The number of students who have failed school graduation exams in 2016 is the highest in the history of these exams
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“A total of 40,821 students took the 2016 school graduation exams and 8,539 of them failed to get a minimum score. This is two times more than in the previous year whilst it is four times more as compared to 2012. About 21% of students failed to get a school graduation diploma in 2016,” stated United National Movement members Sergo Ratiani and Mariam Raminashvili. The United National Movement explains this by the chaos and unruly situation in secondary education facilities. They also explained that the number of students failing the school graduation exams in 2012 decreased to 12% as compared to 17% in 2011.

FactCheck took interest in the results of the school graduation exams.

The school graduation exams are distributed across the 11th and 12th grades. Students take the first part of the exams at the end of the 11th grade and are then required to pass the remaining parts upon completion of the 12th grade. The representatives of the United National Movement explained to us that they were talking about the results observed during the exams taken by 12th graders when making their statement. Hence, we looked into the statistics of this particular segment of students.

According to the information of the Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia, a total of 42,101 12th graders were registered in the 2015-2016 academic year. The overall number of students in this year equalled 553,914. As for the statistics by year, they look like this:

 

Table 1: Number of Pupils Registered in 11th and 12th Grades (from 2011 to 2016)

Grade Study Year
2011-2012 2012-2013 2013-2014 2014-2015 2015-2016
12th 40,257 41,947 38,079 40,876 42,101
Overall 568,486 559,415 553,016 553,994 553,914

Source: Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia

 

According to the information of the Ministry, a total of 47,098 12th graders were registered for the graduation exams in 2016 (which is not to say that all of them actually showed up for the exams). Of this number, about 11,519 students failed to get the minimum score in one or more exams.

The overall numbers of 12th grade students registered for the school graduation exams and those failing to get minimum scores are as follows:

 

Table 2: Number of Pupils Registered for School Graduation Exams and Those Failing to Get Minimum Scores (2011-2016)

Year 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
Number of Registered Students 46,549 41,483 37,945 38,153  44,517  47,098 
Failed to Get Minimum Scores 14,113 4,684 7,941 5,205 6,426 11,519
% 30.3 % 11.3% 20.9% 13.6% 14.4% 24.4%

Source: Ministry of Education and Science of Georgia

 

As the above table reflects, the number of students failing the exams in 2016 has almost doubled since 2015. We have almost the same picture if we compare the 2016 data to those of 2012. The number of students who failed the graduation exams in 2016 was about 2.5 times more than in 2012. It should be noted that the number of students who failed the exams in 2016 has doubled, not quadrupled, as stated by the United National Movement members.

The United National Movement’s statement correctly indicates that the number of students who failed the graduation exams in 2012 decreased as compared to 2011; however, this indicator increased by 9.6% in 2013. The number dropped again in 2014. The number of students failing the exams started increasing in 2015 and doubled in 2016 as compared to the previous year.

We addressed the National Assessment and Examination Centre in order to find out whether or not the mechanism for giving the exams or the minimum scores necessary to pass the exams has changed over the years. According to the Deputy Director of the Centre, Iva Mindadze, neither the difficulty of the exams themselves nor the minimum scores required to pass the exams have changed. According to his statement, several procedural changes were made to the exam process as compared to the previous years. Specifically, the main focus on the 2016 exams was on organisation:  the process of students entering the exam rooms, the number of students per exam room, seating and monitoring during the exams as a means of decreasing any chances for talking and cheating. “The conditions of the exam process have become stricter and this has probably had a certain influence on the results,” said Mr Mindadze.

 

Conclusion

The largest number of students failing the school graduation exams was registered in 2011, constituting 30.3% of the overall number of students registered for the exams in that year. This exceeds the numbers recorded in 2016 by 5.9%. Hence, underscoring the fact that the number of students who have failed the graduation exams in 2016 is unprecedented is incorrect. In addition, the number of students failing the exams in 2016 is 2.5 times  ̶  and not four times  ̶  more than 2012 as stated by United National Movement members.

The graduation exams failure rate in 2016 has almost doubled as compared to the previous year. About a quarter of those registered for these exams in 2016 failed to get a graduation diploma which is quite a large share. It should also be pointed out that the level of difficulty of the exams themselves as well as the minimum scores required to pass has not changed. Students are considered to have passed the exams if they manage to get a minimum of 5.5 points from 10.

FactCheck concludes that the United National Movement’s statement is HALF TRUE.

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