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National education report for Luxembourg presented

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Published on Friday, 14 December 2018

The University of Luxembourg and the Ministry of Education, Children and Youth presented this week the second national report on education for Luxembourg.

The report provides a unique and diverse insight into the educational system of the Grand Duchy. The authors deliver a factual and transparent source to inform debate on the national education system, and aim to present perspectives for the future development of the education system.

The database on which the articles in the education report are based is deliberately broad. The University’s investigators chose both quantitative and qualitative approaches, while data stems from the University’s research projects as well as of already existing sources.

The report is published by the University's LUCET (Luxembourg Center for Educational Testing) and the Ministry's SCRIPT (Service de coordination de la recherche et de l'innovation pédagogiques et technologiques). The integration into the University as well as the three-year publication balance ensure the independence of its scientific findings.

The educational report is available in German and French, both in book form and online on Bildungsbericht.lu.

Selected results

Educational inequalities

The first chapter of the report focuses on factors that influence the course of education. The contributions mainly address educational inequalities caused by social background, migrant background and gender, as well as attempts to reduce these differences.

The findings illustrate that educational inequalities are fundamentally changeable and have overall decreased over the past decades (Chapter 1.5). At the same time, there are still regional differences and disadvantages in some areas, such as transitional decisions from primary to secondary (Chapter 1.2). The recent changes in the orientation process could reduce educational inequalities. The satisfaction of parents concerning secondary school has increased since the reform in any case.

In addition to the change in educational inequalities, the return on investment in education shifted over time: education remains the best insurance against unemployment (Chapter 1.8).

Skills development

The first results from a national education monitoring show an excellent kickoff in key competences at the beginning of formal education (from cycle 2). However, at the beginning of cycle 3 there are clear differences in competences, especially in reading, which can be traced back to social background or migration background (chapter 1.6).

The German language of instruction presents a challenge for the linguistically heterogeneous student population in Luxembourg. These results underline the importance of preparing students adequately in the languages of instruction and supporting the literacy process with language teaching.

From the middle of primary school (Cycle 3.1, 3rd grade) to the middle of secondary school (5th, 9th grade), the learning evolution is rather stable (Chapter 1.4). Overall, the educational evolution between the 3rd and 9th grade are positive in German and negative in mathematics. The performance of mathematics improves over time, especially for students who speak one of the languages of instruction at home.

Language diversity in the education system is therefore not only a challenge for language teaching, but also for other subjects such as mathematics (chapter 2.7). Results also show that proficiency in the language of instruction influences school performance, and thus the students' real cognitive potential is sometimes unrecognised.

Multilingualism

The second part focuses on the multilingual school system. Educational inequalities due to social background and migrant background are closely related to different language skills.

The papers highlight approaches to successful early language learning programs designed to help young children without a Luxembourgish background (Chapter 2.1), as well as didactic methods to deal more consciously with linguistically complex situations in non-formal and formal education (Chapter 2.2).

Switching the instruction language when moving from elementary to secondary school, combined with sometimes a different language spoken at home, adds a difficulty level for many students to access STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics) subjects (chapter 2.7, 1.4).

In secondary school, the reading habits of young people reflect the multilingual education. Overall, few young people indicate that they read for pleasure, but they do it in different languages. Youngster prefer digital media compared to traditional media (Chapter 2.9).