A student reviews notes in Bilbao, before taking the Selectividad exam on June 9.
A student reviews notes in Bilbao, before taking the Selectividad exam on June 9.LUIS TEJIDO (EFE)

After meeting this Wednesday with the Minister of Education, Pilar Alegría, the Education councilors of the autonomous regions governed by the Popular Party have criticized the staggered reform of the Selectividad: this will gravitate on an academic maturity test, there will be half the exams for raise note and it will be different in each community, as at present. The popular ones have regretted for years that there is not a single EVAU (Evaluation for University Access), although they did not change the exam model when they were in power, and they have tiptoed through the “academic maturity test”, aware that the OECD and the majority of experts influence the idea of ​​moving towards a more transversal and useful education for daily life. Through texts, images, infographics, graphs or tables, the Government wants students to answer various types of questions (closed, semi-constructed and open) around the same topic. On this Wednesday afternoon, the numbers two of Education and Universities meet with the president of the rectors, Juan Romo.

The rectors, for their part, have never opted for a single EVAU, they see it as impossible with 17 baccalaureates. “They want to create more tension and nervousness for families. It is putting noise into the system”, lamented in 2019 in EL PAÍS its then president, José Carlos Gómez Villamados, elected this Tuesday by the PP Andalusian Councilor for Innovation and Universities. “The university entrance exam, like everything in life, can be improved, but it offers us sufficient guarantees of objectivity. The system would not be working if the students who come from another community have such a low level that they do not finish the degree, but that does not seem to happen”. The controversy was deactivated during the first two years of the pandemic, in 2020 and 2021, because the highest priority was to guarantee security during its celebration. Predictably, the official reaction of the conference of rectors (CRUE), which is agreed, will take time to arrive.

The governments commanded by the Popular Party have been demanding for years -also Alberto Núñez Feijóo as president of Galicia- a single Selectivity test for all of Spain, not 17, although it has been Ciudadanos who has made this cause a banner. “The educational system of Castilla y León stands out for its quality and equity, where a culture of effort prevails that does not give away approval. For this reason, with a single university district, it is unfair that the EVAU tests are different in each community”, Rocío Lucas, the councilor of this community, complained after the meeting. No problem with the academic maturity test. The reiterated example is that of Castilla y León, where there are many places in Medicine ―the long-awaited career― students from other communities with better entrance grades.

Román Rodríguez, his counterpart in Galicia, agrees with the criticism: “The draft presented today seems to want to change everything so that everything remains the same or even worse.” Galicia, like Castilla y León, feels particularly harmed by the model: “Despite being at the head of Spain in academic results, these communities remain below average in grades (final, when the school’s record is included) ) of the EVAU”.

A group of students during the Selectivity exam, in June in Madrid.
A group of students during the Selectivity exam, in June in Madrid.Chema Moya (EFE)

Patricia del Pozo, from the PP, appointed Andalusian Minister of Educational Development and Vocational Training on Tuesday, hits the same buts: “We do not understand that the ministry recognizes that there is concern with territorial imbalances between communities, but that the solution is only one evaluation less rote and more competency. This proposal delves into a model, that of the LOMLOE, which we do not share because it runs counter to the culture of effort and educational excellence”.

The Madrid councilor, Enrique Ossorio, also from the PP, proposes “carrying out a model like that of France, Germany or Italy, that is, a single, external and evaluable exam”. Because he considers that the Selectivity “contradicts Lomloe itself (article 38), since it does not guarantee equal opportunities.”

At the beginning of the 1990s, educational powers were ceded to the communities and since then there has not been a single baccalaureate but 17, which in the opinion of the Government and the rectors makes a common test impossible. This would mean that the regional executives ceded powers to create a unique curriculum. Now in one community there are 15 History topics and in another 35; and, while in one region they are examined with short questions, in another they have to develop a long topic and in a third respond to a schedule of historical facts.

The Government’s intention is to move away from memory tests and ensure that the results are comparable and, therefore, standardized by agreeing with the autonomies on a common framework to develop the test and correct it. Now there is no consensus or to penalize misspellings. The Basque councilor (PNV), Jokin Bildarratz, who is radically opposed to a common EVAU, is suspicious. He is concerned about the “homogenizing will that is intuited in the first proposal made by the ministry.”

The popular believe that with the single test all students would undergo the same degree of difficulty and would serve to evaluate the entire educational system, something that the PISA Report and the International Study of Trends in Mathematical and Science Skills (TIMSS) already do.

The PP governments also reproach Alegría for not having consulted them before presenting their reform, which Education calls a “working document”. The ministry responds that the regional executives have until the end of September to make contributions to the text and then the draft of the decree will be presented, which will go to a public hearing before reaching the State School Council and the State Council.

The Basque councilor (PNV), Jokin Bildarratz, has also criticized the forms to the ministry. He believes that he has spread the precipitation when it was “necessary a reflection, diagnosis and sharing.” Education argues that he wants students who start high school in September to know what their EVAU will be like in 2026.

Comisiones Obreras, the majority union among teachers, welcomes the reform. “The objective of simplifying, in some way, the number of tests, reducing the number of tests and making the new EVAU exams simpler seems to us to be a reasonable objective,” said its general secretary for education, Francisco García.

The Cicae association, which brings together a group of private schools, has welcomed the reform: “It would be inconsistent if the education of students is aimed at knowing how to apply the knowledge they acquire in a practical way and that the way of evaluating does not go in the same direction”. Although he considers that it is a mistake to eliminate the evaluation of the foreign language and that there is not a single Selectivity.

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