“The schoolchild learns to read, write, count, reason, not speak. But it is by speaking that very often he will have to exercise his profession; it is by speaking, in any case, that he will almost always have to defend his interests, support his thinking, convince his interlocutors. ” In his 2018 report, which served as the basis for the reform of high school and the baccalaureate, Pierre Mathiot took up this quote from an illustrious Minister of Education, Jean Zay, to plead the establishment of a “grand oral” .
→ PRACTICAL. Bac 2021: six tips to prepare for the grand oral
A “great oral” that the boss of Sciences-Po Lille even saw very large. ” It goes without saying that his place in the new baccalaureate will be central, (…) by that it will undoubtedly be invested with a dimension of ritual of passage based on orality ”, he wrote.
No outside personality in the jury
Three and a half years later, at a time when the first candidates are preparing to pass this new test, the sails have been revised downwards. “The pragmatism and the constraints of the organization prevailed”, recognizes Pierre Mathiot. In general, the coefficient went from 15 to 10. The duration of the examination was reduced from 30 to 20 minutes.
Above all, we have completely buried the idea of opening this exam on the company: forgotten the introduction into the jury of an external personality (business manager, lawyer, journalist, etc.), the candidate will ultimately be evaluated only by two professors, at least one of whom provides one of his specialty courses.
The pupil must in fact have prepared two questions that he has chosen, based on one or both of the specialties taught in the final year. The jury selects one of the subjects, for a five-minute presentation, standing, followed by ten minutes of discussions. The test includes a last part devoted to the young person’s wishes for further studies, as well as to his professional projects.
The form more than the substance
The evaluation criteria relate to knowledge but also the oral quality of the test, continuous speaking, interaction, construction and argumentation. In other words, the candidate must be noted above all on the form, which is quite rare in the French school but much more frequent in “real” life, at work or in social relations.
→ ANALYSIS. Bac 2021: the great oral continues to be debated
However, the grand oral remains a largely academic test, unlike the oral of the college certificate. At the end of the third year, in fact, the candidate can also – alone or in a group – present a commitment or an extracurricular path (charitable or civic project, artistic or sports approach), or even the company in which his internship was carried out.