The paper explores the shift from course-based to state-wide exit examinations at the end of upper secondary education in Germany between 2007 and 2011, and whether this resulted in an increased standardisation of teacher-assigned course-based semester grades. The sample consisted of 253 (2007) and 338 students (2011) in math courses at advanced level (schools: N = 19). Analyses of subgroups of students based on gender, ethnicity, and family background revealed a significant difference in grades. Perhaps the enhanced correlations between the achievement test and the course-based semester grades are an effect of standardisation due to state-wide exit examinations. In contrast, when achievement was controlled for, the implementation of state-wide exit examinations did not increase the standardisation of course-based semester grades in the given time in the intended manner. The course-based semester grades continue to differ depending on students’ background. Several possible explanations for this result are discussed.