Catalonia In Decline

Nacional de Evaluation Educativa, a body dependent on the Ministry of Education, published with confessed delay the reading results in Spain of the PISA tests carried out in 2018.

With a drop of 16 points compared to the previous study (2015) and 20% of students in the low level of competition (read: they do not reach it), Catalonia was placed in fifth position in the ranking of autonomous communities.

The results of the reading comprehension tests thus confirmed the already known decline that was registered in the tests of scientific competence and mathematical competence, the results of which were published punctually more than a year ago.

In scientific competition, Catalonia suffered a setback of 15 points compared to 2015 and was in seventh position behind Galicia, Castilla y León, Asturias, Cantabria, Aragon and Navarra.

In mathematical competition the decrease was 10 points and Catalonia was relegated to ninth position, behind the aforementioned communities as well as the Basque Country and La Rioja. According to PISA data, 20% of Catalan students do not reach scientific competence and 22% do not reach mathematical competence.

In terms of international assessments, the novelty this winter has been the publication of data from the 2019 TIMSS (Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study) tests.

If the PISA tests are administered every three years to 15-year-old students ( 4th ESO), in Spain the TIMSS tests are administered every four years to 4th year primary school students.

In this edition of TIMSS, four autonomous communities (Asturias, Castilla y León, Catalonia and La Rioja) expanded their sample to obtain their own representative data (in turn, the Community of Madrid was a “reference participant” in the study).

For Catalonia, the results of TIMSS 2019 are sadly eloquent. The 494 points obtained in mathematics place it below the Spanish average (502), the European Union (513) and the OECD (527), and behind the four mentioned autonomous communities.

Castilla y León leads the ranking with 528 points. In the case of science, more of the same: the 504 points obtained place it below the Spanish average (511), the European Union (514) and the OECD (526). Castilla y León once again leads the ranking with its 535 points.

Beyond the global scores, a detailed analysis of the data clearly illustrates the magnitude of the tragedy. In mathematics, 38% of Catalan students in the lowest levels of the scale contrasts with 20% in Castilla y León.

And 22% of Catalan students at the highest levels contrasts with 38% in Castilla y León and La Rioja. In science, the picture is the same: 33% of Catalan students at the lowest levels of the scale contrasts with 15% in Castilla y León. And 25% of Catalan students at the highest levels contrasts with 42% in Asturias.

The problem of the educational system in Catalonia is not only in its mediocre performance in science or mathematics according to the rigorous international evaluations it is subjected to. The year 2020 ended with the publication of the data of the Social Progress Index of the European regions by the European Commission.

While in the global calculation the Catalan index is right in the European average (67 points), in the dimension called “access to basic knowledge” the 61 points of Catalonia place it at 13 of the average of the regions of the Union.

In this dimension, the European Commission measures the level of schooling between 14 and 18 years old, the rate of students who complete compulsory secondary education and early school leaving.

In summary: the most accredited international indicators indicate that the educational system in Catalonia is sliding downhill. Will this problem be discussed in the upcoming election campaign? And asked questions: who will save Catalonia from decadence?

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