In Canada the marks are based on a bigger number and variety of assessments than in Norway (compared to my two high school experiences). During the year at YCMHS I had several oral presentations (mostly in language related courses), quizzes (small tests), tests, assignments (in class work and homework), projects and one final exam at the end of each semester. I was also observed though conversation and initiativ to discussion in class. My final marks are made up by percentage of these multiple ways of assessment (the exam usually constitute approx. 30% of the mark). This sucks for those who dislike working in class and home. On the other hand it gives everyone a better chance of achieving the highest mark possible. There is usually a final exam by the end of each semester in each course.
In Norway I have fewer assignments, projects etc. Teachers don't usually care about homework. They say we do it for our own good. Some of them don't even check it. This is good for the students who only prefer studying in preparations for the bigger tests. The negative aspect is that you have fewer chances to improve the mark. For instance, last year I had two big written tests (similar to exams) and one oral presentation during one semester and my final mark was based on those three assessments. If I had a bad day and failed one of them, I would only have one other chance to improve it. I don't like this, because you might do badly that one day because of a difficult task. This however, doesn't mean that you deserve a low mark in the subject. You could have written 10 other great essays. Yet, the one mistake have an big impact on your final. The final mark is made up of the mark average within that course. For instance (we don't do percentage, we have a scale from 1-6, where 6 is the highest), If these are my marks during a year; 4, 4, 5, 5, 5+, I will most likely end up with a 5. In Norway we don't have finals in every course, and the number of exams depends on and which grade you're in. I had no exams in grade 11 (high school is 11,12 and 13) because my class wasn't drawn. While some of my friends got drawn and had one oral and written exam in a course randomly drawn by the school.
It's a bit complicated to explain it all, but I hope this gave the curious people a small insight into the differences between Canadian and Norwegian marking systems. I prefer the Canadian one because I find it more fair. Hard work tends to pay off.