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What is my child’s high school “worth”?

Every year, in March, the same question comes up: which are the good high schools? Or rather: what is a good high school? The one who has the best pass rate in the bac, even if it means selecting thoroughly to only present the best candidates for the exam? The one with the highest proportion of mentions among its graduates? The one who, from the second to the baccalaureate, accompanies his students – even the weakest, even in four years – in obtaining the diploma?

If certain media hasten to establish prize lists and other classifications on the exclusive basis of the first two parameters, the answer is rather a mixture of the three, estimates the ministry, which publishes on March 23 its indicators of added value of high schools. (Ival). “Added value” because, for each establishment, the document also shows the difference between the result obtained and that which was “expected” according to the academic profile of the pupils (who have or have not already repeated a year) and the socio-economic characteristics of the families.

“It is not the alpha and omega of our educational policy”

“Schools can rely on the Ivals to carry out the evaluation process, both internal and external, which has been their responsibility for two years”observes Fabienne Rosenwald, head of the Department of Evaluation, Foresight and Performance (Depp), the statistics department of National Education.

“The Ivals offer us an interesting comparison with high schools with a similar profile”comments Bruno Bobkiewicz, the general secretary of the SNPDEN, the main union of school heads. “But it is one tool among many others. It is not the alpha and omega of our educational policy”he nuances.

Similarly, few families rely on the Ival to choose (when they have a real choice) a school for their child. “Few are those who know that they exist, even within parent-teacher associations”notes Laurent Zameczkowski, the spokesperson for the Peep federation. They continue to rely on the reputation of the school, a mix between the results obtained in the baccalaureate and word of mouth”, he observes.

“Reputation is very much about safety and discipline”

“Only parents of the middle or upper classes have the means to seize such a tool”, considers Honorary Inspector General Jean-Pierre Obin. Moreover, according to him, the arbitration of families between public and private or the circumvention of the school map through options or specialties are often based on criteria other than academic results: “Reputation is very largely due to security, discipline, the public that each establishment recruits”, he believes.

→ MAINTENANCE. Jean-Michel Blanquer: “We must evaluate the education system more regularly”

This publication of the Ival 2022 comes in any case in a particular context since the president-candidate Emmanuel Macron, during the presentation of his program, on March 17 in Aubervilliers (Seine-Saint-Denis), promised “more transparency” in communicating the results of national assessments. What to highlight “pedagogical practices that lead to better results”.

Soon indicators for colleges?

Monday, March 21, his campaign team said that this ambition would mainly lead to setting up the equivalent of Ival for colleges. A project on which the Depp has already been working for a long time.

→ READ. High school: towards a return of maths in the common core

A bad idea, for Bruno Bobkiewicz. “This would amount to putting all the establishments in competition”, he warns. Admittedly, the multi-criteria approach makes it possible, a priori, to highlight establishments that provide high-quality work with a rather underprivileged public. But the secretary general of SNPDEN is convinced of this, “Parents most often retain only the parameters that confirm their preconceived ideas”.


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