European Baccalaureate - Evaluation


In a study based on a sample of over 500 former European School pupils, Kelly and Kelly compared the performances at British and Irish Universities of students who had taken the EB with the performances of students who had studied A-levels.

This showed that, in terms of the probability of getting a good degree, a EB score of:

  • 80 or more is roughly equivalent to 360 UCAS points awarded for A-levels (3 A grades).
  • 70 to 79 is equivalent to a UCAS score of 320-340 (ABB to AAB)
  • 60 to 69 is equivalent to 280-300 UCAS points (BBC, BBB).

Even students with a bare pass at the EB (60-64) are more likely to get a good degree at university than students who achieved 240-280 UCAS points (BBC, BCC, CCC). The full study can be downloaded from here:

Under the rules and regulations of the EB the pass level is set at 60%; anything under that is a fail. Due to the difficult nature of the exams students are seldom awarded more than 90%. Like their French and German national and regional counterparts, the European Schools have by and large successfully managed to counter the threat of steady grade inflation.

As of 2012, however, many UK universities have in fact begun calling for an 8.5 or even 8.7 as equivalent to 3 A's at A-level. Entry requirements in the UK vis-à-vis the EB have risen suddenly, decisively and, it would seem, unfairly. An 8.7 for the EB is certainly rarer than 3 A's at A-level, and calls for a much wider range of high-level academic skills. The European Schools apparently need to do all they can in the present climate to convince a wider audience of the real and substantial value of the Baccalaureate qualification.

One major disadvantage of the EB is that there is no adequate provision for complaint in the event of an exam paper which is perceived to be flawed or unfair. Apparently, no proper means of redress is available at present.

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