Ukrainian schoolchildren lag behind their European peers in knowledge by several years: which subjects are falling behind
The PISA 2022 study, conducted every three years among 15-year-old schoolchildren in math, reading, and science, has revealed a decline in the quality of knowledge acquisition among Ukrainian teenagers. The results clearly illustrate the extent of educational setbacks experienced by students due to prolonged distance learning and the stress induced by Russia's full-scale war against Ukraine.
The analysis results were published on the official website of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine. In particular, its head, Oksen Lisovyi, noted that efforts have already commenced to address educational losses, and the findings of PISA 2022 will serve as a guide for the Ukrainian education system on what areas to prioritize.
"PISA provides a vast amount of data for developing and adjusting educational policy. We acknowledge that educational losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the war were inevitable, but now we have an understanding of the scale. We have already initiated efforts to address educational losses and will continue to do so based on the results of the study. Specifically, we are constructing and renovating shelters in schools. We are acquiring buses so that students from different localities can access schools and receive quality education. Alongside our international partners, we are procuring gadgets for education," said Lisovyi.
According to PISA, mathematical literacy is the ability of students to reason mathematically and to formulate, apply, and interpret mathematics to solve problems in a variety of real-world contexts. In this area, Ukrainian adolescents have the lowest level of educational losses. 58% of Ukrainian participants reached the basic (second out of six) level of mathematical literacy, and 32% of students reached level 3 and higher.
The difference between Ukraine and the other 35 countries (OECD) is approximately one and a half years of schooling according to PISA standards (1 year of schooling = 20 test scores).
According to the PISA definition, a scientifically literate person can engage in an informed discussion about science and technology, which requires skills in explaining phenomena scientifically, evaluating and planning scientific research, and interpreting data and evidence. Ukrainian students' scores in this discipline decreased by 19 points compared to 2018.
The basic level was confirmed by 66% of students. Level 3 and higher were achieved by 36% of students. Last time, the results were better in science than in math, so despite the decline in 2022, the drop is not as noticeable.
Testing in this discipline involves checking the following skills
- establishing cause-and-effect relationships based on one or more written sources;
- the ability to isolate the main point;
- distinguish information from different types of texts (fiction, media texts, instructions, graphs);
In reading, 15-year-old students scored 38 points lower than in 2018. 59% of students reached the basic level, and 29% reached level 3 and higher. On average, Ukrainian adolescents lag behind their OECD peers in reading by about two and a half years of schooling according to PISA standards.
Factors that affect adolescents' performance
- Math skills vary depending on where children study. Lyceums, gymnasiums, and specialized schools score 457 points, secondary schools score 23 points higher, and technical schools, colleges, and vocational education institutions (VEIs) score 58 points higher. Students in vocational education institutions are about three years behind their peers in lyceums, gymnasiums, and specialized schools. Similar results are observed in reading and science.
- The gender gap is that boys are 10 points ahead of girls in math, while in reading, on the contrary, girls are 23 points ahead of boys. At the same time, there is almost no difference in science.
- In Ukraine, schoolchildren spend the most time on math homework of any country - up to one hour.
- The level of bullying in educational institutions has decreased by 7.6% compared to 2018. The Ministry of Education and Science suggests that this is due to the transition to distance learning.
"The fact that the study was conducted in Ukraine is an example of the incredible cohesion, resilience, and strength of our educators and students. The circumstances that have shaped the last few years of Ukrainian life have led to a decline in PISA scores in all areas, most notably in reading. But our common belief in the future and our strength turn this information into a basis for planning further actions, not a verdict," summarized Tetiana Vakulenko, Director of the Ukrainian Center for Educational Quality Assessment and PISA National Coordinator in Ukraine.
Ukraine joined PISA in 2018. The study is conducted every three years and covers more than 80 countries and economies. However, PISA 2022 was held not in three but in four years due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In Ukraine, despite the difficulties caused by the full-scale war, it was possible to organize monitoring in 18 of the 27 regions of our country.
Earlier, OBOZ.UA reported that it became known what specialists are sorely lacking in Ukrainian educational institutions. Ukrainian educational institutions.