PISA report, educational challenges in Catalonia and national implications

PISA report and educational challenges in Catalonia and national implications

In the recent PISA report, which examines the academic performance of students in the 4th year of ESO, Compulsory Secondary Education, in more than 80 countries, Catalonia emerges with worrying results. It ranks at the bottom of Spain in the three competencies evaluated: mathematics, reading comprehension and science.

Between 2018 and 2022, Catalan students have experienced a notable drop in their performance in mathematics, losing 21 points, equivalent to a full academic year.

This decline places Catalonia as the region with the second largest losses in this area, behind only the city of Melilla. This decline exceeds the OECD average, which recorded a 17-point drop over the same period.

The situation worsens when looking at developments over a decade, from 2012 to 2022. During this period, Catalan students have lost a full grade in mathematics, with a decrease of 24 points. This worrying decline is shared only by Navarra.

Reading comprehension and science in the PISA Report: significant losses in Catalonia

The educational crisis in Catalonia is not limited to mathematics; reading comprehension and science also reflect worrying results.

In reading comprehension, Catalan students obtained 462 points, below the Spanish average and only surpassing Ceuta, Melilla and Andalusia.

In science, Catalonia’s score was 477, below the Spanish average (485) and below most of the autonomous communities.

These results indicate that, comparing the 2022 data with those of 2012, Catalonia has experienced the greatest drop in reading comprehension, losing 38 points, as well as a significant loss of 15 points in science.

The PISA report reveals worrying inequalities between the academic performance of native and migrant students in Catalonia.

The data show that students of migrant origin are two academic years behind their native peers. This performance gap is significantly larger in Catalonia compared to the national average.

Challenges for the Catalan education system

The worrying educational situation in Catalonia poses significant challenges for the education system. A thorough reflection and detailed explanation of the factors that have contributed to these “catastrophic” results is crucial.

The PISA report highlights the differences in performance between students in public and private schools. At the national level, students in private schools outperform their peers in public schools and Catalonia reflects more accentuated differences compared to the national average.

School bullying: Catalonia versus Spain

The study also addresses the problem of bullying, pointing out that Catalonia does not fare well in this regard. With 8.6% of students reporting being “frequently bullied”, Catalonia exceeds the national average (6%) and is among the regions with the highest rates of bullying, only surpassed by the Canary Islands, Ceuta and Melilla.


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