The publication of the results of a recent test organized by UNESCO has raised the alarm about the profound educational crisis that Argentina is going through. The numbers reflect that Argentine students, who previously outpaced their Latin American peers, are today below the regional average in almost all subjects.
The Regional Comparative and Explanatory Study (ERCE) was conducted in 2019, prior to the pandemic, and revealed a sharp decline in children’s learning.. Only 15 years ago, Argentine third and sixth graders stood out in Latin America. Compared to the last test in 2013, it has fallen in all areas assessed – language, mathematics, and natural sciences -.
The ERCE is a representative test conducted by the UNESCO Latin American Laboratory for Evaluation of Education Quality (LLECE). In its latest edition, it covered more than 4,500 schools and 202,000 boys, representing nearly 20 million students in educational systems hosting a world total of 150 million. In addition to Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican Republic and Uruguay participated.
Unlike the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), the program does not ask the same questions for all countries. Prepare the questionnaire based on the local curriculum. That is, ask about the contents that children should know.
Here are some of the exercises done in the 6th grade math and reading test:
In mathematics, to achieve satisfactory levels, students must be able to To solve problems that require interpretation of information in various formats, including tables and graphs, as well as resort to two or more arithmetic operations, estimating areas and perimeters, and adding and subtracting fractions with the same denominator.
Here the failure was widespread. No country has been able to place the majority of its students above the minimum competency level. In this context, Argentine boys scored 690 points, 8 points lower than the regional average.. For TERCE 2013, the proportion of students at the first level with the lowest performance increased (13.1% more) and the total of those who reached the third and fourth most advanced levels decreased (7.6% more).
By the sixth grade, boys should be able to read more complex texts, at least be able to make inferences from specific or secondary ideas. In addition, they must be able to establish relationships between verbal and visual information and compare two texts according to purpose and content.
Sixth grade reading was the only measure in which Argentina did not fall below average. The student score was 698, which is the same as the regional average record. However, there were more boys at the lowest levels of learning compared to the 2013 test (5.2% more).