Education in Argentina: StagLearning and Standardized Tests

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BUENOS AIRES, Argentina — Argentina is currently experiencing StagLearning, whereby despite high government spending on education, basic achievement is not improving. In response to its dwindling educational outcomes, the government has recently introduced a standardized test to assess the performance of students.

A scale for assessing student performance in Argentina showed student learning had not improved since 2000, according to the Program for International School Assessment (PISA). In order to increase GDP growth, a more educated workforce is essential. However, this does not mean students need to spend more time in school, rather a more effective education program must be implemented.

Argentina’s lack of progress is not representative of other Latin American countries, according to The World Bank. The progress of countries such as Brazil, Chile, Columbia, Mexico and Peru has shown an average increase of 30 PISA score points. If Argentina gained at least 25 points in the past 10 years, the country’s GDP would be an estimated 0.4 percent higher.

Not only could education in Argentina improve the country’s economy, but it could also address systemic issues of gender inequality and violence against women. UNICEF has stated that a quality education provides boys and girls with the means to adopt healthy lifestyles. This allows them to actively make decisions within the political, economic and social spheres of society.

Gender inequality and violence are serious issues in Argentina. Throughout the country, women have banded together to protest such violence. Although there are more women than men in Argentinian colleges, women continue to work lower-ranking positions.

This past October, students in Argentina from the sixth grade up took standardized tests to assess their performance. However, these standardized tests have received much disapproval from both students and teachers. On the first day that the tests were introduced, protests took place throughout the country.

Many distrust the intentions and purposes for the requirement of standardized tests, with teachers claiming the purpose of ranking performance is to prove that private education is more effective. However, the government is full of assurance that its only intention is to collect and analyze the data. There is a questionnaire for students, teachers and principals to fill out for additional factors contributing to the lack of progress in Argentina’s education.

Since Argentina does not have a lot of money to spend, it is vital that the government strategically allocates its funds. If Argentina distributed its educational funds toward the components already in place to make them more efficient, then much improvement can take place. In order to increase the educational system’s efficiency, Argentina could allocate money toward educating teachers and setting common goals for teachers, students and overseers involved.

Implementing a system, monitoring its success and evaluating progress is crucial for the Argentinian government, and standardized testing might be a step in the right direction. This plan promotes an education focused on quality, not quantity. Reform could alleviate social and economic concerns, and improve Argentina’s quality of education and quality of life.

Kayla Mehl

Photo: Flickr

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Kayla Mehl

Kayla is from El Paso, TX. Kayla has spent time studying abroad in Argentina.

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