Primary education pupils often struggling to reach target level in arithmetic
Before the coronavirus crisis, far too few pupils in the Netherlands reached the target level for arithmetic by the end of their primary education, the education inspectorate concluded in their report, Peil Rekenen en Wiskunde. To improve the situation, schools need to figure out the best way to assist students who fall behind but not at the expense of students who excel in the subject.
Level 1S is the target level for primary school students. At that level, children must also be able to multiply and divide fractions with each other. The ambition is for 65% to reach that level, a target set by the Meijerink Committee in 2010 when drawing up the reference levels.
Only a third of students achieve level 1S for arithmetic mathematics, and in special primary education, the percentage equals 1.8%. In their report, the inspectorate listed possible causes of this issue.
In the classroom, more attention is often paid to the students falling behind than to the students who have mastered the subject more quickly. This means that the latter group of children is given less chance to further develop their talent.
Primary schools also often strive for a lower level, 1F instead of 1S. "Not all teachers are aware that they should work towards level 1S", the report stated. Therefore, the teaching methods are not always adequate.
The effects of the coronavirus pandemic on primary school education are yet to be investigated in the next research. The initial reports of other institutions were however negative. The National Cohort Study for Education reported earlier that students were experiencing 16 percent less learning growth than normal in arithmetic during the first lockdown.