Girls of govt schools in Sindh outperformed boys

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KARACHI: The Pakistan Institute of Education (PIE) announced the results of their National Achievement Test (NAT) 2023 for Sindh on 31st May 2024.

The test included an assessment of class four and eight students of Sindh in the subjects of English, Urdu/Sindhi, mathematics and science. According to the findings, girls are slightly ahead of boys in maths and English and the performance of class eight students in rural schools is said to be better overall. The students showed significant improvement in maths, English and Urdu/Sindhi.

Some 4,306 students from 277 government schools in Sindh participated in the NAT, providing a broad representation of Sindh`s educational landscape. Maths results in class four were 49 per cent, English 59 per cent (pc), Urdu/Sindhi 69pc while class eight results in maths stood at 41pc and in science at 49pc.

Analysing performance by gender, it was found that girls outperformed boys in most subjects and grades.

According to the results, in class four, girls in English are at 62pc, boys at 55pc; in maths, girls at 51pe, boys at 49pc while in class eight, in science, girls are at 52pc and boys at 47pc. It is found thatelass eighth students in rural schools performed better while class four students in urban schools performed better. The findings also show maths results in class four of rural institutions is 49pc, urban 51pe, in class eight science, rural students are at52pc while urban at 46pc.

The results show that progress has been made over time. There is improvement in NAT 2023 maths` scores for class eight compared to 2019. However, class four English scores show a downward trend. Scores for English for class four are58percentin2023and62percentin2019. Students in Sindh scored 41 per cent in class eight maths in 2023, up from 34pc in 2019.

The results of NAT 2023 regarding the positive trends and improvement sector indicate that the fruits of many positive trends have started coming in the education system of Sindh. Students` impressive performance in most subjects and increased scores in maths indicate effective learning strategies.

However, there is a need for continued focus on improving maths and science scoresin class eight.

According to PIE`s Director Dr Muhammad Shahid Soroya, the launch of the NAT results in Sindh marks a step forward in collaborative efforts to improve education across Pakistan. `By working together with the Directorate of Curriculum, Assessment and Research [DCAR], we can leverage each other`s expertise to create a more comprehensive assessment system. This includes utilising PIE`s recently-developed item banking software and expanding assessments beyond classes four and eight to include foundational learning.

`Sharing ownership of the data at the provincial level allows us to tailor interventions and decision-making based on specific provincial needs. Today`s report provides a valuable foundation for continued collaboration. Ultimately, this is about ensuring the authenticity and impact of data, not just presenting results, to drive meaningful improvements in the educational landscape of Sindh,` he said.

Education and Literacy Secretary Zahid Ali Abbasi said the NAT launch and those results for Sindh were a valuable exercise. `I want to express my appreciation to the Federal Ministry of Education and Professional Training for that initiative. Assessing learning in classes four and eight, along with the feedback from parents, head teachers and communities, provides crucial insights. The encouraging performance in maths, particularly in rural areas, stands out.

`However, these assessments also remind us that while learning outcomes are important, so is fostering creativity and critical thinking. We must move beyond a system solely focused on marks,` he said.

Acknowledgement: Published in Dawn News on 1st June 2024.

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