In Moldova in order to actually graduate high school and recieve your diploma you have to take a set of exams which are known as the Baccalaureate exams, or simply the Bac. Because the exams can affect whether or not you get your diploma they are taken very seriously though like most tests in Moldova cheating is rampant. Whether it be through using your cell phone or copying off of a friend or even worse bribing the official who is grading your exam the tests results are usually not very accurate to your actual knowledge of the material. So even though the test are generally very difficult and seen as hard to pass, last year 89% of Moldovan students were given passing grades.
This year Moldova promised a multitude of reforms to the test taking procedures and everyone was very surprised by the result. 42% of Moldovan students failed the exams this year which is a dramatic change from the 11% percent that failed last year. Of the 28,000 students who took the exam 6,400 didn't pass a single part of the exam, and only 14 recieved what you can think of as straight A+s.
Students have the right to challenge the grades they were given and have also been generously given the opportunity to retake the tests in July.
The major differences that lead to the "catastrophic" grades this year being that all of the tests were graded in Chisinau and there were much stricter regulations at the testing centers. In the past the person in charge of the testing center could be charged with corruption and would not be allowed to run the center for 5 years, this year however, anyone charged with corruption would not be allowed to run the testing center or head any educational institution for five years, which means if they are the director of a school they would lose their job. The regulations seemed to have had the desired effect.
Some news articles that discuss the grades:
Bac procedure more correct this year
Last day to challenge grades
Catastrophy at the Bac (Romanian) If you have google translate installed on your web browser I recommend this one. The comment section has some very good thought provoking responses that are well formed and spelled correctly. Which I'm not sure I can say the same for really any comment section I've seen anywhere else on the internet.