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Exams In France

It’s the exam season. All three of my children have either had or are having tests, orals or exams of various sorts at school.

First up, ten-year-old Ruadhrí. He’s in CM2, the final year of primary school, and he has recently sat his évaluations nationales (national evaluations). The tests were taken between the 21st and 25th of May across France. The teachers then have until 12th June to mark the papers, submit the results and then tell the parents. On 15th June the results will be published online. I’m meeting Rors’ teacher on the 7th June to find out how he got on. He was tested in French (60 items) and maths (40 items). Each answer will be given one out of five possible assessments:réponse attendue – correct, the expected answer
réussite partielle sans erreur – partially answered along the right lines
réussite partielle avec erreur – partially answered, but incorrectly
autres réponses – ‘other’ answer i.e. a nice way of saying wrong
absence de réponse – no answer given.

For French, Rors was tested on lecture, écriture, vocabulaire, orthographe, grammaire – reading, writing, vocabulary, spelling and grammar – and in maths on numération, calcul, géométrie, grandeurs et mesure, organisation et gestion de données – numeracy, arithmetic, – weights and measures, organisation and management of data. Quite a tall order for a ten-year-old in my opinion. However, Rors thought the tests went well and he’s quietly confident of having done OK. In the CE1 évaluations nationales, in only his third year of being at school in France, he got 39/40 for his maths!

Benj took his first set of university exams at the end of his first year at Limoges where he’s studying applied languages. He found out on Saturday that he’d passed, but he wasn’t quite as sure of success as his little brother. He was definitely a little worried in the final 24 hours before he found out he’d passed with a mention assez bien. Had he not passed, he would have faced retaking the exams, rattrapage, and having some oral assessments too, but luckily all is well. Phew.

Caiti’s Baccalaureat is underway. She has now had two orals, and has two science practicals this week. She then has a week of revision at home, and then comes a very heavy week with eight exams, most of them four hours long. Ugh. She’ll be staying at the internat (boarding facilities) while the exams happen, but might sneak home one night for a good night’s sleep and edible food. She has never been a fan of school meals, despite the fact they all sound lovely to me! Her results will be out on 6th July. A great thing about the French education system is that kids never have to wait long for their results. It makes the UK and Ireland look rather pathetic with the several months it takes in those countries for the various major exams to be marked.

So, if a few weeks’ time, Caiti will be finished at lycée (roughly sixth form college) and Rors will be finished at école primaire (primary school). They’ll both move up to the next level of their education in September, red letter stuff. Add to this the fact that Caiti turned 18 in April, I’ll be hitting 50 in August and Benj will be 21 in December, then it’s quite a momentous year in a lot of ways for our family!

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But one step at a time. We’ll get exams out of the way first …

I’m Stephanie Dagg, author, editor, fishery owner, alpaca and llama farmer – oh yes, and mum and wife too. We live in the rural heart of France in Creuse, an area famous for its hazlenut cake and extremely elderly population. We’re truly Europeans having lived in England and Ireland before coming here. I blog about our daily life as expats with all its pleasures and perplexities, and fun and frustrations at www.bloginfrance.com. You’ll find my many and mostly free ebooks here on my Smashwords page www.smashwords.com/profile/view/SJDagg.

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