The key points of the LOMCE for this course
The current education law I would have to complete its implementation in this academic year. But it runs into opposition from some Autonomous Communities. With the advice of the teacher Javier Laspalas, of the University of Navarra, We explain which are the most relevant aspects of this regulation and in what elements the controversy.
The Organic Law for the Improvement of Educational Quality, the LOMCE, approved on the initiative of the former minister José Ignacio Wert, should be implemented during this school year 2015-2016 in 2nd, 4th and 6th grade, 1st and 3rd year of Compulsory Secondary Education (ESO), 1st year of Bachillerato and 2nd year of Basic Vocational Training. However, enough Autonomous Communities seem to refuse to comply with the planned schedule.
The controversial about this rule have to do with the usual issues, such as the Religion subject, the disappearance of Education for Citizenship, or the reform of the last Secondary courses, the Baccalaureate and Vocational Training. But there is another important novel element: the external evaluation tests for the centers.
Next, we try to explain what, in our opinion, is the spirit that animates this law, which actually introduces few changes in current regulations:
External evaluation of the centers
It has been one of the most criticized points. There will be four objective tests through which all students will be evaluated: 3º of Primary, 6º of Primary, 4º of ESO and 2º of Baccalaureate. The first ones took place last year in the 3rd year of Primary, and have not been exempt from controversy, with protests in some Autonomous Communities.
The external tests of 4th of ESO and 2nd of Bachillerato they will influence the obtaining of the corresponding titles, although their weight in the note is different (30% in the first case, 40% in the second). That is, the granting of the official degree will not depend only on the qualifications granted by the teachers.
The evaluations would allow identifying anomalous situations, but also compare some schools with others. This entails the risk of applying to the education, without the due caution, criteria proper to the market economy. To avoid this, when evaluating the centers, it would be necessary to take into account, in addition to the performance of the students, what their social, economic and cultural level of departure is. In this sense, the best school is not the one with the highest score, but the one whose students advance more in less time.
Another fear that evaluations raise is related to the measures that will be put in place to alleviate the problems detected. Part of the educational community fears that, once the school system x-ray is established, the centers are 'labeled'but there are no adequate mechanisms to propose ways of improvement.
Regarding the so-called Selectividad, it would disappear at the end of the next academic year, since all Baccalaureate and Vocational Training students, regardless of whether they decide to enter the University or a Higher Vocational Training Cycle, would have to go through an external evaluation. However, each University could implement its own access tests.
A shorter Secondary, a longer Baccalaureate
The new law does not modify the duration of Compulsory Secondary Education (four courses) and the Baccalaureate or Vocational Training (two years). However, two important changes have been introduced that entail, de facto, a shorter secondary and a longer baccalaureate. It must be borne in mind, however, that something similar was in fact provided for in the previous regulations. For students who have serious difficulties during the first years of Compulsory Secondary, a specific itinerary is planned -during the third and the fourth year-, which would work as a kind of Basic Vocational Training. It would also serve to help them overcome the expected academic filters: the exams to obtain the ESO degree or the proof of access to Vocational Training designed for those who do not have it.
It is too early to know if the LOMCE will contribute to boost the Spanish school system, although the hostility with which it has been received is a bad symptom. In any case, it is worth remembering that, although schools tend to get better results when they have incentives to do so, such as evaluations or recognitions, what is decisive is the commitment of parents, teachers and students. If complacency reigns and there is a lack of tension to improve, little can the political authorities do.
Javier Laspalas - Faculty of Education and Psychology. university of Navarra