Schools in the Bulgarian towns of Kurdzhali, Ihtiman and Ardino that were subjected to special checks by inspectors this year because of suspicions of organised cheating have seen sudden drops in their school-leaving examination results compared with previous years.
This emerged on June 5 as the Ministry of Education released results of school-leaving exams across the country.
The schools had made headlines for, in recent years, producing grade 12 results to rival those of the top schools in the country.
The Education Ministry sent in special inspectors, with the head of Bulgaria’s school inspectorate telling the media at the time that he had spoken to a grade 12 pupil at one school supposedly producing straight-A students across the board – and the pupil could hardly manage a sentence in Bulgarian.
At the time, there were allegations of teachers and invigilators having assisted in organised cheating. At least one teacher threatened court action in connection with the allegations.
According to ministry figures, of the about 52 000 pupils who wrote school-leaving Bulgarian exams this year, more than 3400 scored a mere “two” (on a scale out of a maximum six, the equivalent of an “E”). There were fewer “sixes” than in 2014, a total of 7000, but the results were comparable with those of last year.
Results countrywide were poorest in geography and history, with these two subjects producing the most “twos” while languages, in particular English, produced the most “sixes”.
Coming out top in school results in Bulgaria were the American College of Sofia (with an average of 5.72), the 91st German Language High School, followed by the Spanish Language School in Sofia and the Languages School (also known as the English Language School) in Plovdiv.