Parcoursup: the ten lessons of the first generation of the Blanquer baccalaureate

Published on 27 Jan 2022 to 13: 25Updated 27 Jan. 2022 to 18: 30

At a time when all eyes are on the schedule of the baccalaureate specialty exams for 2022, the Ministries of National Education and Higher Education have just published a report and a note on the specialties chosen by high school seniors in 2020 and their assignment in higher education. They provide a detailed portrait of the first generation of general baccalaureate holders who experienced the high school reform .

“The reform was very well understood by the students, who made coherent projects” with higher education, welcomed Wednesday the number two of the Ministry of National Education, Edouard Geffray, presenting the report. They appropriated the reform, with choices that have nothing to do with the old series.

The report provides other lessons. Overview in ten points:

The old “reflexes” of the S series

In the general terminal, four out of ten students (41 %) have chosen mathematics as their specialty education, according to the note from the Ministry of Higher Education. Next come Physics and Chemistry (33 %), Economics and Social Sciences (33 %), Science and life of the earth (27 %), History-Geography-Geopolitics-Political Science (27 %) then Foreign Languages, Literatures and Cultures (25 %). The Mathematics and Physics-Chemistry “doublet” is the most frequently chosen.

“It is the analysis of a first year, puts Caroline Pascal, head of the General Inspectorate wrote the report for the Ministry of National Education. It is not abnormal that reflexes were present in the choices of the families who were worried about the disappearance of the S series”.

Mathematics, still “highly valued” in higher education

On the training side too, mathematics remains “highly valued”, “even in training where this discipline plays a minor role”. ​Olivier Sidokpohou, Inspector General who co-piloted the report, evokes “an effect of inertia and habit” on the part of training courses which “still have the idea of ​​putting a small bonus” to high school students who have chosen the mathematics specialty .

“It has to evolve,” he explains. While preferring to see the glass half full: in the institutes of political studies, only 4% of those admitted to these courses have chosen the mathematics and physics-chemistry specialties in 2021, while the IEPs welcomed 25 % of baccalaureate holders in the S series before the high school reform.

Too few high school students passionate about sciences

The Minister of Education, Jean-Michel Blanquer, was delighted, Wednesday, on BFM, that “those who chose the Mathematics, Physics and Earth Sciences and Life Specialty Lessons more scientific studies” and that “the orientation towards scientific studies is improving”.

High school students who have chosen mathematics and physics-chemistry and the expert mathematics option are “more of 80 % to move towards science in higher education, to compare to the 60 % of the baccalaureate holders of the old S series, supports Olivier Sidokpohou. It was the objective of the reform to find a pool of high school students passionate about science, but the training courses concerned would like to have more students. »

But there are too few of them, especially since the digital and information sciences and engineering sciences specialties are not very popular.

The educational level, a determining factor for the assignment

“Overall, the educational level strongly influences the rankings established by the vows examination commissions”, according to the General Inspectorate.

“It is the school level and the mark obtained in the baccalaureate which appear to be the most determining factors for quickly receive a proposal”, according to the Ministry of Higher Education.

The vows examination committees, not always well informed

Not all training courses have the same degree of understanding of the reform. To examine the wishes of the candidates, some are not interested in the specialist courses, or else include them in their averages without making any distinction with the other subjects. Others confuse specialty courses and options, or pay attention to a Latin or Greek course – considered “a familiar marker of excellence” – and not to a linguistic, European, binational or international section.

“Anonymize the original high school”

“The mastery of rules is sometimes insufficient”, emphasizes the General Inspectorate, which recommends clarifying the criterion of the school of origin. It is aimed above all at the most selective training courses in Île-de-France. Those who use it claim that they do not want to “penalize good students from very good high schools”. And explain their “difficulty in relying solely on the results of continuous monitoring”, especially in 2021 in a context of “generalized inflation of ratings” .

They sometimes also respond “to a pressing and explicit expectation of reputable high schools wishing to maintain the same number of admitted in the training”. And thus place certain files “in the pile of candidates to be called as a priority” because they come from such and such an establishment.

The general inspectors denounce practices with “extremely negative effects (which ) can undermine the confidence of families and students in the general fairness of the process”, and call on the ministries to “decide clearly on the possibility or not of using criteria such as the results of the school of origin”. While recommending “to anonymize the original high school”.

Scholarship quotas sometimes theoretical

Scholarship rates set by the rectors are sometimes reached in the list of proposals, but not in the list of admitted. The General Inspectorate recommends setting annual targets for admissions.

Confirmed difficulties of economic and commercial preparatory classes

Despite a high proportion of proposals, the candidates “do not integrate these training courses very much”, underlines the report, “which was not the case in previous years”. The economic and commercial preparatory classes “had difficulty recruiting the expected number of students”, with ” relatively low fill rate. The causes are to be sought beyond the health crisis, according to the study.

The Cordées of success on stand-by

In 200, high school students with benefited from the Cordées de la Réussite had to be explicitly identified as such in Parcoursup. This system is a pillar of the interministerial policy in favor of equal opportunities. However, “no training” provided this element in Parcoursup. Emmanuel Macron had undertaken in 2022 to go from 200.000 students “roped up” in 2019 at 200.000 in 2020 and to increase the impact of this policy.

Diversity indicators by training

The General Inspectorate’s report recommends statistics on the distribution of girls and boys in training, to examine “the possibility of regulatory changes that could allow all training to promote diversity in their classification procedures in accordance with the general principles of equality and equity”.