  • 35% of the FGM in two subjects;
  • 40% of the FGM in three subjects.

5.5.1     It is at the discretion of the Rector for a student to repeat a particular academic year  (cfr College “Code of Behaviour”, para 9).

Exams Form 5

6.  Examinations Form 5

6.1     There are two examinations sessions:  the December Examinations, and the College School Leaving Examinations.   The latter will be held as late as possible in Term 2.  In both the December Examinations and the School Leaving Examinations, questions will be set on the SEC model.

6.2      In the case of the December Examinations, questions will focus primarily on content covered during the current first term of the fifth form.

6.2.1     Topics from the previous years may be included, with the proviso that they do not exceed 20% to 30% of the paper.  Students are to be informed in this regard in the first week of school after the November mid-term holidays.

6.2.2     Only one paper is set and is marked out of 100 marks.  The time allowed will not exceed 1.75 hours.

6.3     The College School Leaving Examinations will follow the SEC model.   The result sent home will show grades.

6.3.1 It is envisaged that the College Calendar allows for a period of revision in class of the marked SLE Scripts.

Inclusion Programme

7.     Students in Inclusion Programme

7.1     Students in the College Inclusion Programme will also sit for examinations with the other students.

Depending on his own particular circumstances, a student may:

  • either (a) sit for the same examinations together with the rest of the mainstream students,
  • or (b) sit for examinations designed specifically on his own particular IEP prepared by his L.S.A. in collaboration with the subject teacher,
  • or (c) a mix between (a) and (b) above.

The result sheet sent home will indicate the type of examination sat for in each subject.

7.3     Procedures and guidelines for students with particular requirements as established by the SEC Board of Examinations will be strictly adhered to as from Form 3, Term 1 Examinations.

7.4     In the case of fifth form students, by mid-October, the L.S.A will notify the relevant teacher whether the student intends to sit for the SEC Examination in that subject.  If need be, the  teacher will then prepare a SEC paper B model for the student in the College School Leaving Examinations.