This week Franck Lefèvre and I had the pleasure of meeting with parents from the 3ème class to discuss the national exams their children will be sitting in June – the Diplôme national du Brevet (aka the Brevet). The Brevet is a rite of passage for all French students and for all students enrolled in French schools overseas – it marks the end of collège (middle school) and entry into lycée (high school).
The meeting was an opportunity for us to show the parents some of the facts and figures that show the exceptional
achievements and academic success of French Section students over the past few years – in the Brevet and also the Bac (national exams marking the end of high school) exams*. Over the past 6 years, 92% of our students have passed the Brevet with honours, and 88% have done the same in the Bac exams in the years since we opened the lycée. The benchmark by which the very best schools are measured is the percentage of high and highest honoursreceived by their students in national exams, and once again our students’ statistics are remarkable – 76% for the Brevet and 84% for the Bac (compare that to the 50.1% average at the Bac for French Schools in the AEFE – there are no AEFE averages available for the Brevet.)
When we analyse the results, it is possible to discern what the Ministry of Education calls the ‘added value’ of our school. That is to say, we can objectively observe the advantage attending the French Section holds for students in terms of their exam results. The key indicator is revealed when we compare the number of years a student has spent in the French Section and their results in French national exams. The students who received the highest honoursin the Bac spent on average 6 years and 5 months studying in the French Section, compared with 4 years and 3 months for those who simply passed the Bac or did so with basic honours. The same goes for the Brevet. The 22 FS students who received highest honours had been with us for 3 years and 5 months, while those who simply passed or got basic honours had been in the French Section for only 2 years.
Even though the Brevet and the Bac are two very different sets of exams that take place during two very different moments in a student’s school life, there is an undeniable connection between the results students get in both. Let’s take a look at the results of the 16 students who took both the Brevet and the Bac exams at the French Section: 12 of them got high or highest honours in both exams, of the 4 who simply passed or got basic honoursin the Brevet, 3 got similar results in the Bac.
So we can see that for the majority of our students, the years spent in middle school have a significant impact on their high school diploma results. It is a message that we must spread to our students and our families. It is also important to know the other factors that are at play: we know that it is very beneficial for students to give thought to their future and to have a well thought out academic plan (specialities, university courses etc.) from early on. The chances of students achieving excellent results are also enhanced if they play an active role in school life – getting involved in student representation is a timely example.
It is not my intention to draw up the blueprint for the perfect student, but it is obvious that the students who do the
best are the ones who see school as something to participate in rather than something that is inflicted upon them.
To conclude, it has to be said that you have made an excellent choice for your children in selecting the French Section for them – they are all on the path to success. The cards are in their hands. Each and every year, we offer more and more projects, groups, pathways, workshops and clubs, providing them with the opportunity to make the very most of their time in the French Section with the incredible teachers we have here. We know our students are capable and we hope (more truthfully, we demand!) that with the support of their families, our students will achieve excellent results again this year!
*French schools from 5ème onwards mark, assess and evaluate children out of 20 rather than 100. (See correspondence chart in the secondary parent guide page 14). When children sit the Brevet and the Bac they can simply pass the exams, or they can pass with honours (mentions). Students who score between 12 and 13.99 out of 20 pass with basic honours (mentions assez bien), students who score between 14 and 15.99 pass with high honours (mentions bien), while students who score between 16 and 20 points pass with highest honours (mentions très bien).