Perfect Match  

Since 2009, the Seine-Saint-Denis County Council has been backing “la Culture et l’Art au Collège (CAC)”. This project is based to a large extent on the presence in class for several weeks (40 hours) of an artist or scientist whose mission is to engage the students in a process of research and creation.

 

Contributor:
Mathematician

Project Manager:
Lucille Negre

 

Objectives:
When a candidate has to choose from various academic courses and when, for their part, these courses define a type of ideal candidate, how do they all fit together? This project aims to decipher how the “Parcoursup” (further education application process) algorithms work and to assess the social impact. To help them in their investigation, the students contact final-year students from the closest sixth-form college, and they discuss the issue for the duration of the project.

Workshops:
Decipher
Using a sequence of operations, the students have to find a way to best combine one entity with another. Practical exercises are carried out by the students to try and understand and test the Parcoursup platform’s mathematical foundation to find the perfect match.  In the classroom, the group experiments with how to find the ideal partners and which criteria to use. The final-year students from the neighbouring sixth-form college give the class a collection of anonymous profiles (real or imaginary), which the students study. They analyse the selection criteria defined by the universities and colleges (students’ grades, extra-curricular criteria, number of scholarships) and compare these with the imaginary final-year students’ profiles and applications. Lastly, the students calculate the probability of their being admitted to their chosen institution.

Meet
A meeting with the final-year students is organised half way through the project. This provides an opportunity for the students, who have gained a precise vision of how Parcoursup works, to share their knowledge with those who are most concerned. However, it also gives them an opportunity to analyse their feelings and apprehensions about using this platform, and to draw up a list of questions to ask their career advisors. 

Investigate
Why did the arrival of Parcoursup cause so much misunderstanding and debate?
The students and contributor meet the experts: career advisors, educational psychologists and IT specialists. Are students sufficiently well informed about how Parcoursup works? Is it a fairer and more efficient system that avoids, for example, random selection? Are the maths and algorithms really capable of making decisions for us? Could we invent a better selection system? The students are now in a position to assess all the issues involved in the choice of further education, and with the contributor, they prepare a review of their research.

 

Participating School: 
- LAVOISIER, PANTIN

 

Photos: DAMIEN DELDICQUE, JÉRÔME AUBRY & ALEXANDRE SCHUBNEL, LABORATOIRE DE GÉOLOGIE DE L’ENS PARIS. 

Perfect Match
Perfect Match