“The test seems pretty good to me. Different, but okay. Many times, when doing exercises we ask ourselves what we are going to apply them for, and here we see more real application and not meaningless concepts”. Rosa Díaz is 16 years old, is in her first year of Baccalaureate and is one of the 2,000 students who have tried the new Selectividad exams this Tuesday, which will begin to be applied from next year. She studies at the Calderón de la Barca Secondary Education Institute (one of the 50 in all of Spain that has participated in the trial), located in the residential neighborhood of El Coto, in Gijón.
The student sees the level of difficulty of the exams as “reasonable”, which, in the case of Philosophy, has included analysis of texts and also of images in each of the blocks to choose from. In Mathematics, the young people have faced questions related to the Ricardo Tormo de Cheste circuit or the Zaragoza cathedral (and its Mudejar stars), as well as questions related to a company that rents sunbeds and umbrellas on the beach. They have also had to answer a questionnaire with questions about their personal and family situation and a test to assess the essay. “The circuit test has been the most entertaining,” said Pablo Verdasco, 17, who considers it a “good point” that the proposed exercises can be “applied to everyday life.” The young man points out that “most” of the classmates have even had between five and 10 minutes left over from the 105 established for each exam (15 more than usual in the traditional Selectividad).
The statements of these two examinees allow us to infer that the test to which the new EBAU has been submitted gets a good grade in Asturias. It provides enough time to carry it out, it puts the students in front of recognizable problems in daily life and it is defined more as a competency test, to show everything learned throughout the course, rather than memory test. “It depends on what you are best at, but the difficulty is reasonable according to the concepts we see in class,” says Rosa Díaz.
“Now you have to read a lot and relate”
The 26 students from IES Calderón de la Barca who took the test are enrolled in the Bachelor of Science. Its two representatives, Rosa Díaz López and Pablo Verdasco, were satisfied with the exam, according to the director of the center, Luis Fernández Llanas, who chose this group because it was the largest, and as a Mathematics teacher he valued the test in these terms: “The difficult thing now is the step from waiting for an exercise, short or rote questions, to having to read a lot first and then relate and answer what is asked for.” The director of the Gijón institute recalled that the students examined were not aware that this Tuesday they were going to do this test.
The head of the area of the National Institute for Educational Evaluation, Ruth Martín Escanilla, has supervised the exams in Gijón: “They put the students in real life situations, so that they have to apply the skills and not simply take a memory test” . The Mathematics test provided students with the formulas they must use; that of Latin, a glossary with translated terms; The one for Language asked for an integrated analysis of various texts and the one for English included a listening (listening test). In the elaboration, the contributions of the teaching staff have been taken into account, but also of institutions such as the Spanish Network of Philosophy or the Royal Spanish Mathematics Society.
Martín Escamilla explained that the 15-minute extension of time in the new exams is due to the fact that students must “reflect” more before answering. For her part, the Minister of Education, Lidia Espina, has stressed the importance of this piloting, which will allow “assessing the strengths and weaknesses” of the new Selectividad to learn and redirect what is seen to be not working. “These tests are necessary, because Lomloe (the new education law) takes a giant leap towards competency assessment. And it will allow a fairer and more balanced test to be carried out throughout the territory”.
The Ministry of Education and Vocational Training hopes to have the results of this test ready in May, carried out with high school students from all over Spain. The idea is to prepare a report that will be taken into account when creating the models for the final tests of all subjects, which will be released in June 2024. They should be available in June of this year, so that students and teachers have enough time to become familiar with them.
In June, the university entrance exams that students who finish their second year of high school will take will be almost identical to those that took place in June of last year, since in the even courses the curriculum changes promoted by the Lomloe They will not be implemented until September.
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