La Croix: Why does Jean-Michel Blanquer want to do away with common trials?
Pierre Mathiot: The joint tests, for a time called joint continuous assessment tests, could only be organized once, at the beginning of 2020, before the pandemic. They only had continuous control over the name. Halfway solution devised to take into account the reluctance of certain unions, they were akin to national terminal controls, difficult to organize: it was necessary to summon students, supervisors and correctors, according to a national calendar.
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The principals have raised strong criticism, as have many teachers. The two sessions under Covid, with a baccalaureate awarded to a very large extent on the basis of quarterly bulletins, show that the educational community is ripe to eliminate the common tests of the baccalaureate and move towards more continuous monitoring.
What will be the contours of the next session?
PM: The final test will continue to constitute 60% of the final mark. The remaining 40% should be based on the quarterly averages in the subjects of the common core which – unlike French and philosophy – are not the subject of a final test: history-geography, modern languages A and B, science education, physical and sports education (coefficient 6), moral and civic education (coefficient 2).
Also included in these 40% is the examination on specialty education abandoned at the end of first (coefficient 8). At the same time, the options should regain color: those followed in first and final will benefit from a coefficient of 4, those followed only in final from a coefficient of 2.
40% of the baccalaureate mark should therefore be awarded in the high school attended by the candidate, mainly by his teachers. Isn’t obtaining a baccalaureate or a mention likely to depend on the profile of the teachers or the establishment?
PM: The new paradigm effectively requires us to look at the fairness of treatment of candidates from one professor to another, from one institution to another. We must question the objectivity of the grade and the protection of teachers against possible pressure from students and parents. This presupposes training, support from inspectors, and harmonization within the establishment and between establishments at the academic level.
The pedagogical committee of each high school must establish a vade-mecum, in connection with a national reference system, on how to grade, the type of evaluations (classroom checks, homework, presentations, common homework corrected by others teachers, etc.). It is also necessary to distinguish formative evaluations (which do not enter the average) from summative evaluations, which will therefore count for the bac.
Has the introduction of a strong dose of continuous monitoring, under the pressure of the pandemic, already had an effect on the scoring?
PM: There are no hard data. But many players in the education system are seeing a rise in grades. This can be a problem when these young people enter higher education. We owe them a duty of honesty. Young people entering studies crowned with high school glory should not lose all self-esteem because their results would collapse …
→ LARGE FORMAT. Notes at school, do we have to change everything?
Some people fear that the students are, from the first, continuously under pressure …
PM: The objective is on the contrary to lower the pressure. The baccalaureate becomes a sort of long cycling stage, over two years, with bonus sprints, second category passes and some outside categories (especially specialty exams) along the way. Everything that is done from the first counts for the bac and Parcoursup but the marks of the continuous assessment are sufficiently numerous so that none, taken individually, has a decisive impact.
What do you say to those who believe that the rise of continuous monitoring is distorting the tank?
PM: What is proposed here is the best way to preserve the symbolic place of the bac in the school building. If we had kept the old diploma formula, based on final examinations after the admission process to higher education, Parcoursup would have won over the baccalaureate. The new version makes it possible to know two thirds of the results of the bac at the time of the procedure for access to studies.