The “Life Pathways of Unsuccessful Graduates” research project was a response to a call within the Innovations in Pedagogy framework that was introduced by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport. The call highlighted the lack of knowledge about students who fail the Matura examination and their subsequent lives. The research looked at a subset of unsuccessful examinees for whom failure in the Matura examination represented a barrier to further educational or professional careers. It did not investigate examinees who succeeded in the Matura examination at the latest on the first remedial term. It also did not investigate examinees who took the Matura examination in the regular term and failed in any part of the Matura examination, but who, after registering for the closest remedial term and after successful remedy, or after submitting a request for a review of the Matura examination and its results and its positive processing, were able to continue their studies at university or enter the labour market. 

Highlights of the results:

  1. The school results of repeatedly unsuccessful examinees do not reflect their readiness for the Matura examination.
  2. The current practice of adding more time for students with special needs is not considered to be sufficient.
  3. Some teachers in Matura subjects discourage students from attempting the exam itself, or they influence the choice between subjects.
  4. Insufficient information from the school about the exam and teachers' problematic initiatives during the exam are barriers to success.
  5. Support for unsuccessful examinees should not be limited to preparation for the Matura examination; it should also take place between individual attempts.
  6. The life stories of unsuccessful examinees are characterised by a consistent effort to transform failure at the Matura examination into success in life.
  7. The loss of institutional support and student status leads to students adopting new roles that distance unsuccessful examinees from success in the exam.


Life pathways of repeatedly unsuccessful secondary school examinees