The cross : The past five-year period has been dominated by the establishment of national assessments in CP, CE1 and 6e. With what benefits?
Fabienne Rosenwald: The primary purpose of these assessments was to become tools at the service of teachers. Each session is accompanied by a questionnaire completed by the teachers. Three quarters of the time, after receiving the results of the latest interim CP assessments, they tell us that these tests have made it possible to confirm and better identify the difficulties already identified in certain students. A third of teachers also say that these assessments have made it possible to identify learning difficulties that had previously escaped them.
What exactly do these mid-CP evaluations tell us?
FR : For health reasons, these assessments – with an excellent pass rate of 98% – were scheduled for the return of winter break this year and not before the start of the school year in January, as is usually the case. They are therefore not rigorously comparable with previous editions. Still, we can say that the results are generally better and encouraging. This was not necessarily acquired in a health context that severely disrupted class life in January and February.
→ READ. Double lessons, positive results without being spectacular
In any case, these evaluations confirm a number of strong points of the CP students: at the end of the winter holidays, 9 out of 10 knew the names of the letters and the sound they produce; 8 out of 10 had started to read correctly, although 5% and 7%, respectively, still had great difficulty reading words and sentences.
In math, the little French still remain quite comfortable in comparison or when writing numbers. But 60% still struggle to solve problems.
Is the gap between priority education and the rest of the education system narrowing?
FR : As has generally been the case since the launch of these evaluations, the gap between September and mid-CP evaluations is narrowing between priority education and the other institutions: for example, it decreases by 7 points in problem solving, 4 or 5 points points in the other skills, except in understanding sentences read by the teacher, where the gap remains unchanged.
In contrast, what we have been seeing for several years now is that this phenomenon is not confirmed between the mid-CP tests and those at the beginning of CE1. Possibly because there is a form of loss during the holidays among the students who are least stimulated culturally and intellectually. We also launched a survey of a representative panel of 10,000 schools to try to identify a possible ‘holiday’ effect.
Can we nevertheless consider this narrowing of the gap during the first semester of CP as a positive effect of the double lessons?
FR : One can simply assume that having less crowded classes is not separate from this phenomenon. But to demonstrate the importance of this measurement, it is rather necessary to refer to the evaluation of duplication set up with a team of researchers. At the start of the 2017 school year, it only concerned the CPs of the REP+, the hard core of priority education. We were therefore able to compare the evolution of their results with those of students with a similar profile trained in REP, with significantly higher results.
It was also noted that the percentage of students with the most difficulty, in split classes, increased from 21% at the start of CP to 16% at the end of CE1.
Another lesson: we compared, still in priority education, the results achieved in CE1 in 2018 (in whole classes) with those of 2019 (in split classes), a comparison that shows the progress for all students. During this period, the gap between the REPs and the rest of the public institutions has narrowed, for example from 11% to 6% in word reading or from 13% to 9% in subtraction.
All in all, one in five students in CP has major difficulties. Does this mean his academic future is in jeopardy?
FR : Luckily not. Another recent study by Depp, focusing on a cohort of students who entered CP in 2011, shows that 50% of those who were in great difficulty when they entered elementary school were no longer in CM2, both for math and ‘ in French’. But the progress of these students strongly depends on the socio-economic profile of the family, especially for the level in mathematics. This increase is also closely related to the number of books they find at home, which, in addition to the parents’ professions and CSP, is an important part of their cultural capital.