Guatemala falls back in education indicators according to Unesco regional evaluation

Guatemala reduced its learning achievements in Mathematics and Reading in the Regional Comparative and Explanatory Study (Erce) test, a measurement carried out in 2019 and whose results were made public yesterday by the United Nations Fund for Education and Culture (UNESCO ).

These tests, carried out by the Latin American Laboratory for the Evaluation of the Quality of Education (Llece), of the Regional Office of Education for Latin America and the Caribbean (Orealc / Unesco), standardized for the Latin American region, had been carried out in 2013 Regarding this measurement, it is that Guatemala had a reduction in its results, placing it among the most lagging countries, only surpassing Nicaragua in some of the tests and in others placing it in last place.

In total, there are 16 countries evaluated, and the performance of 160,000 third and sixth grade students was analyzed.

In Guatemala 10,895 students participated, 5,393 from third grade and 5,895 from sixth grade. The tests were given in 2019, and evaluated students in the curricular areas of Reading, Writing and Mathematics. In sixth grade, the Science area was also measured.

Erce “observed a decrease in the results of learning achievements in Guatemala in Mathematics, Reading and Science,” the report concludes.

“Erce 2019 shows results that show very low levels of learning in the region and a stagnation in its progress, even before the pandemic. Education systems have less than a decade to achieve the goals committed in the 2030 Agenda, so urgent measures must be taken to overcome this learning crisis, which affects more than half of the student population and which, without a doubt, , it was expanded and deepened with the covid-19 ”, said Claudia Uribe, director of the Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean of UNESCO, from its headquarters in Santiago de Chile.

The Erce 2019 study describes what students know and are able to do based on their own curriculum and places them in four performance levels, which describe the ability that the student demonstrates when solving the different test questions. The first level corresponds to the lowest and the fourth level to the highest result.


In Reading, in third grade, Guatemalan students obtained 656 points, below the regional average, which was established at 697. In addition, 60.7% of the student population is located in the first level of performance, the lowest, when the average for the Latin American region is 44.3%.

In sixth grade, in Mathematics, Guatemalan students obtained a total score of 645 points, also below the Latin American average, which is 698 points. There, 64% of the students are also located, in the lowest level of performance and only two out of every 200 reach the maximum performance.

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The evaluation also indicates that in third grade girls obtained better results in Reading than boys, while in Mathematics there is no statistically significant difference. On the other hand, in sixth grade boys obtained better results in Mathematics than girls, while in Reading and Science there are no significant differences.

“It is observed that students from native peoples obtain lower results,” concludes the study.

The coordinator of Laboratorio Llece, Carlos Henríquez, highlighted: “In light of the results found in Erce 2019, in Guatemala it will be necessary to strengthen the institutional framework and direct the greatest possible efforts towards primary school and, in particular, towards the teaching of fundamental skills. of Reading and Mathematics. In addition, recognizing the importance of gender equality and cultural diversity and fostering educational opportunities so that each and every student has the fundamental learning for their development ”.

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