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ÉpStan identifies no deterioration in general skills among students

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Published on Thursday, 21 April 2022

The University of Luxembourg and the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth (MENJE) presented today the results of the Luxembourg school monitoring programme Épreuves Standardisées (ÉpStan) 2021.

ÉpStan 2021 provides an overview of how the COVID-19 pandemic and the sanitary protection measures related to the pandemic affected the school skills and academic performance of pupils in primary and secondary education in Luxembourg during the school year 2020/2021. The main findings of the study coordinated by LUCET (Luxembourg Centre for Educational Testing of the University of Luxembourg) are as follows:

  • ÉpStan 2021 does not show a systematic negative trend that would indicate a general loss of competence of primary and secondary students in Luxembourg;
  • At first sight, the competencies of students in cycle 3.1 in German listening comprehension have improved after the losses of 2020. However, if the students are divided according to language groups, a more differentiated picture emerges;
  • The performance level in German reading comprehension has decreased in 2021 in both primary and secondary school. In cycle 4.1, this loss of competence can be observed regardless of the socio-economic status and language background of the students. In secondary school (Grade 9), students of the Enseignement Secondaire Général (ESG) and l’Enseignement Secondaire Général – Voie de Préparation (ESG-VP) are particularly affected.
  • The COVID-19 pandemic continues to accentuate already existing differences between advantaged and disadvantaged students.

The following fields of action can be derived from these observations:

  • The promotion of German listening comprehension should be (further) differentiated in primary school;
  • Skills related to German reading comprehension should be promoted in primary and secondary school in general;
  • In addition, special attention should be paid to students who were already considered at risk before the pandemic, as they seem to be impacted harder by the COVID-19 pandemic from an academic point of view.

The results of the study are based on representative data from approximately 23,000 students from five different grades of primary and secondary school, 15,000 parents/guardians (primary school only), and comparative data from 183,000 students from previous years of primary and secondary school (2014 to 2021).

In 2021, the ÉpStan results from autumn 2020 had provided a first comprehensive empirical database on the first six months of the pandemic (spring to summer 2020). (www.epstan.lu)

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