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The bad results of the Ecuador's Bachelor test

September 28, 2021

Original Article:

The Ser Baccalaureate test began in 2014 as an end-of-high school test. It was developed and has been applied by the National Institute for Educational Evaluation of Ecuador (INEVAL), created in 2012.

In 2016, the graduate exam (Being a Bachelor) and the National Exam for Higher Education (ENES) , which began in 2012. The ENES disappeared, were merged .

Being a Bachelor evaluates five domains: abstract aptitude, mathematical domain, linguistic domain, scientific domain, and social domain. It is a requirement for graduation from high school and for admission to public higher education.

(30% of the grade comes from Being a Bachelor, 40% corresponds to the average of the three years of Baccalaureate and 30% to the average obtained in Higher Basic Education. If the average of the three grades does not reach 7, the student is summoned to a new evaluation in order to graduate).

There is no longer a minimum score to apply for a career; the allocation of places is done automatically based on: a) the score in Being a Bachelor, b) places available in higher education institutions, and c) the demand in the career chosen by the student.

Applicants are asked to mention between one and five majors that they would like to study. In this way, if there is no quota in the first one, a quota is sought in the second or third option chosen, etc.

Young Ecuadorians mostly choose 20 traditional careers, which saturates the demand for these careers and makes it difficult to get those places, while hundreds of available careers are wasted.

In 2019, INEVAL together with the Ministry of Education and the collaboration of several universities reviewed Ser Bachelor and introduced a series of changes, seeking to make it more relevant and adjusted to the needs of students. Among others: the questions were reduced from 155 to 120; the duration time was reduced from 3 hours to 2 and a half hours; The field of "abstract aptitude" was eliminated, it was mainstreamed in the other fields.


The score in Being a Bachelor now constitutes 60% of the score necessary to enter the university, the remaining 40% is given by the academic trajectory of the student from the eighth year of basic education onwards (until 2019 the ratio was 85% compared to 15 %). The INEVAL developed a simulator for applicants to prepare for the test.

In 2020, the pre-electoral year, we see that Being a Bachelor becomes a political, campaign issue.

Guillermo Lasso, for the third time candidate for the Presidency for CREO, offers to eliminate being a Bachelor as well as the Secretariat of Higher Education, Science, Technology and Innovation (Senescyt) . In January several media circulated the false news of a young woman who committed suicide due to not passing this test. Those who offer to eliminate it say they thus ensure free access to the university; However, the main obstacle is, in fact, the insufficient number of places in the country's public universities.

Results 2013-2018

Table 1 shows the national results of Being a Bachelor from 2013 to 2018, organized in the classifications of Insufficient, Elementary, Satisfactory and Excellent , which is how Being a Bachelor has been classifying the levels of achievement.

Level of achievement: From 2013-2014 to 2017-2018, the levels of achievement at the national level were: satisfactory 36.4%, elementary 35.1%, 24% insufficient and 4% excellent.

Evolution of results: There is no progressive improvement in the results, but ups and downs.

Areas: Mathematics continues to be the area with the lowest scores (this is consistent with the results of Ecuador in the international PISA-D test, applied in 2017 to 15-year-olds).

Geographic region: the Sierra scores better than the Coast or the Amazon in all areas.

Zone: The results are better at an urban level than at a rural level. Sustainability: Better results in private schools than in public schools (Graph 1). * Fiscal: public. * Municipal : it is also public . * Fiscomisional (religious): private.

Good news: 2017-2018 results nationwide are better than 2016-2017. But the results are still low. In 2016-2017, 71.8% was below the level considered Satisfactory. In 2017-2018, 68.4% did not reach the Satisfactory level.

The most important thing, from the point of view of equity, is not that those who are located at the top improve but that the mass of students who are located at the bottom improve, with elementary and unsatisfactory scores. (OR)


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