In Paris more than elsewhere in France, public education was divided between the “good high schools”, at the doors of which the good students jostled, and the “relegation high schools”, which everyone fled. The observation is that of the rector Christophe Kerrero, according to whom “the situation had become untenable”.
Also, in 2020, the procedure for assigning third-grade students to high schools changed, with the deployment of the Affelnet IT platform, the rectorate of which presented the report after two years, on February 8. Concretely, the assignment is no longer made after the examination of each file, but by algorithm, according to an “Affelnet scale”, mixing the marks of the student, but also the fact that he is on a scholarship or not. as well as the “social positioning index” (IPS) of his college.
The idea of ”level high school” has receded
What are the results, two years later? The situation has changed, according to the rectorate. The idea of a “level high school” has strongly declined: students of all levels would meet more. Also, the “pressure rate” – that is to say the demand – on the most prestigious high schools has dropped. The same applies to the indices of “social segregation” and “educational segregation”, which designate economic or intellectual self-segregation. The latter was four times higher in Paris than the national average in 2020. This is no longer the case, even if Paris still remains at the top of the academies where students find themselves by homogeneity of school level.
No phenomenon of deportation to private education has been recorded. The flow of departures remained low, “around 3 to 4%”, detailed Julien Grenet, in charge of the study, who in passing castigated the lack of participation of private education in the effort to mix. Another pitfall avoided: the “race to the bottom” and the loss of the status of excellence of the most prestigious establishments, feared by some parents of students at the time of the reform, did not take place. “A social and academic rebalancing is at work, without loss of level”, advanced in substance Julien Grenet.
At Lycée Bergson, a real mix effect
In the field, some principals of underprivileged high schools attest to these benefits and note a positive change in the image of their establishment. “For us, Affelnet has had a real, albeit modest, effect,” says Anne Schnabele, principal of Lycée Bergson. Its establishment in the 19th arrondissement combines one of the lowest IPS and one of the worst school results. However, the introduction, even limited, of a dose of social diversity has had a rather positive impact on school performance.
“The IPS at the entrance to second has gone from 90 in 2020 to 97 in 2022, details Anne Schnabele. This figure, which remains below the academic average, was enough to bring about some changes: the teachers believe that the students are a little better. We notice that the parents are also more numerous at the meetings. To go further, the academy decided, at the start of the next school year, to transfer artistic courses from the Lycée Brassens, whose IPS is higher, to Bergson, “which will completely change the profile of our students”, greet the headmistress.
Ongoing fears against the algorithm
At the other end of the scale of academic performance, in establishments of excellence, some parents of students qualify the results of the rectorate, including Antoine Bonneval, president of the FCPE of Louis-le-Grand. If he “is delighted that the number of scholarship holders is aligned with the Parisian average”, he calls for temporization: the purely algorithmic analysis, against which many parents of students had mobilized last year, still arouses reserves.
“From now on, the criterion for entering Louis-le-Grand is to obtain a minimum average of 15 in all subjects from the second. What about the little math genius, bad at sports or drawing? he wonders. This one may no longer be spotted.
Moreover, on a strict plan of social diversity, the index retained by the ministry would operate a kind of trompe-l’oeil. The IPS of the college of origin “is a collective criterion. Among the students, there are rich families and others who are poor, creating other situations of inequality between students”.