Maths no longer compulsory subject to finish secondary education

President passes new law, with criticism

President of Portugal Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa has today promulgated, “with criticism”, the new secondary education assessment regime – lamenting the government’s political choice to reduce the number of mandatory national exams for completion of this level of education.

At issue is a decree-law approved by the cabinet June. Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa contests, particularly the situation regarding maths, explains Lusa.

In a note published on his official website, the Head of State said that the reduction in the number of compulsory national exams “will allow the completion of secondary education in science and technology and socio-economic sciences courses without taking the national maths exam”.

In his view it is “a change that does not result from a known independent study, nor from further public discussion, nor even from the consultation of national mathematics associations”.

Portugal’s Head of State believes the decision “could contribute to the weakening of the national system for assessing the quality of learning”.

For thousands of pupils however who struggle desperately with the maths curriculum and whose parents find themselves spending small fortunes in tuition, year after year, to get them through the State education system, this is nothing short of a miracle.

The president admits that he gave the law the green light on the basis that maths will still be mandatory for those who want to access higher education “in areas where maths is essential”.

According to the statement by the Council of Ministers on June 1, this decree-law “amends the curriculum of basic and secondary education and the guiding principles of learning assessment, as well as the legal regime of inclusive education”.

“The mandatory list of national final exams has been changed, establishing that all students take three national exams as a way of reinforcing the centrality of internal and continuous assessment. The Portuguese exam remains compulsory for all, and each student must take two other exams chosen by them according to the individual path and their choices for the purpose of further studies “, reads the statement.

At a press conference at the end of this particular meeting, education minister João Costa said that “the average final classification of students will now be calculated based on the internal grade of each subject and the grades of three exams, one of which is Portuguese and the others of the student’s choice”.

“We introduced a weighting factor in which the triennial subjects score three times, the biennial ones score twice, and the annual ones score once”, said the minister.

According to João Costa, “the measure will reverse some inflationary behaviour of grades associated with these annual subjects”.

The approved rules will come into force from the next school year, progressively.

Source material: LUSA