Schoolchildren have poor understanding of Belarusian language, tests show

The International Test of Educational Achievements of Pupils/collage by Ulad Rubanau, Euroradio
The International Test of Educational Achievements of Pupils/collage by Ulad Rubanau, Euroradio

Belarusian pupils understand the assignments in the Belarusian language much worse than in Russian. This follows from the analysis of the PISA pilot test, which was conducted in Belarus back in 2017. Then one-third of the students had to complete the tasks in Belarusian.

PISA is an international program for assessing students' educational skills. These tests mainly show whether students are able to apply knowledge in practice, whether they are ready for the life in a competitive world.

The results of the children who took the test in Belarusian were noticeably worse. So much worse that experts, when analyzing the data, assumed that the children simply did not understand the tasks formulated in Belarusian well enough.


Это катастрофа. Тесты показали, что школьники плохо понимают белорусский язык
Test results depending on the test language / screenshot of Ihar Varaksa's presentation

Ihar Varaksa, a consultant with Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya's Office of School Education and a participant in the conference "Toward Reforming the Education System in New Belarus," hosted by the Bank of Ideas, recently drew attention to the PISA results for 2017.

"We see a difference of 30-40 points, which is the average score of pupils during a year of study. This difference in numbers is equivalent to about a year to two years of schooling," explains Varaksa.

For example, the difference in scores for reading tests in Belarusian and Russian is 60!

"This means that children who take the test in Belarusian in the same class either don't understand the assignments because they don't know the language or simply didn't learn it well. Interestingly, all of these schools had the Belarusian language as its language of instruction," Varaksa says.

Already in 2018, when the main tests were administered, a child could choose the language of the test. Only 40 of the 6,000 tests were taken in Belarusian.

PISA tests are given every three years. These tests help to understand how competitive the Belarusian educational system is in comparison with other countries participating in PISA. This year, Belarus was again supposed to participate in the testing, but PISA has refused to hold it in our country. So we won't know the dynamics of the situation yet.

Read more about what Belarus loses without PISA in the article by Euroradio.



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