Ideb 2021, an index that measures the quality of Brazilian education, varies little compared to 2019, but data are ‘misleading’ | Education

This Friday (16), the National Institute for Educational Studies and Research Anísio Teixeira (Inep) released the results of the Ideb – Brazilian Education Development Index –, a thermometer created in 2007 by the Ministry of Education to measure the quality of public and private education. in the country.

There was little variation from the previous edition, 2019, but that does not mean that there were no learning losses in the pandemic or that regional inequalities were not accentuated in the period.

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The new data, collected in 2021, must be interpreted with great caution so as not to lead to misleading conclusions. These are distorted numbers, explain experts heard by g1: were collected in conditions that ended up “masking”, in an unintentional way, the true portrait of Brazilian education in the pandemic (see further below).

In the early years of elementary school, for example, precisely at the stage when children faced difficulties in distance literacy processes, the national IDEB was 5.8 (a very slight fluctuation compared to 5.9 before the pandemic) .

In the final years of elementary school, the variation was also small (from 4.9 to 5.1), and in high school, Ideb was stationary at 4.2 — once again, showing that the numbers do not necessarily indicate what happened to student performance during this period.

“The comparison between the results must be avoided”, says Maria Helena Guimarães de Castro, president of the National Council of Education (CNE).

But why can the data give this “misleading” impression that there have been no setbacks in education?

First, you need to know how the IDEB is calculated. On a scale of 1 to 10, it crosses two pieces of information:

  • pass rate/school flow (the percentage of students who did not repeat a year in a school or school system);
  • saeb notes, a Portuguese and mathematics test taken by students in the 2nd, 5th and 9th year of elementary school and by students in the 3rd of high school. In the case of the 9th grade, for a specific sample, there were also issues of natural sciences and human sciences.

But this year, these two “ingredients” were compromised, because:

  • Part of the education networks adopted automatic approval in the pandemic (and will therefore have an artificially higher Ideb).
  • For the first time, also because of Covid-19, the percentage of students who took the assessment (Saeb) was much lower in some states, providing statistically unreliable data. Comparisons and rankings will not be true to reality.

At the press conference, Victor Godoy Veiga, Minister of Education, said that strategies adopted by the federal government, together with states and municipalities, aim to lead to quality education, repairing the learning losses resulting from the pandemic.

  • Percentage of 2nd grade children who cannot read and write or isolated words more than doubles in the pandemic, says Inep
  • ‘Black woman from the hill graduated’: cleaning lady’s daughter completes nursing school and goes viral on social media

What are the goals? Why shouldn’t the comparison be made?

The index is released every two years, on various scales: national (at each school stage), by network (of municipalities and states) and by school.

Inep always sets individual and general goals, taking into account the context of each region. Check out the results of the last editions below:

The targets initially set for 2021 will not be considered, because of the pandemic and all the factors that changed (unintentionally) the calculations.

Without failing anyone, Ideb increases

In the pandemic, on the recommendation of the National Education Council (CNE), some networks adopted the policy of not failing anyone. In their case, the pass rate will therefore be 100% (everyone passed the year).

Consequently, Ideb will increase artificially in relation to the historical series, without necessarily indicating an improvement in education.

“Other networks have not followed the same conduct. [de aprovar todos], because they had already resumed face-to-face classes. It is, therefore, more complicated to make a comparison between states or from one year to the other”, explains Gabriel Corrêa, leader of educational policies at the NGO Todos Pela Educação.

Vitor de Angelo, president of the National Council of Secretaries of Education (Consed), reinforces that these distortions are not intentionalbut “smear the samples statistically”.

“States that reopened schools earlier, such as Pernambuco, São Paulo, Mato Grosso and Espírito Santo, had already returned to normal in the practices of retaining students. Their approval ratings will pull Ideb down. You cannot compare them with those that had automatic approval”, he says.

Students who were left out of the Saeb may interfere with the results

Another factor that interferes in Ideb 2021 is the number of students who took the Saeb.

Inep has already announced that, on the national average, 71.3% of target students took the test in 2021 – in 2019, the rate was 80.99%.

When the test was administered, in November and December of last year, many schools had not yet returned to the 100% face-to-face format. Probably, in their case, adherence to the exam was lower than that recorded in schools that were already functioning normally.

Roraima, for example, did not have any municipality meeting the minimum criteria (50% adherence to Saeb) in high school. Two years ago, 93% had taken the test. Mato Grosso (18%), Rio Grande do Norte (23%) and Bahia (28%) also did not reach the level necessary to enter the national calculations.

“It is difficult to compare a network in which 95% of the students took the test with another in which 50% took the exam. Those students who did not attend tend to be the ones who were most vulnerable, away from school. Even if unintentionally, this selects the participating students and interferes with the grade”, explains Gabriel Corrêa.

He states that, in pre-pandemic contexts, states recorded similar percentages of participation, which facilitated comparisons. This is not the case for 2021.

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