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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Bac 2011 - The Leak

The elder Frenchling took her last exam yesterday and is celebrating with her friends today.  The last test was in German and her only remark when she returned home yesterday was "I hope I passed".

Other students had more reason for concern.  The French papers are reporting that someone, using a cellphone camera, took a photo of one of the questions on the mathematics portion of the Bac S (scientific) exam and published it on the internet prior to Tuesday's exam.

Now this posed quite a conundrum for the government and a real nightmare for the S students since one option for correcting the situation would have been to make 165,000 high school seniors retake the test.

The decision came down today.  The National Education Minister, Luc Chatel, who seems to be a sensible sort, decided to simply eliminate the one question that was leaked - students will only be graded on the other 3 questions.  I'm sure a lot of S students breathed easier after that announcement.  They certainly needed all their concentration for today's tests in Physics, Chemistry and Earth Sciences.

The government launching an investigation into the incident and will file criminal charges if they find the source.  Still, I think this is just the beginning.  Obviously they are going to have to improve their security and start taking into account the cheap, omnipresent, always connected, devices that we all have and adore.

The sun is shining for the first time this week and, for obvious reasons, I'm not really inclined to spend one more minute indoors tickling the keyboard, but when I hear about the immoral use of an otherwise useful technology (and please consider the irony here - the Science students were the victims of the fraud),  I contemplate re-reading Jacques Ellul's book, The Technological Society and his position on "technique."    "Technique," he said, "never observes the distinction between moral and immoral use.  It tends, on the contrary, to create a completely independent technical morality."


Anonymous said...

My son just had this exam and I can tell you he didn't breathe at all (and many of his High school' students).The 1st question (leaked one) was the easiest one!!! :(....Not fair that way!! They SHOULD have reset it to me!

Victoria FERAUGE said...

Hi Valerie. Wow, I bet that was stressful for you and your son. I was really worried yesterday with all the rumors about the Bac L exam. I didn't know that the leaked question was the *easiest* one. But we can all breathe easier now and just kick back and wait for the results. :-) Best of luck to your son.