Maths and physics final exams too easy

Maths and physics final exams too easy



Maths and physics final exams in pre-university education (vwo) have become significantly easier over the past 30 years, a new study says. The universities consider it a serious signal.


Although the average grade for the central final exams in mathematics and physics rose by 0.4 to 1.2 points over thirty years, universities complained about the lower entry level of Dutch students. And the international PISA scores of 15-year-olds for these subjects also dropped. How could this be reconciled?


Researchers from consultancy firm McKinsey decided to compare 1,500 exam questions from the periods 1990 to 1995 and 2015 to 2021. They concluded that the final exams in recent years contained almost half as much subject matter and that, especially in mathematics, the ‘more difficult’ questions had been dropped. In their view, the higher exam scores are therefore flattered.


President Pieter Duisenberg of universities association UNL thinks it is a serious signal for secondary education and further education, he says in newspaper Trouw. He fears that Dutch students will lose out more often to competition from abroad, especially for draw studies at prestigious programmes. “If we want to remain a knowledge society of the highest category, we need a strong education chain.” He calls for additional research. (HOP, HC)


HOP Hoger Onderwijs Persbureau

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