Pierre Matio: “The place of the bachelor has changed, we must accept it”

Introducing secondary school reform in 2018, you wanted to “restore credibility” for undergraduate education. The 2021 edition is certainly affected by Covid, isn’t it discounted? Inflated grades and grades, truncated philosophy and oral exams: the success rate will approach 100%…

The tray this year actually does not correspond to the planned reform, but it has not been devalued either. However, it will be necessary to wait until 2023 (the year of the freshman bachelor’s degree in the next academic year) to have a fuller vision. You must understand that a bachelor’s degree is no longer the exam that puts an end to the course for a long time. In 1985, 30% of the generation had a bachelor’s degree, with a success rate of 66%. Today it is 80% of the age group and 95% of success in 2020. The place of the bachelor has changed, we must accept it.

The ferry arrives after Parcoursup. Many high school students are accepted to higher education institutions even before passing the exam. Is he on the path to marginalization?

Parcoursup is actually of increasing importance in the terminal. The key moment of the year is no longer philosophy in June, but mid-March, when high school students leave their wishes on the platform. The purpose of the reform is precisely that at the time of these wishes, two thirds of the marks included in the calculation of the bachelor’s degree are already taken into account in the application. Together with Jean-Michel Blanquer, we believe that this is the best way to restore the centrality of the bachelor’s degree in the school curriculum. A curriculum that should be part of a continuum from bachelor – 3 to bachelor +3 or even bachelor + 5, at least for holders of a general bachelor’s degree.

Among the goals of the secondary school reform was the desire to expand the range of subjects available to students, to get out of the corridors delineated by the sectors S (mathematics, physical chemistry), ES (environmental sciences + mathematics). , L (literary) … Has it been achieved?

The “new” high school actually offers more freedom of choice thanks to special lessons (three in the first year, two in the last) that are added to the general core. Already more than half of the “triples” formed by students do not correspond to the old row. Mathematics remains the preferred discipline, but then the choice is balanced between several subjects. And it is the specialty “Economics and Social Sciences” that is most preserved in the terminal. The specialty “Humanities, Literature and Philosophy” is studied by 23% of high school students, while L – only 15%. Thus, there is a rebalancing.

But the specialty “Mathematics” seems to have remained the royal road …

It is chosen by 62% of high school students, but previously 52% of them went to the S-direction, most of whom did not continue their course with scientific research. S and ES made up 85% of students. The real problem will lie in the criteria applied by higher education courses to select their students. The boss should play the game and appreciate the diversity of school professions.

What reluctance?

Let’s look at the results of Parcoursup. But it is true that the preparatory sciences are accustomed to give preference to three scientific subjects. Medical research too. It will be interesting to see if they choose to attract very good students or intermediate scientists in the future. It is higher education that will determine the reform.

What improvements are planned?

We must learn the lessons of the almost complete continuous control introduced by Covid. It is important to know what is meant by continuous monitoring, what collective rules should be established, what impact this has on the organization of the secondary school, what impact it also has on the teacher/student/family relationship, what role should be assigned to academic harmonization. … Giving more space to the continuous valuation, which is currently set at 40%, might be a line of thought.

At the risk of pointing out to teachers who are often hostile towards her?

Teachers express concerns that it is necessary to hear about “full” continuous assessment, because assessment in France is a kind of institution, and since continuous assessment is counted in the calculation of the bachelor’s degree and in Parcoursup, the reactions of students and their families to a person with average or mediocre grades may hinder their work.

For teachers, constant monitoring is a source of inequality. And the harmonization of notes is often perceived as a “cheat” …

It’s wrong to talk about fraud. It is perfectly normal to look at academic performance as an anomalous deviation from the average in university or faculty rankings. Therefore, we must work on the issue of harmonization. In fact, you need to dispassionately conduct polemics and make the routine a continuous control!

How long will it take for the reform to take hold?

It will likely take five years for it to unfold, acquire new habits, and also allow higher education to absorb it in order to diversify hiring profiles. Great efforts must also be made in orientation in order to better support students, from choosing their majors from the end of the second to expressing their wishes on Parcoursup, in the terminal.

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