Parents are thus encouraged to familiarise themselves with the so-called learning objectives, assessment criteria and attainment descriptors that now accompany every secondary syllabus, and should show up to meetings with teachers well armed with information on the skills, competences and levels of attainment expected for success in the course.
That being said, there is a concern from all sides that with the lowering of the pass threshold to a 5 rather than a 6, teachers may be tempted to perform a direct “conversion” of old marks to new marks. In this case, the results could go one of two ways: 1) teachers perform a “straight-across conversion” (e.g. from 9 to 9, 8 to 8, and so on) leading to a higher pass rate but little other impact on student assessment, or 2) the teachers do not pass more students but “spread” passing results among more marks-inevitably leading to a decrease in the average. Either of these comes with risks: the first risks the reputation of the Baccalaureate and the second risks the prospects of our children. We can only hope that our teachers will eschew the temptation to “convert”, and we should guard against this tendency in ourselves.
Importantly, over the next year or so all member states need to go through a process of re-evaluating the equivalence tables or algorithms in order to adjust for the new . The equivalence tables/algorithms interpret European Baccalaureate results into national admission criteria, and are used to determine the admission of ES students into national university systems.
On 2 December, parents representing German sections across the European school system addressed a letter to the Secretary General of the European Schools, Giancarlo Marcheggiano. In this letter, they called his attention to modifications made in by the German government to the equivalence algorithm/table translating European Baccalaureate marks into German marks.
Though these modifications were ostensibly due to the new marking scale, they were carried out before the new marking scale had been implemented and more importantly before the results had been analysed. The new German table risks lowering the value of German marks by 8%, thus making it more difficult for students to get university places. The situation may be seen as a cautionary tale for other sections.
How do our kids measure up against those in other schools? Which subjects do we really excel at and which need work? How do results in my section compare with those of other sections at Uccle? Or with my section at other schools in Brussels?
In 2017, the European School Baccalaureate Unit launched an online version of the European Baccalaureate Results. The online version is not unlike the printed version, providing a breakdown of results according to a range of criteria.
We encourage parents to look through the online version of the Bacc results and to try out some of the filters offered through the black tab marked “Online”: (See in particular, data listed under “Literary subjects”, “Scientific subjects”)