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Italy: Big fuss about bonus maturità

Protests, complaints, criticism and above all the realisation that it actually does not really work – all of this led to the abolishment of the bonus maturità for university entrance exams at Italian universities. This was announced by Italian Prime Minister Enrico Letta and Italian Minister for Education, University and Research Maria Chiara Carrozza after a meeting of the Council of Ministers on 9 September 2013.

The bonus maturità was foreseen by a law adopted last year and would have envisaged that the result of the Italian school leaving examination maturità would be taken into account for the annual university entrance exams. Italy has a partly centralised school leaving examination system; however, even a completely centralised school leaving examination cannot fully assure a uniform and objective grading which simply lies in the nature of certain subjects taught at school.  The bonus maturità would have been applied for high-school graduates with a minimum average grade of 80/100 and a score within at least the 80th percentile of the school leaving examination results of their respective school. This means that only high school graduates who are part of the 20 % with the best grades awarded at a school would be eligible for the bonus maturità – a measure in order to avoid biases of certain board of examiners which might grade more generously than others.  Depending on the score at the school leaving examination, the bonus maturità could have brought up to 10 additional points for the maximum of 90 points which can be scored at the university entrance exams.

Yet, the idea of a bonus maturità has always remained somehow disconcerting to apparently most Italians, including the Italian Minister for Education, University and Research. Although the actual intention was to ‘reward’ successful high-school graduates, the difficulty in comparing school leaving examination results objectively entailed a last-minute cancellation of the bonus maturità.

Ministry of Education, University and Research (in Italian)

Italian University Admission Portal - 'Bonus maturità' (in Italian)