IT WAS by imperial decree that Napoleon founded the French baccalauréat, the country’s school-leaving exam, in 1808. To this day, some 700,000 pupils still take the bac, the great majority of the annual age cohort. It has become the badge of excellence for a French lycée system that offers a model of globally standardised education, including to over 900 lycées with a total of 330,000 pupils abroad. Yet President Emmanuel Macron is now about to announce the most radical overhaul of the exam for over half a century. Why?

Despite spending as much on secondary schooling as other OECD countries, France no longer achieves corresponding results. Between 2003 and 2012, performance in international maths tests fell compared with other countries. The real shock was an international study of reading known as PIRLS, published in 2017, in which French pupils lagged in 34th position, behind those in Spain, Portugal and Italy. Their level had dropped by 14…Continue reading
Source: The Economist – Europe