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Baccalaureate Mock Examinations - Disaster and Crisis for Teachers, Deflated Egos Amongst Students


Last month, most of the 7.000 12 graders sat the Baccalaureate mock examinations. The outcomes? Questionable, disastrous, or, in some cases, exceeding the students’ expectations. Those who participated in the mock exams received their scores last Friday, March 15th, through their class masters. Nevertheless, while its significance holds monumental value, the procedure itself as well as its efficacy remain, however, debatable. 

 

Technical Issues & Preparations

It is no surprise that the new methodology sparked controversy amongst both parties, students as well as teachers. While the latter were largely concerned with adequately implementing their technical skills, the former were anxious about being held accountable for witnessing a proper scanning of their work. The page stapling, and subsequent online submissions caused equally conspicuous delays and confusion amongst teachers. After finishing writing their exams, it was only a matter of luck for most students. Being alphabetically seated was not the sole dilemma whatsoever, yet the “good fortune” was determined by the supervising teacher’s ability to scan, staple and successfully monitor the papers being sent for examination and grading. Being one unlucky example myself, I had faced the adversity of finishing my exam at 11 am and leaving home at 2 pm, due to unprecedented circumstances and delays. Nevertheless, students in less privileged areas or countryside schools faced an even greater setback. Schools with limited internet access had to carry out the scanning procedures in other institutions and educational edifices. 


The Core Curriculum - A Clear Issue 

For a few years now, the Baccalaureate Curriculum has not undergone rigorous modifications. Yet, the current syllabus and format are definitely not to the student’s liking. Memorising literary analyses, learning formulae by heart and only solving equations robotically have become common for most Romanian students. Thus, most grew to utterly despise studying for these exams. Consequently, the Baccalaureate slowly became somewhat of an encumbering obstacle in our lives, rather than an adequate way to assess one’s knowledge, abilities and understanding of the subjects. Moreover, the most common complaint amongst us, students, is the subjective examination in the Romanian exam. As a consequence, the scores either exceeded one’s expectations, or completely deflated their initial assessment.


The Exams Themselves

While both teachers and students find themselves in a heated debate over the exams’ difficulty level, each going for either of the two extremes, the first mock exam set forth numerous impediments and seemed to encumber students and the didactic body. The Romanian Language and Literature mock Baccalaureate stirred controversy right from the first word. The infamous synonym hunt posed, potentially just as big of an obstacle as the literary analysis essay. These two were not the only ones putting students at a disadvantage, it seems. According to EduPedu and the official Education Ministry’s website, only 0,02% of students were happy receivers of a perfect score. While almost 40% did not get a sufficient grade to pass. For the other two mandatory subjects, the situation seems just a little less disturbing. 663 perfect scores in Mathematics and 560 in the elective subject. Our regional results are not corresponding with the national averages, Timiș county 58%of students didn’t achieve passing grades, and in Arad 56%. As for Moise Nicoară National College, over 90% of students passed with decent and good scores in each subject. However, only one perfect mark in Romanian, and 5 for Mathematics. 



Concluding Remarks

To conclude with, taking into consideration all aspects mentioned above, the Baccalaureate mock examinations represented a conspicuous stepping stone or rather a clear wake up call. Nevertheless, they remain a key decisive factor in the overall outcome in summer, when the actual Baccalaureate will take place. 



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