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Education expert Christiane Spiel: “The Matura is certainly not worth less this year”

The educational psychologist Christiane Spiel assesses the regulations for this year’s “Corona Matura” as “sensible” and good.

5.49 p.m., March 12, 2021

© APA / Helmut Fohringer

Minister of Education Heinz Fassmann announced more detailed information on this year’s central school-leaving exam on Friday. The oral Matura, for example, is voluntary, and there should be simplifications in the subject of mathematics. More about it here.

The students, who fought for a “fair” Matura for a long time, are satisfied. critic They complain, among other things, that the oral Matura is voluntary. A part of the school leaving examination – presenting and answering spontaneously – which is of great importance in later life, is dispensed with. Is this year’s “Corona Matura” less valuable? Will high school graduates have to struggle in the future because they did not have a “real” high school diploma? No, she thinks Educational psychologist Christiane Spiel. The expert from the University of Vienna rates the new regulations positively in an interview with the Kleine Zeitung.

What do you think of the regulation that became known today?
CHRISTIANE SPIEL: I think the regulation makes sense and is easy to understand. It is good and important that – with the small exception that you have to achieve at least 30 percent of the points in the written work – is the same rule as last year. A fundamental change would have been difficult to justify.

How do you assess that the annual performance is included in the Matura grade?
This makes sense, as it means that a selective service, which is also provided in a stressful situation, is supplemented by a longer-term one.

And the voluntary oral Matura? Does that make sense?
Because the oral Matura is voluntary, it is possible to show what you can and know, but you don’t have to.

What do you think of the pre-academic work? The presentation of the work is also voluntary this year.
The pre-scientific work is basically a good approach, but I have always found it problematic in that the high school graduates certainly have very different support options in their environment, which plays an even greater role in Covid times.

Christiane game, born 1951, is professor for educational psychology and evaluation at the University of Vienna. She founded educational psychology as a scientific discipline.

How valuable is such a “Corona Matura”?
The Matura is different than in previous years – but certainly not worth less from my point of view. The high school graduates had completely different challenges than the previous years. These concern self-organization, which was much more required – in particular self-motivation, dealing with distance learning, restricting the possibilities to learn with and from each other, getting social input from friends and much more. They had to learn to deal with all of this. In doing so, they have also acquired skills that will be very helpful to them later in life. Self-organized learning, for example, is an important prerequisite for successful lifelong learning. The resilience that they have shown when they successfully graduate despite Covid is also helpful for dealing with future challenges.

So isn’t this year’s Matura worth less?
I disagree. However, Covid should give the occasion to rethink and develop the Matura. I find the inclusion of previous services very useful. The pre-scientific work could also be reconsidered. Basically, I think it’s important that after 12 or 13 years of school – with and in which you have spent so much time – there is a ritualized degree.

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