Help understanding the BAC

Hello. This is a question for all teachers and educators here in France. My daughter is currently in 1er BAC L. She has been working hard, putting the hours in but not really getting a decent moyenne. We are looking at moving to a Bac STMG next year. But talking to some people it seems that swapping to Bac Tech will perhaps close doors for her a few years down the line. I am trying to get my head round the different Bacs. From what we can gather it will be easier to get a higher moyenne in the STMG, not quite so academic. It seems to be more project based, maybe more practical evaluations. Which may suit her better.

Le Bac for Dummies

She may go to uni in Scotland, the idea appeals to her to travel a little with her studies. I spoke with a lot of the Sottish admissions officers and to do a BA journalism (she is considering it) they would accept either a Bac L or an STMG, as long as her moyenne in the humanities based subjects was high enough. So IF she continues along that path, then fine. At the end of the day, each course is just a stepping stone to the next. But that's 2 years down the line, a lot can change and she may decide she wants to study in France after all. Will she still be able to continue on with a DECENT BAC +2 or even +5 in a DECENT school if she wants to ??

That's a possibility maybe. I have a meeting with the school tomorrow. So we'll see what our options are. She had a particularly bitchy French teacher this year too, so I think that added to problem.

I'm sure it's possible to have a good experience in STMG, and most probably study successfully with a STMG baccalauréat, however, I would think carefully before making a move to STMG.

I teach at the faculty of Economics and Management and STMG students are definitely not well-represented. Even in BTS, (where I also teach), they don't do as well as their peers from ES or S or even L. As for being interested in the STMG subjects, young people have no idea how dry and boring marketing, accounting and management can be when taught at lycée, and how far away from reality the lessons are.

I have, up until now, never met a young person who enjoyed the syllabus, and have met several who repeated the year in ES, the main reasons being that they simply couldn't stand the subjects and that they were surrounded with students who just didn't care what was being taught. Teachers can be pretty evil too, but, as I well know, this is very common!

What's wrong with letting your daughter try ES, even if she has to repeat the year? You say she's quite good at maths, she would probably do better there than in L….

Thats exactly how my daughter feels, when she can see the relevance (of anything) she will really work on it. She wants to know what the end result will be, she's a doer. Because of that I know she'll do well in life. Its just a little frustrating that success at this stage in her life, is measured on academia, when we all know in real life that is not the case at all.

What I meant by my daughter not being academic was that she didn't enjoy studying for its own sake, she didn't want to analyse a book for instance, she just wanted to read it, she enjoyed doing STT as it was called then because she got to study gestion and commerce (not that she was particularly brilliant) because she could see the point of doing it.

I also agree about the pressure that's put on kids to do what's prestigeous, people were amazed when we let our youngest go to an IUT rather than going to prepas, especially as she had a place at one of the best ones, but that's what she wanted so she did it.

I think the snobbishness about STMG and its ilk is that it's more practical than the purely academic bacs (sorry, using that word again) and there is a certain tendancy to look down on things that are useful! Anyway, I'll say again, for my daughter it was the best thing she could have done, it suited her.

Mmmm I can imagine that. We have already had lots of negativity about doing an STMG. There does seem to be some snobbish around it. But I don't really understand why. Business, marketing etc is a decent degree/qualification to have, in the UK at least.

The coeff is 12 in STMG for the série-specific subjects (mercatique, gestion etc) so you have to be pretty sure that is what you want to do - you can't really make up the points elsewhere as easily as in some séries. The maximum coeff in L for example is only 9 and that is achieved by adding 2 options to the language (LVA + LELE). People shouldn't think of STMG as a bin for the unacademic, if someone is really not academic they won't do well there either, conversely someone not necessarily that brilliant or hardworking or academic who likes languages & a bit of reading & ideas & isn't interested in business will do better in L. I am so fed up some parents: pupils choose STMG because that is what they want & I think they'll do well & they have good ideas about what to do next; but parents say oh no not prestigious enough s/he must do a Bac S & then obviously the wretched child crashes & burns.

She is not getting the marks in French or Spanish. She is actually naturally better at maths but she has no huge interest in it, hence opting for the Bac L. She enjoys the lit, but not getting the marks. I feel she will be better suited to the STMG, more projects, case studies, stuff they can relate to real life scenarios.

So your middle child took a similar route to the one we are thinking, go with the STMG as it is now and then add to it later down the line if she needs/wants to. Its encouraging to know that other kids have taken different routes but still arrived at the same place in the end. The feedback we are getting from school at the moment is very narrow, ie the choice made now sets things in stone forever.

What is she not getting the marks in? If it's philo then maybe she really ought to think of doing another sort of Bac because the co-efficient is so high, but if she's good at litterature and langauges and not so good on more technical subjects she could be OK. My eldest passed her bac L, just missing out on a mention, despite getting 1 in mathematics and 3 in science - she had 12 in philo and 18 for English. No 2 did a Bac STT (as it was called 10 years ago ), she's bright enough but isn't "academic" and wasn't a good fit with any of the Bacs, she's not interested in literature and is hopeless at maths, she ended up doing a BTS and then doing another year to turn it into a degree and it hasn't held her back a bit. No 3 did bac S, went to an IUT for a two year course in chemistry and then went to engineering school so she has a Bac+5 - she had several classmates at the IUT who did a bac tech and went on to be engineers, so it doesn't have to hold you back.

Thanks for that, I was hoping you would answer me. Ideally yes the Bac L is the sure way to uni but she is just not getting the marks, so I don't think she will have much choice. Better she gets a decent grade in the Bac Tech than fails the Bac L, which at this rate I fear she will. And its not doing anything for her self esteem at the moment, lots of work and no reward ie decent grades.

If she wants to go to university she should stick with her Bac L. In theory any Bac is supposed to allow you to do any course afterwards because you can use 'passerelles' and special courses (mise à niveau) which help you catch up if you want to do an academic course, but in real life that's not at all how it works and few do. The success rate for people with a technological Bac in University is something like 17% because tech Bacs don't aim to send you to university to do BA+MA+PhD they aim to send you on a shorter course eg a BTS or a DUT (equivalent of HND).