Relief within national education: the effects of the pandemic on the performance of students are behind us, if we are to believe the results of the latest national assessments presented this Tuesday, November 16, and which relate to the mastery of French and mathematics.
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We are far, in any case, from the gloomy picture drawn up a year ago. At the time, these tests highlighted a double phenomenon: on the one hand, a deterioration in results at the start of elementary school, among first-grade students and especially among their older ones in CE1, who had not been able to fully benefit from the contributions of the preparatory course in the learning of reading, writing and arithmetic; on the other hand, a widening gap between children enrolled in priority education and others.
Some skills are improving compared to 2019
The new edition of these evaluations shows a clear improvement in performance from one year to the next. “In French as in mathematics, we find levels similar to those observed in 2019, before the pandemic”, observes Fabienne Rosenwald, head of the evaluation, forecasting and performance department, the “statistics” department of National Education. “The overall drop in level observed last year has been absorbed. The results are even better than two years ago for certain skills ”, she emphasizes.
This is the case, in CP, of letter recognition (a skill mastered today by 64% of students, compared to 59% two years ago) and of the comparison of numbers (79%, i.e. 3 points more ). Likewise, in CE1, schoolchildren are improving compared to 2019 in terms of the ability to read a text aloud, for example: the proportion of pupils passing the test successfully climbs from 71 to 73%. Plus 2 points also, math side, for problem solving (48% success this year).
Priority education goes up the hill
This time around the performance gap between priority education and the rest of the schools, the trend is reversed, again, compared to last year, in both CP and CE1, for almost all math skills as well as French. One downside, however: for many of them, inequalities – although down compared to 2020 – remain more marked than in 2019.
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In sixth grade, where the Covid effect was not noted last year (the results were even rather better than in 2019), the upward trend continues. It concerns above all French. In math, performance improves but only for students enrolled outside priority education.
Often criticized by teachers, who denounce their time-consuming and stressful nature for students, the national assessments, relaunched by the current government, concern all staff in the three levels targeted, i.e. for each of them around 800,000. students.