What should each student do during graduation

Requirements for final exams at schools adjusted

The Ministry of Culture has made pandemic-related adjustments for this year's final exams at the schools. That means more study time, more exam time and more choice for each individual.

One of the central goals of the Ministry of Culture is to guarantee the quality of all degrees as well as fair and legally secure examination conditions. The students must not have any disadvantages due to the corona pandemic. “In the past school year, we promised the students fair conditions for their final exams. We have kept this promise, and of course it also applies to the current school year, ”says Minister of Education and Cultural Affairs Dr. Susanne Eisenmann and adds: "We use all possibilities for fair examination conditions and in the interest of the prospective graduates we expand all possible leeway."

The Ministry of Culture has informed all secondary and vocational schools about the pandemic-related adjustments to the central final exams. The following is an overview of the central adjustments. Various special regulations for vocational training courses are announced to the respective students by the school.

More processing time

The processing time for the written examination questions will be extended. For these, the students have half an hour more time for the upcoming exams if the total processing time is 180 minutes or more. If this is shorter, the processing time is extended by 15 minutes.

More pre-selection tasks for teachers

In addition, the Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs has stipulated that in general education courses for all subjects with written examinations, more tasks are offered for pre-selection by the teachers, so that they can respond precisely to the lessons given when making their choice. "In this way, the teachers can ensure that only those topics are checked that were dealt with in detail in the class," says the minister. This applies to all final exams; the number of tasks available for selection depends on the degree and subject. However, the number, type and structure of the tasks that are presented to the students in the individual subjects are completely retained. In the vocational schools, too, additional options were given, depending on the individual courses of study, in order to ensure a better match between lessons and exams. In addition, the focus of the examination topics was adjusted. For example, instead of five essay topics in this school year, students at vocational high school will be given six to choose from in German.

The Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs has also commissioned the Baden-Württemberg Institute for Educational Analysis to take another critical look at the examination tasks that have already been carried out in view of the pandemic-related special situation with regard to the scope and degree of difficulty.

Two to three weeks more study time

Since the school closings for this year's final classes fell in a phase of developing examination content, the cultural administration postponed the dates of the final exams in July 2020 to allow additional time for lessons and exam preparation. This gives the pupils - depending on the type of school - two to three weeks more learning time. Most of the examinees can still use the Whitsun holidays to prepare for their final theses. In the full-time vocational schools, too, the exam dates have been postponed to a later date wherever possible.

Focus on final exams

In addition, the material to be treated was slimmed down at the beginning of the current school year: only the core curriculum has to be dealt with. This includes the mandatory content of the curriculum and makes up three quarters of the lessons. The school curriculum that schools can use to set their own priorities is not binding. The schools can use this time to deepen and repeat content that could not be dealt with due to the pandemic. In addition, the Ministry of Culture has asked the schools to focus more and more on exam content during the school year.

Special situation in the assessment in view

The teachers should also take into account the special circumstances of this and the previous school year when making the assessment. As in 2020, the teachers are requested to consider the special situation associated with Corona when correcting the final exams this year.

Free choice of appointment

As in the previous year, for the upcoming final exams in 2021, the students can freely choose whether they want to take them on the main or the late date. This leaves the prospective graduates who need more preparation time or who would like to take their exams later for other personal reasons, more freedom. However, due to the later examination dates, a possible post-date examination can only take place in September.

Extended options for voluntary repetition

Even in the current school year, a voluntary repetition of a grade is not counted as a “repetition due to failure to move”. This leaves the option of repeating a class again on its own. The possibility of voluntary repetition is also possible in the grade levels in which it was previously excluded. Pupils of the gymnasiale Oberstufe also have the option of voluntarily repeating a grade in the following school year without this being counted towards the maximum length of stay in the upper level.

Extended period for withdrawal from exams

In addition, there is the possibility of withdrawing from the examination at all types of schools up to one week before the start of the examination. However, this does not apply to individual subjects, but to the examination as a whole.

Adjusted transfer decisions

In contrast to the previous school year, performance should now again decide on the transfer. A renewed automatic advancement to the next higher grade level would not make sense for educational reasons, as there would be the risk that students start the new school year with too much backlog. Due to the special circumstances caused by the pandemic, however, this school year means that the decision to transfer can be postponed due to these circumstances. This means that a decision on the transfer will not be made until the next school year - at the latest in the six months - based on the achievements in the next grade level. In addition, pupils at general schools can also be admitted to the next higher class on a trial basis.

Simplifications in the correction process

The simplified correction procedure will also be used in 2021. The first and second corrections take place at your own school - and the correction modalities are also different than usual in order to significantly reduce the distances involved and the administrative effort. “We have turned every possible adjustment screw. With regard to the preparation as well as the examination content, the process and the assessment, "says Eisenmann and continues:" I am sure that we are offering the prospective graduates fair conditions for their final exams - and so do they will master well like the previous years. ”The results of the Abitur exams in 2020, for example, were within the framework of previous years and on average even exceeded the result of the Abitur 2019 slightly. The Ministry of Education and Cultural Affairs will closely monitor the further course of the school year and readjust it if necessary, should this become necessary.