Outcry as 65,000 German students sign petition over exams

Outcry as 65,000 German students sign petition saying end-of-school maths exam was too DIFFICULT – but teaching union boss dismisses them as ‘snowflake generation wrapped in cotton wool’

  • Some 65,000 furious school pupils have signed a petition in the state of Bavaria
  • One teacher the test said took him 15 hours to complete, when pupils had five
  • There was no sympathy from a former union boss who called them ‘snowflakes’ 

Thousands of German teenagers have voiced their fury at a maths exam they believe was too difficult.  

Some 65,000 people have signed a petition in the state of Bavaria calling for the grading to be more lenient after they struggled with the test.  

Even one maths teacher said it had taken him 15 hours to complete the test, when pupils were given only five. 

However there was no sympathy from one former teachers’ union boss who said the complaints were a ‘circus for the snowflake generation’. 

German teenagers have voiced their fury at a maths exam they believe was too difficult, fearing the results may jeopardise their university places (file photo) 

1. A raffle offers a prize to every player. The tickets and prizes are in three categories: Danube, Main and Lech. 

In the pot there are four times as many Main tickets as Danube ones. A ticket costs one euro. While shopping for prizes, the raffle organiser pays €8 for a Donau prize, €2 for a Main prize and 20 cents for a Lech prize. 

Work out what the proportion of Danube tickets has to be, if she wants to make an average profit of 35 cents per ticket. 

2. The organiser employs someone to approach guests, to encourage them to buy tickets. 

He persuaded 10 out of 100 adult visitors to buy a ticket. He claims he had a higher success rate among people with children. 

Of the 100 people he approached, 40 had a child. Of those without a child, 54 did not take a ticket. 

Work out whether these results back up the employee’s claim.   

The final school exams in Germany – called the Abitur – are a rite of passage that all students who want to enter university have to pass. 

A petition in Bavaria started by Lisa Müller calls on teaching bosses to lower the boundaries, saying the questions were harder than in any previous exam. 

The test had included tasks that ‘hardly anyone had seen before’, according to the petition, which had 67,230 signatures on Wednesday morning. 

Questions on geometry and probability were said to be particularly hard.  

One pupil, Sophie Basmann, said: ‘It was just too difficult and not at all comparable to previous years.

‘Most pupils taking the exam did nothing else in their holidays except study maths and you’d at least expect that the questions would be on last year’s level.’

The tests are set by each of Germany’s 16 states but the questions are drawn from a national pool.  

Authorities in Bavaria have said they will look into the complaints.  

But some politicians and teaching union officials have dismissed the outcry as overblown millennial fury. 

Josef Kraus, the former head of the German Teachers’ Association, said it was a ‘three-ring circus for Generation Snowflake’ and said the pupils were ‘wrapped in cotton wool’, according to German media.  

German MP Götz Frömming, of the populist AfD party, said too many pupils were being allowed to take the Abitur.  

The tests allow admission to university but not all students take them. 

‘Because of the ever larger number of pupils taking the Abitur who aren’t up to [grammar school], more and more students can’t deal with its demands,’ he said. 

Some 65,000 people have signed a petition in the state of Bavaria calling for the grade boundaries to be changed after they struggle with the test (file photo) 

‘As a result there will be complaints about tasks that are supposedly too difficult. 

‘If you constantly lower the level, you help no-one: if the goal is that everyone has an Abitur, the difficulty level will have to be lowered ever further. But then it’s worth nothing any more.’  

His party colleague Frank Scholtysek, a representative in Berlin, said: ‘To pass the Abitur you do have to switch your head on and get to grips with things you haven’t seen before.

‘You can’t just learn by heart. You also have to understand what you’re doing. Then it works.’   

Last year a similar row broke out after a final English exam which students said was ‘unfair’.

They complained that text excerpts from American author Henry Roth’s 1934 novel Call it Sleep were too difficult and obscure to analyse. 

Pupils said the passage – a metaphorical description of the Statue of Liberty – was difficult to understand because of its ‘unknown vocabulary’.  

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