March 1, 2024

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PISA 2022 and the case of Chile: beyond the averages

PISA 2022 and the case of Chile: beyond the averages

The COVID-19 pandemic has left an indelible mark on education and Pisa test 2022 It’s just been revealed: an unprecedented global educational decline. The OECD average fell by nearly 15 points in mathematics and nearly 10 points in reading compared to the 2018 measure. However, average performance in science remained stable. This negative trend is not new, as it was observed before the pandemic, especially in mathematics since 2009, in reading since 2012, and in science, where it has remained practically stagnant for a decade.

How does Chile fare in this scenario? In line with the global trend, the country saw a decline in mathematics and reading, although it was not as marked as the average of the 81 participating countries/economies. In fact, only four countries managed to improve their performance in all three areas between 2018 and 2022, and Chile was clearly not among those exceptions. Let’s go with the part:

mathematics

Although we did not notice any significant decline in this issue compared to 2018, with a difference of only -5 points, it cannot be denied that this decline, added to the previous decline, has brought us practically to the same level as we were 16 years ago. However, averages often hide different realities. Women saw a significant drop of 11 points, doubling the gender gap. Moreover, the differences between the lowest and highest socioeconomic brackets were reduced, not only because the lower-level students increased their scores by 10 points, but also because, unfortunately, the upper-level students decreased by 14 points. In addition, in Chile there are 55.7% of students who do not achieve the minimum skills required to participate fully in a modern society, in contrast to 31% in OECD countries.

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reading

In this regard, a significant decrease was not observed compared to 2018 (-4), but it was compared to 2015. Once again, women were the most affected, as they experienced a significant decrease of 11 points compared to the previous measurement. Furthermore, the trend seen in mathematics in terms of reducing socio-economic gaps was replicated. The ceiling represented by a high socio-economic level has dropped dramatically, creating a mere optical illusion. Alarmingly, a third of Chilean students do not demonstrate the basic reading comprehension skills needed to function effectively in today’s society.

Sciences

In this area, Chile, as usual, obtained a similar result with respect to the previous measurement. This means that it has managed to maintain the same performance over the past 16 years, which is nothing to be proud of, with a third of students not reaching the minimum level, compared to only 25% in the OECD.

Chile has been performing poorly, going back at least 14 years. We remain below the OECD average, although we still stand out in the Latin American context in the three areas assessed. This situation has remained constant before and after this crisis, confirming what national evaluations have already indicated at other educational levels. Although the decline in averages was less dramatic than expected, our level was already low and declining. Furthermore, the gender gap is widening, with women no longer leading readers (unlike the OECD average, where there is a large gap in their favour). In mathematics, men outperform women by 17 points (twice the OECD average), and in science, the difference is 14 points, where this disparity is not observed as a whole.

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There is still a lot to explore. It is necessary to conduct an in-depth analysis of this devastating data that goes beyond comparisons. An unbiased assessment of outcomes across countries with heterogeneous levels of development, investment per student, and inequality is essential. This approach will enrich our understanding of the factors and variables that influence outcomes, both from the perspective of the student and the social and cultural context. It is necessary to implement this process to advance the education revitalization plan that Chile, like the rest of the world, urgently needs.