This study produced by the Eurydice network gives a detailed picture of the context and organisation of national tests in 30 European countries and the use made of test results in informing education policy and practice and in guiding the school career of pupils. It presents the diverse choices made by European countries regarding the objectives, frequency and scope of national tests and points to important Europe-wide patterns and trends. It also emphasises the need to develop coherent systems of pupil assessment that combine the respective strengths of nation-wide tests and other forms of... assessment and aim not only to grade pupils but to help them improve. The efforts of European countries to increase the effectiveness and efficiency of their education systems have led to a growing emphasis on the measuring and monitoring of performance. In the majority of European countries regular national testing has been established relatively recently and it has been expanding rapidly in the current decade. In the school year 2008/09 only the German-speaking community of Belgium, the Czech Republic, Greece, Wales and Liechtenstein do not administer national tests in compulsory education. Several other countries have not yet completed the full implementation of their national test systems. The significance of national tests continues to evolve and in the United Kingdom (England, Wales and Northern Ireland) they are now being assigned a less important role in the overall system of assessment. The study covers compulsory education and the data refers to school year 2008/09.