Tribune. A recent study has reported the failure of neutrality in the social contest entry to the Ecole polytechnique (” The competition are they neutral ? Competition and sponsorship in the access to the ” Ecole polytechnique “, of Pierre François and Nicolas Berkouk, Sociology n° 2/9, 2018). However, this analysis, although fine, is missing a fundamental variable, namely a reliable indicator of the levels of science in high school, breeding ground in which the schools draw their candidates. This non-consideration is likely to change the interpretation of the data, and especially the remedies useful in terms of public policy.

The researchers note that the ” contest of the X has a proper effect on the social composition of the institution of which it is the porch, […] because it recruits primarily in a small number of classes préparatoires, themselves highly discriminating socially.” Has the social sedimentation of success in school before the bachelor’s degree would be an effect that would increase the initial gaps said little at the expense of the middle and popular classes. However, in order to judge the initial gaps before the preparatory class, the authors rely on the mentions of the bachelor’s degree. Is this really relevant ? The mention “very good” bac S has been attributed to 17 % of high school graduates S in 2018, while only 0.2 % of them will be received at the Ecole polytechnique. A better question to equality of opportunity in access to large scientific schools would be a good indicator of the level of high school students, which are not available today.

The educational forum is structured around the problem of dropouts and school inequalities related to social origin. But this has overshadowed the question of the distribution of levels

Why is this missing ? The debate education is largely structured around the central problem of dropouts and school inequalities related to social origin….