FIFTY-NINE per cent of those passing the baccalauréat general this year did so with a mention – that is one of the highest grades.
That compares to 49% who got a mention in 2008. It confirms a trend of higher grades which has seen people passing with a mention rise steadily from just 31.8% in 1967.
This year in the general baccalauréat 8.4% got the highest grade of très bien, up from 6.5% last year – and 0.3% in 1967. There is also a general trend of more passes – up 2.9% since last year.
The baccalauréat is divided into the traditional general strands (such as L – literary or S – scientific), then technological and professional ones.
Marked out of 20, a grade of 12 or more gets a mention assez bien, 14 or more is bien and 16 or more is très bien. This time, 18.3% got bien and 32.6 % assez bien.
Getting a mention très bien is a passport to a university grant for academic merit. Departmental councils also sometimes provide money to such students – sometimes to fund travel – as do some high street banks who offer bonuses to them if they open an account.
Although just a pass is required for university in France a mention can help entry into a preparatory class for the grandes écoles and into some other prestigious higher education courses.
The mention is also important for study at top institutions abroad - like Cambridge, which requires a très bien.