Bac 2021: Why does the great oral make people cringe?

EDUCATION The new bac test is inaugurated from Monday until July 2. But the candidates have suffered a few plasters ...

In Saint Clément de Rivière, on June 22, 2021, candidates take their grand oral exam. - Alain ROBERT / SIPA
In Saint Clément de Rivière, on June 22, 2021, candidates take their grand oral exam. - Alain ROBERT / SIPA

    • This test is brand new since it is one of the major innovations resulting from the  reform of the bac.
    • Missing or incomplete juries, significant delays… The start of the grand oral was punctuated by hiccups in some academies.
    • Candidates believe that some juries have put them in difficulty when an instruction of benevolence had been given to teachers.

    All the lights were on him, but he turned out less bright than expected. The grand oral, the flagship test of the new bac, which is being organized for the first time this year, got off to a sluggish start. Since Monday and until July 2, 525,000 candidates for the general and technological baccalaureate are invited for this test, which includes twenty minutes of presentation and discussions with a jury.

    But not everything is going smoothly for this launch. First quack: convocations of teachers to participate in injuries arrived at the last minute. “Some colleagues received their summons on Monday morning to sit on the jury a few hours later. Others received a phone call telling them that they had been expected at a high school for two hours even though they had not received any summons. Still, others arrived at the examination center and were sent home because, in the end, they were not expected in the establishment, ”describes Sophie Vénétitay, Deputy Secretary-General of Snes-FSU. “Some juries did not comply with what the texts provide. They were without the teacher of the candidates' specialty or with two teachers of the same specialty. This forced school heads to recompose juries as a matter of urgency, ”adds Claire Krepper, National Secretary for Education of SE-Unsa. Dysfunctions due, according to her, "to an algorithm of the Siec (the Interacademic Service for exams and competitions) poorly thought out or developed too quickly. Hence the problems encountered in Normandy, Ile de France, in the North… ”

    "The jury did not ask any questions on my subject"

    These bugs caused significant delays in the conduct of the oral examinations and even the postponement of some of them. Asked by 20 Minutes, the Ministry of Education explains for example that “of the 450 juries of the Paris academy, 21 were reviewed on Monday. In general, 7 candidates out of the 16,000 of the Paris Academy were reconvened for the grand oral ”. But he does not give a figure for the other academies: "We must pay attention to the magnifying effect of cases of dysfunctions relayed on Twitter," he recommends. Nevertheless, this disorganization disturbed the candidates, like Axel, who answered our call for witnesses: “I was summoned at 8 am. Small problem: a member of the jury saw his invitation canceled, then canceled. Waiting 7 hours in stress to spend just 20 short minutes is just unacceptable ”.

    The test did not go very smoothly for other candidates either. While the ministerial instructions stipulated that the student, once his presentation has been made, must be questioned by the jury to “illustrate or explain his remarks”, some were especially questioned on points of the Terminale program that not all had been able to finish, because of the half-gauge in the establishments, the absences of the teachers… This is the case of Emelyne: "The jury did not ask any questions on my subject, but only on the courses of my two specialties of Terminale". Noah had the same experience: “I had two minutes of questions pertaining to my topic and eight minutes on scalar geometry, which had nothing to do with my question at all. The previous candidate also had geometry questions for eight minutes that were completely unrelated to her subject. I was greatly surprised and taken aback, even disgusted. There was never any question of being questioned about any other part of the program during this performance. Our teachers never suggested it! », He testifies.

    "The teachers who were summoned at the last moment did not necessarily have the time to look specifically at the expectations of the test and the arrangements proposed by the ministry to take into account the disrupted school year of the students", explains Claire Krepper.

    "This grand oral test leaves me with a rather bitter taste"

    Instructions for a slightly more lenient assessment had also been given for the bac. “The keyword will be benevolence,” insisted Jean-Michel Blanquer. But again, it seems that not all juries have applied the recommendation, as evidenced by several testimonies we have received. "No kindness from the math teacher and the other was a sports teacher who didn't open his mouth and wasn't at all interested," Noah continues. This is also the feeling that Léo experienced: "I had the right to extra questions, other oddly worded questions, as well as reflections of the style:" Come on, make your brain work a little for a time". Finally, I had to repeat my conclusion a second time because, for him, I had supposedly not answered my problem. In short, this test of grand oral leaves me with a rather bitter taste as well as certain comrades of my establishment ”. Virginie, whose son took the oral exam, is just as disappointed. "Kindness of the jury? Not at all… Faces closed and we try to trap the candidate with very specific questions outside the program, ”she says.

    Faced with these "concerns and dysfunctions", the high school union FIDL decided to set up an email address ( available to high school students who would-be victims, "so that they are supported in the difficulties that they would meet ”. But not sure that there are many complaints this year: “The continuous assessment represents 82% of the overall mark. So the grand oral will not penalize the students. But it is imperative that the Ministry of Education rework this test for next year, ”says Claire Krepper.

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