State Exams are a major milestone in any student’s academic career and are aimed at assessing the skills acquired at the end of the two education cycles provided for by the Italian system:
- the first cycle is made up of two consecutive and compulsory primary school and lower secondary school courses;
- the second cycle corresponds to upper secondary school.
Passing the State Exams allows students to continue their studies and access university education. The Diploma di maturità (High School Diploma) awarded by a school in the Italian network around the world has the same legal value as the same qualification issued in Italy, and allows students to continue their education in both Italian and foreign universities.
State Exams abroad
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, in agreement with the Ministry of Education, organises State Exams abroad and dispatches exam board chairs and external commissioners both to Italian state schools and state-authorised private schools abroad.
The role of exam board chair in the final State Exams for the first education cycle is held by state school directors. Should the person in question be unable to do so, he/she shall be replaced by a teacher colleague, as long as the latter is a tenured secondary school teacher. In state-authorised private schools, this role may also be held by the coordinator of educational activities. With regard to the second education cycle, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs appoints the exam board chair, after checking the availability of school directors serving abroad. The criterion used to appoint chairs is based on how close their place of employment is to their appointment, taking special care that, as a rule, any transfers take place within the same continent.
With regard to the composition of the entire exam board, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in agreement with the Ministry of Education, sends the personnel necessary to form the Boards on a mission or work trip, in accordance with the provisions issued ad hoc by the two Ministries, also taking into account local regulations.
For the first cycle, the exam board is divided into sub-boards for each exam class, made up of teachers from the individual class councils.
With regard to the second cycle, on the other hand, the class councils designate internal commissioners (equal to the number of external commissioners).
The subjects entrusted to the internal commissioners are chosen in a well-balanced way, particularly ensuring a fair and careful breakdown between the internal and external individuals, taking into account the need to assess knowledge of foreign languages in the best way possible.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs manages the procedure to identify external commissioners, appointed from among the teachers already serving abroad or, alternatively, from among those who have submitted an application to perform their duties abroad through the dedicated portal (in Italian).
Finally, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in liaison with the Ministry of Education, handles all aspects involved with sending the first and second written tests through the so-called telematic envelope.