To the Observatory of the University System (OSU), an independent entity made up of professors from the public universities of Barcelona, one of the things that has “surprised” him the most when preparing his report University entrance marks, are they equitable? It is the enormous asymmetry that exists in the correction criteria of the exams that give access to the career. So that in last year’s call for the EVAU (Evaluation for University Access), the courts of Asturias gave six times more outstanding marks (9 or 10) in the general phase (the four compulsory subjects) than those of Balearic Islands: 12% compared to 1.9%. “It is evident that the differences between autonomous communities are very relevant (…), especially taking into account the existence of the single district in the Spanish university system”. In other words, with that qualification you can enter any public university in the country.
Vera Sacristán, author of the report and director of the OSU, believes that there is a certain correlation between the high school grades and the EVAU tests. In the Balearic Islands, the centers only give 12.7% outstanding marks and they are also the ones who score the lowest in the common tests.
The universities of Oviedo and the Balearic Islands are not in excessive demand, so the divergence in grades cannot be due to great competition. Asturias has a low rate of early school leaving (11.5%), but its loss of population explains why it has fewer and fewer students: almost 2,000 fewer students than seven years ago (from 19,300 in 2015 to 17,400 last year). . One in four Asturians opts for a degree in another community and 9.5% of those enrolled are from other provinces.
The Balearic Islands suffer a very high dropout rate (18.2%) ―working in tourism that does not require training is very tempting― and despite this, its student body has grown in these seven years by 400 registered students (from 11,800 to 12,200). Half (52%) of the university students in the Balearic Islands study outside the islands and only 3.3% of those enrolled come from other provinces. Classes in Catalan can be a barrier.
The Balearic Islands and Asturias are the extremes, but the gap is detected throughout the system. Curiously, the communities with their own language -Valencian Community, Catalonia, Galicia and the Basque Country- are not very generous when it comes to qualifying with outstanding. In the caboose is also the National Distance University (UNED), which examines many foreigners, and the University of Castilla-La Mancha.
Castilla-León, the best community in the results of the PISA educational level tests, year after year demands a unique Selectividad, jaded, he says, that part of the places in its most demanded careers ―especially in health sciences and engineering— are occupied by high school graduates from other communities with less theoretical training. However, official data shows that its courts rate very highly: 9.9% have more than a 9 in the general phase, the second highest percentage in Spain. The Canary Islands (6.5% outstanding), Extremadura (8.4%) or Andalucía (8.9%), are behind in the test scores, although their record at the center is higher than the Castilian-Leonese one.
The observatory would not be concerned about the gap if the single district did not exist, “it would not be relevant”, but remember that in the 2020-21 academic year the percentage of students who were pursuing a degree in a community other than their residence was 15.1 % (from 2.5% of university students in the Canary Islands to 32.5% in La Rioja). “These differences in access grades between the communities necessarily translate into a clear advantage for those who come from some of them when it comes to accessing the most demanded careers,” denounces the OSU.
The asymmetry occurs not only in the Selectivity tests, common to all applicants, but also in the Baccalaureate grade agreed upon by the cloisters of the center, and which is usually much higher in private schools than in public institutes. “There are some communities, such as La Rioja, Cantabria or Castilla y León, in which the percentage of grades between 9 and 10 is barely double in the baccalaureate than in the general phase of the tests – which is not little -“, explained in the report. “While in others it is more than six times higher (Baleares and UNED), more than seven times higher (Galicia) or even more than nine times higher (Valencian Community)”.
The observatory proposes, in order to put an end to the asymmetry, that the distribution of grades from each of the centers ―record and in the EVAU― be made public. And that “more homogeneous and coordinated test correction criteria be applied between autonomous communities, which should be relatively easy when dealing with tests regulated by state regulations,” it is suggested. Although the right claims a single exam, it does not try to impose it when it governs, aware that it is not applicable with different teaching models and the educational competences transferred to the communities. But it is possible to agree on measures, such as penalizing misspellings.
And finally, the OSU ―like a report by EsadeECPol published this week― is of the opinion that the grade from the EVAU exams should count for more than 40% of the grade (60% weighs on the center’s record), which is the current percentage. “Given that they are anonymous, objective and regulated tests with established correction criteria, their results are more equitable and, therefore, their weight in the access grade should be more relevant.”
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