As the school year draws to a close in the second year of the undergraduate program (then the penultimate final year of the stage before the introduction of curriculum reform along with its new subjects), his students are already increasingly seeing the shadow of entrance exams. to college with all its fears and insecurities and insecurities. The social context is for nothing less.
But this fear of Selectivity is more in line with the myth of the past that has developed in educational communities than with the reality based on the facts of recent times: the weakening of promotion and qualification criteria due to the pandemic and its impact on the promotion of apprenticeship. led to a sharp increase in the pass rate in all parts of Spanish geography, as well as a decrease in the number of repeaters in undergraduate studies as well.
This laxity has also been observed in the last two years in the EBAU results of the various autonomous communities: the work committees of the subjects, due to the bankruptcy that the pandemic represented for progress in programming, had to take measures to adapt the exams to the new realities marked by a social divide that affected students more. who came out of situations of social and pedagogical trouble. But what is the picture we have now that the focus of the undergraduate curriculum has also changed?
An ESO student recently asked me, with some anguish, if it was true that Selectivity would be changed to a competency-based offering, less mechanical and more applied to apply learning to practice in everyday situations. I was surprised by your question, what we think, according to inherited stereotypes, that young people have little interest in current affairs, even education. His approach showed me that this is not the case.
Students are concerned about their academic future. And the EBAU flight continues to plan in their lives, subject to many forms of pressure as a sign of education giving in to the demands of the market without us getting the cure in time. From the first year of an undergraduate degree, and sometimes from the end of ESO, we orient students almost exclusively towards solving tests, which ultimately drown out the enjoyment of learning and condition the development of the curriculum, especially in the last year of this post-required phase. All of us who have taught this course know what we mean.
Institutional lethargy in the face of this pressure has led public and private schools to “sell” their EBAU scores as a meritocratic mark of perceived quality, forcing them to compete with each other, a race in which these institutions are losing. in areas with more complex social contexts.
The truth is that in this situation it is worth asking the question, in this time of educational and social change, to what extent university entrance examination models respond to the need to personalize learning and adapt to new times. And all this based on the Initial need for undergraduate has never become a kind of academy designed to prepare our youth to take a standardized external test, where any failure furthermore calls into question the work of their teachers or even the supposed “academic level” of the centres. This situation comes to the point where professors may even be pressured to “raise” their students’ bachelor’s grades just so they don’t feel offended by the grades of other institutions. Unthinkable in any school that prides itself on being rigorous and modern.
EBAU, on the whole, has an outdated and anachronistic structure, rooted in the propaedeutic customs – of dubious pedagogical value – of the past, closer to learning than to the interests of a society that needs critical, active participation and open-mindedness in the face of the complexity of our age. This is the banner of classical academicism, rooted in the system. And this is done, among other things, in order to justify the need for the quasi-industrial prototype of the traditional examination based on questions and answers to prevail over other assessment tools that demonstrate the mobilization of knowledge in real conditions, in an increasingly convulsive and demanding society. And this largely blocks any attempts to change the practice of various levels of education, culminating in EBAU, and even many fears about innovation in teaching, which disappear with the second year of the undergraduate degree (the course turns into a year of preparation for the test). is approaching.
While test design varies (not too much) by region and there are examples of tests more commendable than others, it cannot be denied that the impact of covid on the education system has further exposed the flaws in the framework of these exams. Together with an overall improvement in performance, this has seen the threshold scores for many professions at public universities rise at an extraordinary rate, especially since 2020, when even top-performing students are left out after being lost in endless waiting lists. …and they are forced to study at private universities or give up their preferences, often in the face of family or economic troubles.
Under such a scenario, university entrance examinations designed uniformly across districts only increase the potential vulnerability of individual students based on their background or condition. The only protection is the scholarship system, which, frankly, does not cover all the new dramatic realities generated by the pandemic.
Opportunities for change? Many, and now is a good time given undergraduate curriculum reform, clear institutional intentions (work is underway to launch a new EBAU model in 2024), and the gradual introduction of new curricula: from full adaptation from tests to social, humanistic, linguistic and scientific skills related to research, oral linguistic communication, critical digital culture, sustainable development and intercultural and multilingual awareness, to the development of honest interviews and other individual tools that also take into account the diversity of the student body and the human profiles that university careers of the present and future need. Various solutions that bring us closer to what other countries in our environment are already doing, and that move away from the mechanical approach and are loaded with the many themes that the Spanish model continues to represent; Selectivity, which has hardly changed in decades, limits the pedagogical options of teachers and stresses thousands of students every year, as well as greatly removes them from the cares of their studies.
In short, an updated proposal to meet the reformist priority of this Selectivity, lost in some connection with the past and the only reason for which at present is that the student receives his grade and runs in search of an academic future that meets their true needs.
Albano by Alonso Paz He is Professor of Spanish Language and Literature and Director of the State Institute of San Benito de Tenerife.
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