August 5, 2021

In Europe, examinations disrupted by the health crisis

It is called “baccalaureate”, “Abitur”, “A level” or “maturita”, but the principle remains the same: around the age of 18 or 19, young Europeans finish their education with exams or a continuous assessment mark which gives them access to higher education. How, at the end of a year severely disrupted by the health crisis, to issue a valid certification that takes into account the circumstances? All over Europe, educational institutions have wondered about the best way to organize this rite of passage into adulthood: by replacing it with the marks obtained during the year, or by retaining the “benevolence option” tests., at the risk of triggering debates on the value of the diploma.

“Especially noHigh School Corona! In Germany, this expression has become the mantra, in recent weeks, of the education ministers of the Länder – the German regions responsible for education. While, for a year, they have not always taken the same decisions on the health plan, a common line has been adopted on theHigh School, dear to the hearts of young Germans: no question of making 2021 baccalaureate holders the holders of “discount” diplomas. When the large teachers’ union GEW demanded, at the peak of the third wave, at Easter, that the exam be canceled if the level of infections did not drop, student associations demanded its maintenance. Everything therefore remained the same as in previous years: written and oral exams on site with distance, a similar level required.

Unprogrammed events

On June 16, throughout Italy, the graduation the Covid-19 era has begun, too. For the second consecutive year, the exam is marked by the disappearance of the written tests in favor of a one-hour “maxi-oral”, divided into four parts, including the presentation of personal work. This Italian tradition has also inspired the new “grand oral”, one of the two surviving exams of the French baccalaureate. In Italy, the marks obtained at the maturita play a decisive role for a number of university courses, which have implemented “numerus clausus” policies in recent years.

Elsewhere in Europe, final exams have often been partially or totally canceled. France was to launch in 2020 and 2021 a new version of the baccalaureate, but the national education has gradually deprogrammed the majority of the tests, replaced by the continuous assessment. With the exception of philosophy, Thursday, June 17, and the grand oral. Debates are sometimes heated on the “value” of this bac – in 2020, 98% of candidates had passed the general baccalaureate, issued entirely on the marks of the continuous assessment.

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