A study shows that grade repetition is not effective for students to recover learning

The data obtained by the students in the TERCE 2013, PISA 2018 and ERCE 2019 tests show that grade repetition is not effective for students to recover learning.

An analysis carried out by researchers from the Educational Research Center of Panama (Ciedu), in which the data of students who have repeated a grade with those who have not, found that those who have repeated have significantly lower scores.

An example. In the 2019 ERCE, the average score of third grade students in the repetition indicator in reading was 685.78 in children who have never repeated it, and 613.9 in children who have repeated it one or more times. The situation was similar in mathematics.

The Ciedu researchers suggest that if repeating the grade leveled learning, the scores should be the same or better.

In the analysis carried out by Ciedu researchers Nadia De León Porter, Mariana León and David Bernal, when they compared the data of students who have repeated a grade with those who have not, they found that those who have repeated have significantly lower scores.

Nadia De León Porter, director of Ciedu, indicated that repetition is a strategy that has accumulated evidence of little effectiveness in leveling or recovering learning throughout the world, not only in Panama.

He argued that the strategies for managing classrooms and school hours in which there is greater flexibility to group students according to level and not exclusively by age or grade have been proving effective both to prevent and to recover and level.

Other interventions that are more effective include mentoring, additional work in small groups, and the availability of specialist support whenever needed, he said.

In addition, De León Porter said that the additional work time, whether in the summer or at any other time, if the same techniques, formats and teaching-learning processes are used that have already failed once with the student, it will be difficult for them to be effective in a second repetition.

For Ciedu researcher Mariana León, school repetition is failing to be an efficient strategy to level learning because the reasons that led the student to fail the year are not overcome only by repeating the material, since there are underlying learning issues and attention that must be identified to take the necessary corrective measures.

Moreno stressed that repeating a grade can cause self-esteem problems and socio-emotional difficulties in students, and in some contexts it is considered an adverse childhood experience.

In addition, he considered it important to return to attendance, since the degree of learning loss must be correlated with the duration of the physical closure of schools.

He added that strategies must be designed to allow learning to be recovered, and he cited England as an example, where three measures were implemented: longer school days, incorporating tutoring for students with difficulties, and improving the quality of teachers through continuous development programs. .

The Ciedu researchers recommend focusing efforts on improving the quality of education in the initial stages, designing academic support programs for specific disciplines for students lagging behind, establishing early warning mechanisms by identifying risk factors such as absences, tardiness or low performance, and design interventions before the end of the year.

They are also committed to developing programs in flexible modalities that allow school re-entry and force learning, especially in ages under 15 years.

The education expert and professor Noemí Castillo stated that in the last two years it has been very difficult to work online and guarantee children’s learning. For this reason, he said, it is convenient to carry out a broad revision process to identify where the basic learning of children is, in particular in the skills of reading, writing, mathematics and science, to identify the minimum skills of the students and progressively introduce the new ones. grade content.

He stressed that if the recommendations offered by the evaluations are not heeded, then the same or worse results will continue to be obtained.

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