How Europe avoided a UK exam collapse


Jean-Michel Blanquer, the French Minister of Education, called the system “the simplest, safest and fairest solution in these difficult times”.When in doubt, reviewers were expected to be generous “in a spirit of goodwill” in the circumstances. As a result, France posted a record success rate of over 95%, nearly eight percentage points above the 2019 results.

This forced the French government to create around 10,000 additional university places for the most popular subjects.

Jean Castex, the Prime Minister, described the results as “generous”. They marked the biggest increase in pass rates since 1968, after huge student strikes resulted in grades based on continuous assessment with an 80 percent pass rate – about 20 percent higher. than the previous year.

Gilles Roussel, head of the conference of university presidents in France, CPU, denied that the Bac was devalued this year because places were anyway based on grades throughout the previous year and “often the first term ”. Students should catch up on some topics, however, he added.

In neighboring Germany, the 16 states decided to continue their end-of-year qualifications in Abitur after a heated debate.

While schools were closed during the exam period from March to June, small groups of students took tests at a distance of 1.5 meters in well-ventilated classrooms instead of hallways.

Despite the different approach, most German states also reported higher-than-usual results. Fears that stress and health issues could affect performance have proven to be unfounded. Indeed, experts hypothesized that students could have concentrated more due to a lack of distractions.

The Netherlands also had a higher pass rate after canceling their central leaving examinations, with schools awarding final marks based on coursework and schools’ own tests, than students. were also allowed to iron.

While nearly five times as many high schools as usual reported a 100% pass rate, according to a survey, the education ministry rejected claims that the exams had been devalued.

“This group of students had to take school exams under unexpected and difficult circumstances,” a spokesperson told Algemeen Dagblad newspaper, adding that the cancellation of the central exams meant that the students had more time to study for. school exams.

For the Selectividad University entrance exams in Spain, applicants chose three questions out of a selection of five and were not tested on anything learned during the lockdown. Each region was responsible for creating its own coronavirus review process.

The pass rate across the country was less than a percentage point compared to 2019, with the exception of students in northern Catalonia, hit hard by the virus, where a majority of them did. much better than in 2019. Some 67% more obtained more than nine points – out of possible 10 – compared to the previous year.

In Italy, around 500,000 pupils took only the oral part of their high school diploma while wearing face masks, but the three normal written tests were canceled. Scores were generally higher than in previous years based on reports from ‘generous’ reviewers who awarded the highest possible score 9.9% of the time, compared to just 5.6% in 2019.

The Czech Republic and Slovakia have postponed school leaving exams.

Sweden, meanwhile, are set to cancel the second round of their academic aptitude tests, which helps a lot to secure college places after dropping out of the first round in March.

They will likely be replaced by two exams in 2021, the education ministry said.


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