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Bac 2021, candidates more than ever in the dark

It’s not easy to be a candidate for the bac these days. Because the epidemic led, shortly after All Saints’ Day, some high schools to reduce their tonnage by means of very diverse solutions (classes every other day, every other week, only in the morning or in the afternoon) of which many few offer true distance education to students at home.

→ MAINTENANCE. Bac 2021: “We could have anticipated the uncertainty”

Above all, the contours of the examination fluctuate according to the health context. A state of affairs assumed by the government since an ordinance published on December 24 provides for possible “Adaptations” may relate to the “ nature ” tests, ” their number, content, coefficient or organizational conditions, which can in particular be done in a dematerialized manner ”. The text – which also applies to superior examinations and competitive examinations – specifies that candidates must be notified within a time limit which cannot be “Less than two weeks before the start of the tests”.

The common tests of early 2021 abolished

What to leave perplexed, if not anguished, of the high school students who had already had to wait until the beginning of November to learn that the first continuous assessment tests, kinds of exams planned for the beginning of 2021, were canceled in favor of a “real” continuous assessment based on the bulletin.

What about the final exams devoted to specialty lessons and scheduled for mid-March? They are currently maintained, with a wider choice of subjects in order to take into account the differences in advancement in the program, depending on whether or not the students have 100% lessons. But it is not impossible that the resumption of the epidemic is also right this session, as demanded by the unions of teachers and school leaders.

By groping our way, the government leaves itself the possibility of safeguarding as long as possible a maximum of normality in the course of the school year, even if it means radically reshaping the tests if the situation requires it. We can see there the expression of a pragmatism often claimed by Jean-Michel Blanquer. Or a form of unpreparedness, of improvisation.

Preserve a flagship reform of the five-year term

To identify the springs of this strategy, it should probably be remembered that this 2021 edition was to inaugurate the new formula baccalaureate, refocused around four final exams in terminal, with 40% continuous assessment (10% relating to bulletins and 30 % on the common tests marking out the last two years of high school).

We should probably also remember that this daring reform, erasing the sectors of the general road, was built at the cost of a compromise between two diametrically opposed positions: on the one hand, that of the SNPDEN, an organization of heads of establishment convinced that the bac is only an obligatory passage to higher education and that it can be issued entirely on the basis of continuous assessment; on the other hand, that of Snes, the main teaching union convinced that only an exclusive recourse to the final control, with anonymous copies noted outside the establishment, guarantees fairness to candidates.

A bac awarded with generosity last year

Anticipating a very uncertain health year, the government could undoubtedly, in September, announce that the bac would be exceptionally awarded on the basis of bulletins, the least risky solution in terms of organization. But then he would probably have exposed himself to a union rebellion.

However, without denying the spirit of his reform or falling back into the previous pattern where the diploma was played almost entirely over a week of exams, he could have decided from the outset to replace the common tests with a pure and hard continuous control. relating to the subjects of the common core. Tests contested last year, to the point that some candidates could not pass them.

The candidates are in any case today to wonder if they will really have the opportunity to “pass the bac”, to submit to the little ritual that it still embodies. It is to be hoped that their teachers have learned the lessons of the 2020 edition, marked by a change of rules along the way. And that they did not start again, as some did, to note daily in a very severe way to spur their students and allow them to “outperform” during exams which may not (all) take place. .

Last year, continuous assessment scores had in many cases been revised upwards, including by teachers or the sending institution, who preferred to do it discreetly rather than rely on them. a harmonization jury. Result: the success rate had climbed to 95.7%, against 88.1%.


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