By Evie Andreou
Improvements are to be made at lyceums, education minister Costas Kadis said on Tuesday while officially presenting the results for school leaving certificates and university entrance exams, which were very low.
The exam results revealed the lowest scores ever in Modern Greek with an average grade of eight out of 20, worse than last year’s 9.48 and 2013’s 9.52.
The average grade for Maths this year was 10.32, and Physics 10.88. History also took a hit as students scored a 9.75 average.
Following heavy criticism from parents and teachers of the controversial essay theme of the Modern Greek exam, which they said was too vague and confused students, the education ministry has asked the opinion of the legal service whether grades could be rounded up for graduation purposes, Kadis said.
“If the legal services give the green light we will proceed toward that direction, [and round up] the grade of all students in their high school diplomas,” he said.
He rejected that this move is an admission on behalf of his ministry that there was indeed a problem with the Modern Greek exam and said it is a reaction of the ministry to the very low scores students received in this subject which indicates an increased level of difficulty so an exemption was made.
He added that the review or re-evaluation of a paper is not allowed since according to the law since 2006 each paper is separately graded by two different assessors and if there is more than 10 per cent difference in the two grades, a third assessor grades the paper without knowing the other two given scores.
Kadis said his ministry is also looking into the possibility of separating the schools’ final exams – needed for the school leaving certificate – from the entry exams for higher education institutions.
The first choice for those with the top scores in the recent exams is the University of Cyprus (UCY) and especially the newly founded Medical School as five out of the top 10 students have secured a seat there, among them, the only student to receive an overall score of 20, Antigoni Avraam from Limassol.
She was followed by Christiana Kelepeshi from Nicosia whose 19.83 score landed her a seat at the UCY’s History and Archaeology Department; Diamanto Tsianni from Paphos with 19.80 who has also secured a seat at the UCY’s Medical School as has Irineos Tsiartas from Nicosia with 19.76. Maria Constantinou from Nicosia, also with 19.76, has secured a seat at the UCY’s Department of Classics and Philosophy.
This year, some 6,000 students out of the 8,619 who took the exams expressed an interest in public universities in Greece and Cyprus, while so far 2,300 seats have been allocated according to the students’ preferences, Kadis said.