The Selectividad in Spain has become a triumphant walk: this course has been approved by 95.9% of those who took part. What makes the difference between entering or not entering the desired career is the final entrance mark, in which 60% weighs the high school academic record (achieved in the educational center) and 40% the marks in the common compulsory exams to all high school graduates in the region (the calculation is complicated if the student takes voluntary subjects that make the tests gain weight). And there’s the key: the huge percentage of outstanding posts in certain communities turns the final ranking around. In Catalonia, only 14.9% of the students graduated with an A compared to 31.1% of the Canaries, so that, given similar results in the exam, the Canarian students have a better overall grade, which is the one used to enter any Spanish university. With these wickers it is almost impossible to compete.

The disparities continue in the Selectividad exams (there are 17 different models), not only because of the content ―the way of approaching the subject is different― or the type of test ―some more rote than others―, but also because of the correction criteria . They are not unified, and the new EVAU (Evaluation for University Access) proposed on Wednesday by the Government will try to solve it.

Murcia, with a 7.8 average grade for access to the degree in 2021, is the community whose students have both the highest score in the Selectividad exams (7.2) and the highest percentage of outstanding in high school: they achieve it on 32.3% of those approved. But removing this exception, in which both parameters stand out, in other communities the differences are notable: those enrolled in the Basque Country, Castilla y León and Cantabria were scored by the courts of the Selectivity exams in 2021 just as well as those of Murcia , with a 7.2. But, on the other hand, the students from Andalusia, Extremadura and the Canary Islands, in that order, ranked better in the final grade, when the high school grades are also counted.

In other words, the good grades that raise the final grade for students from the Canary Islands, Extremadura and Andalusia are brought from school, and even more so if they come from a privately owned center. The school record is the source of the disparity and, nevertheless, the right-wing parties demand a single Selectivity as a remedy for all ills. Ciudadanos has made the flag of the single exam for years ―with numerous proposals in Congress―, and the PP has joined the petition with less impetus since the time of Mariano Rajoy. The Government considers that with 17 different baccalaureate models ―education competencies have been transferred since the early 1990s―, the same exam is unfeasible.

The difference in grades in the exams was one point last year between the ordinary and extraordinary call -an average of 7.2 in the Basque Country, Castilla y León, Murcia and Cantabria, compared to 6.2 in the Balearic Islands-, and the battle is to the thousandth to enter the most disputed careers (Medicine, Biotechnology or the double degree of Mathematics and Physics). The gap narrows in the final grade, to 0.7 points, when the previous high school record and the EVAU exams are taken into account: 7.8 in Murcia and 7.7 in Andalusia, Extremadura and the Canary Islands. , at 7.1 in the Balearic Islands.

But the real competition does not occur in the average of those approved, but in the upper step, in that of the very outstanding students in the first call. The recurring example is that of Castilla y León, where many places in Medicine ―the most desired career in Salamanca and Valladolid― have traditionally been occupied by students from other regions. In 2019, the then Community Education Minister, Fernando Rey, lamented that “boys come from other communities with swollen grades”, and advocated a unique Selectividad. The controversy was fueled, but in 2020 and 2021 it was deactivated due to the pandemic. At that time, as now, it was decided to take into account the confinement and the difficulties faced by families with fewer resources (who were the hardest hit by the restrictions and lack of support) when qualifying.

High school graduates from Castilla y León -the best prepared in Spain at 15 years of age, according to the PISA tests- get the best grades in Spain in the exams (each community has its own tests), but those who arrive at the EVAU with an outstanding grade below of the arm are less than in other regions and that triggers the discomfort. On average, in Spain, 23.9% of students finish their baccalaureate with an outstanding grade (between 9 and 10) in the ordinary exam; Castilla y León is somewhat below (23.6%) and well above Canarias (31.1%), Extremadura (30.5%) and Andalusia (30.7%). So these regions, which do not stand out in their EVAU exams, are positioned first in the entrance classification when, in calculating the final grade, the average of the student determined by the faculty of the university counts for 60%. center. At the opposite extreme are the Balearic Islands, with 16.5% outstanding, or Catalonia, with 14.9%.

The cloisters are free to put the outstanding ones they consider, so the Administration cannot set limits. The only restriction that there is is the honors registration, which is coupled with the free EVAU: one can be given for every 20 students. In the last six years, as this newspaper reported a few weeks ago, the outstanding marks in the first call among those who have studied in public institutes have almost doubled ―from 12.75% of those approved in 2015 to 22.9% in the academic year 2020/2021― and in subsidized centers ―from 15.5% to 29.5%―, and it has also risen, although proportionally less, in the pure private school, where the maximum marks were already more common (from 19.25 % has gone to 31.9%).

In the communities that are ranked first in the end, the percentage of grades of 9 or 10 is especially noteworthy in private schools: in Andalusia, 41.1% leave school with an A in high school; in Extremadura, 36% in concerted centers in other stages and 46% in private ones, and in the Canary Islands, 44.5% in subsidized ones and 43.1% in full payment ones.

In October 1999, Mariano Rajoy, then Minister of Education of the PP, announced that the grade in the baccalaureate transcript would no longer weigh 50% and the Selectividad another 50%, and that the grade placed in the centers would count for 60% for that the students did not play “the work of many years in a test”. The experts agree on this excess pressure for the student. The measure did not please the universities, who consider that the inequalities originate earlier: they are seen above all in the previous records of the students. Saturnino de la Plaza, who was president of the rectors’ conference (CRUE), assured that these changes would “discredit” the test. He feared that the private one would inflate the note. The reform of the Selectividad, advanced on Wednesday by EL PAÍS, does not contemplate that these percentages will be changed.

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