National Literacy Report: 42% of students in Romania scored “non-functional” in literacy tests

Deniza Cristian 17/05/2022 | 15:12

Brio, a standardized testing platform for students, together with 7 other non-profit organizations specialized in the field of education, launched the “Report on the literacy level of students in Romania“.

 

This was done based on the results that over 47,000 students from all over the country, from secondary grades, obtained in literacy tests. The results thus collected show that 42% of the students obtained the “non-functional” score, which places them in a position of illiteracy, while approximately 20% of the students who were tested (8% of the school population) are on the verge of passing to the ”functional minimum”. Of the total tests collected, only 11% of students are placed into the “functional” category and have shown that they have the ability to locate, understand and synthesize information from a written text.

“Literacy skills are essential to a student’s educational path and are extremely important for an adult’s development. In order to properly appreciate these literacy skills and especially for their optimization, a standardized assessment is needed. There are delays in standardization, as there are problems in terms of literacy skills, in terms of functional alphabetization. PISA tests tell us, TIMSS results tell us, national exam results tell us, universities that complain about the low level of literacy, especially scientific literacy among pre-university graduates and, here it is, this study conducted by professionals also tells us. The results are more than worrying, but there are a number of opportunities. The first opportunity, essential from all points of view, is the Educated Romania program, which has as a general objective the recovery of the education system from the perspective of equity and quality, ensuring the legal and organizational framework, as well as from the perspective of ensuring optimal resources. Subsequent to the Educated Romania program, we have the opportunity to finance education through PNRR with 3.6 billion euros. Another opportunity that can support Educated Romania program is the unprecedented availability of combining public and private resources “, said Sorin Cîmpeanu, Minister of Education.

”The literacy level of 6-14 year old students require proactive educational interventions, especially in vulnerable environments. The Educated Romania project aims to halve the percentage of functional illiteracy by 2030. Among the measures that will lead to achieving this goal is the use of this opportunity to increase the level of understanding and analysis of a text in all subjects, in all years of compulsory education. Last but not least, we need to study how the new generations learn, in order to be able to adapt the educational process to the generational profile”, said Ligia Deca, Presidential Adviser, Departament of Education and Research, Presidential Administration.

Over 47,000 students in Romania have taken a literacy test in the last 15 months

Through the BRIO platform, in the last 15 months, more than 47,000 students in Romania have had the opportunity to take free literacy tests, which showed them the level they have in terms of their ability to understand a written text. The average score of all these tests is 26.9 points. The score indicates an average of minimum functional level of the students in Romania. Of the total test, 45% of students, meaning about 15-20% of the school population, are at the absolute basis of the test’s ability to formulate the assessment.

The results obtained by Romanian students in literacy tests place them at about 7 points above the non-functional level of literacy, which means limited skills in using very simple language, inability to identify characters if not explicitly mentioned in the text and locating information only in a clear context, presented in short and obviously connected sentences. Therefore, 42% of the tested students were at the “non-functional” level, while 47% of those tested obtained the “minimum functional” result.

The maximum result in literacy tests was obtained only by 11% of students in secondary grades, who proved that they could extract and use information from a given text, draw conclusions and understand the overall message and also make different interpretations, establish cause-effect relationships and find similarities and differences between characters, facts or concepts extracted from the text.

In all Romania, the girls obtained better results for literacy skills

For all age groups included in the report (6-14 years), the girls showed a higher level of performance compared to boys, in all assessed skills (locating, understanding and synthesizing information). The difference in points between the sex group is 2.24–3.98 points. However, the boys had a higher frequency of testing, so they accounted a share of 52% of the total sample analyzed in the report, while girls were 48%. In terms of age and gender, the largest gap was recorded by 13-year-old age group, where the literacy level of girls is 3.98 points, higher than the results obtained by boys.

The competencies measured for each age group between 6 and 14 years of generally have a relatively uniform distribution of literacy levels. The biggest difference is in the ability to locate information, with a difference of up to 11% between the percentage extremes, so that 38% of students of the 9-year-old category are at the “non-functional” level and 49% of those with 11 years old. On the competence of understanding the information, the differences are up to 8% between the percentage extremes, respectively 41% of the 11-year-old age category and 49% of the 9-year-old age category.

“Report on the level of literacy of students in Romania” was based on the results of 31,590 valid applications of literacy test collected between January 2021 – April 2022. The sample is represented by students aged 6-14 years, enrolled in the public educational system, educationally active. The testing system was developed by Brio in accordance with the most rigorous global standards. The literacy test can be access free of charge by both students (secondary grades) and teachers.

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