Quebec concerned about high school French test failure rates

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Quebec is concerned about the failure rates of the French test in high school

Ministers point the finger the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on student learning.

According to La Presse, the Secondary 5 written French exam went badly for many students last year.

The most recent results of the& #x27;secondary 5 written French exam in public schools worries the government of François Legault.

According to the daily La Presse, pass rates for the 2022 uniform examination of the Quebec Ministry of Education are down almost everywhere by compared to 2019. At the Montreal school service center, for example, the average went from 68.5% to 58.6%.

The Minister responsible for the French language, Jean-François Roberge, says he is worried. He reacted on Monday to the Montreal show Tout un matin,on ICI Première.

“I think all Quebecers should be worried whenever an indicator on French is negative , whether it is the language spoken at home, the mother tongue, the language spoken at work, the mastery of the language by Quebec students. […] We must react. »

— Jean-François Roberge, Minister responsible for the French language

Mr. Roberge, who served as Minister of Education from 2018 to 2022, points to the COVID-19 pandemic by referring to an unprecedented crisis. He also takes his share of responsibility, but half-heartedly.

I think we did everything we could do in government and in schools, defended the deputy for Chambly at the microphone of Patrick Masbourian. But have we been perfect? I don't think any government, any nation [has been], he pointed out.

The unique French test was suspended in 2020 and 2021 due to COVID-19. Since then, its weighting has been reduced from 50% to 20% of the final mark, so that failures in the ministry exam have less serious consequences than before.

Thus, 87.1% of students passed their Secondary 5 French course in 2022, even if the results of the uniform MEQ test have, according to statistics obtained by La Presse, dropped significantly over the past three years in all school service centers, except for six of them.

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For the future, Mr. Roberge relies on the school teams and his colleague Minister Bernard Drainville, who took over from him in Education after the general elections last fall. The latter also let it be known on Monday morning that he was concerned about these declining results.

French is an issue that is close to our hearts. I am aware of the effects of the pandemic on the success of young people and we are working on this specific issue of the success of French at school, he tweeted.

Like Jean-François Roberge, Suzanne-Geneviève Chartrand also believes that the rise in failure rates on the MEQ uniform examination was predictable.

Teacher at retired and spokesperson for the Parlons éducation forums, this specialist in French didactics observes that the quality of the language has borne the brunt of the pandemic.

Teens in grades 4 and 5 have spent almost two years not reading books, not reading texts, not discussing them, picking up information from the web – which is very different from reading – and not to write texts where they must develop a thought, she reminded Tout un matin.

In Quebec, the failure rate for the written French exam that all Secondary 5 students must pass is rising sharply. The pandemic has a lot to do with it, according to Isabelle Plante, professor in the didactics department at UQAM.

Ms. Chartrand, however, believes that the test of the ministry, which she has criticized for 25 years, should be even more difficult. I always called him a sieve and a smoker, she says, because he lies to the population by saying that, when you pass it, you are good in French.


“That exam does absolutely not prove to the population that the students who passed it are capable of […] #x27;write and read correctly. »

— Suzanne-Geneviève Chartrand, specialist in French teaching and spokesperson for the Parlons éducation forums

The retired teacher believes that a part of the solution involves the application of stricter language standards in other subjects. According to her, the quality of French should receive greater attention in mathematics, science, history, etc.

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