PISA Report shows El Salvador’s scores among the worst: OECD 

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By LatAm Reports Editor

For specialists, it is no surprise that the country has been located in the last places of the PISA 2022 test. They point out that these results were being given from SEAP and are reaffirmed with studies that present scientifically validated data.

For specialists, it is no surprise that the country has been located in the last places of the PISA 2022 test. They point out that these results were being given from SEAP and are reaffirmed with studies that present scientifically validated data.

In El Salvador, 62.8 per cent of students aged 15 and 16 do not reach basic levels of knowledge in mathematics, science and reading. This was revealed by the report for the International Student Assessment (PISA) 2022, which places the country in 143 position of 147 regions evaluated in these three subjects.

The study, developed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), reveals that in mathematics the main theme of PISA 2022, Salvadoran students earned 343 points compared to the average of 472 points in OECD countries.

It also notes that 11 per cent of students reached at least level 2 of the competence in mathematics. Significantly less than the average of OECD countries – which is 69 per cent.

At least these students can interpret and recognize, without direct instructions, how a simple situation can be mathematically represented, the study says.

PISA qualifies level 2 as the basic level of competences students need to participate fully in society.

The average score for El Salvador in mathematics is 343, with which it is located 144th place, in science is 373, placing itself in 137th place; while for reading it obtained 365 points placing in 131 place.

According to the report, Salvadoran students do not reach level 2 in all three subjects.

It also states that 90.6 % of those evaluated show the same performance in at least one of the subjects, while only 0.2% achieve outstanding performance.

For Dr. Oscar Picardo Joao, that El Salvador is located in the last places of the countries evaluated is not a surprise, as previous studies such as the international standardized test ERCE, of 2019, already located El Salvador with very low results.

In the PISA test El Salvador achieved very low scores at all levels: we are practically in the basement of quality with Paraguay, with Cambodia, Dominican Republic, which are the countries with the lowest quality performance, he explained.

Boys and girls attend class in the C. E. El Salamo, in Cacaopera, Morazán. The school was bordered by yellow line by the Mined last year, as its walls and floors are damaged and pose a risk. But, given the need to teach and not walk home at home, the local teachers asked to reopen it to Education and are occupying it. 

Badly fed students

For the academic, these results reflect a complex and multifactorial condition that entails aspects that are intrinsically and extrimented related to schools. The test says that 18% of the students who participated had not eaten, had not done a meal time and that reveals a rather critical situation, but there are also internal pedagogical factors. I think there are endogenous factors of the school, how we teach mathematics, how reading understanding is important, and how much we do experiments in science is important, he adds.

Picardo believes that these results should serve to design programmes and policies to solve these problems in very specific terms. In his view, a problem that has not been dealt with for years in the field of education has to do with the pedagogy, teaching and training of teachers in the country. There are many outdated teachers and this has to do with the dignity of teachers, with attracting and retaining the best talent, which is not currently the case and that has not been done in 30 years, either in the past or in the present, he adds.

For his part, Jorge Villega, secretary general of Magisterial Bases, shares Picardo’s opinion, pointing out that El Salvador is contested the basement in the PISA test.

For Villega, these results only reaffirm what the magisterium has been pointing out.

We have been saying it for years, and the poor quality of students’ learning has been proven once again, he says.

For the teacher, the main problem facing the education system in the country is the method of evaluation. Students, he adds, are promoted without a reliable test of their level of learning, he says.

Results-based decision-making

Mauricio Trejo, a master’s degree in Science, educator and Director of Curriculum Management at the UCA, is of the opinion that the results, from a test that provides scientifically validated information, should allow decisions to be made for the system at all levels.

At the macro curriculum level, he points out, on the purpose of the education system; at the level of the month curriculum to define curricula that are more appropriate to the needs that arise in emerging cultures and at the micro-curriculum level, it can allow classroom processes to be developed with the highest quality.

There are many tasks to be done in the Ministry of Education, Picardo highlights, pointing out that results such as those of the PISA report were taking place in the country even with PAES.

Trejo, for his part, also refers to the main factors affecting the education system. In his view for years, governments have been making government decisions – and not state decisions.

Each one has tried to leave his mark on the grounds that everything the above have done does does does. That’s how our education system has been designed, like it was a house to which we add rooms but these have no connection to each other, exemplifies.

The professional also regrets that in this construction of educational design the teaching profession has not been considered as a fundamental part of decision-making. We haven’t known what to do with education in the country, he says.

The expert gives as an example the educational reforms such as the Ten-Year Plan for Educational Reform implemented in the 1990s and the most recent, the one implemented by the government in turn My new school, of which very little is known – and we do not know when it will be implemented.

We don’t have a clear idea of where we’re going, what the country needs and therefore building an adequate education system for it?’ he warned.

Faced with this scenario, the specialist considers it necessary to build a broad discussion on the direction of the country, where democracy is not only considered representative but also participatory, and in which those who are elected to make decisions integrate all sectors.

Within this compendium, he values, the voices of all sectors must be heard: educational, productive, social, economic and health, among others.

This article has been translated from the original which first appeared in El Salvador