Pakistan’s Education Progress: Insights from the NAT Report 2023

Pakistan Institute of Education unveils key insights from the National Achievement Test, showcasing improvements in Grade 4 English but alarming declines in Grade 8 Maths.

Maheen Waheed
By Maheen Waheed - Writer 3 Min Read
NAT Report 2023

Pakistan Institute of Education (PIE), a working department of the Ministry of Federal Education & Professional Training, recently published a report entitled “Pakistan`s National Achievement Test (NAT).” The official findings were made public on March 1, 2024, with the study carried out last year. According to the institute, “NAT is a low-stakes assessment for Grade 4 and Grade 8 students and teachers.” Principally, 4th and 8th standards are milestones in school education.  A total of 1283 schools participated in the study, with Punjab taking the lead and Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT) offering the least number of schools. The report featured below shows the proficiency of examinees in Grade 4 English and Grade 8 Math. Also, the document illustrates a comparison between NAT 2019 and NAT 2023 alongside the fresh findings.

Here are the key takeaways from the research:. Notably, the mean score of Grade 4 English has climbed from 50.8% to 56.1%, marking learning progress. Contrarily, the percentile average score of students in Grade 8 math has declined, slipping from 42.7% to 41.6%, ringing the bells. Further analysis invites startling information. Pupils from Punjab stood out for both grades, achieving the highest scores in English and Math for Grade 4 and Grade 8, respectively. However, Gilgit Baltistan (GB) showed up with abysmal scores for Grade 4 English, attaining a pitiful total of 39.2 mean percentage. Schools` performance in Balochistan comes under question, as the assessment of Grade 8 math provided dismal evaluations.

The students struggled to make a meagre total of 30.6% (mean percentage). Bisecting the study on a gender basis, girls were ahead in the race with a considerable gap in English and similar outcomes in math. Results for boys and girls differed by 6.2% in the subject of English, while it was a close race for math, as girls rose by a narrow margin of 1.9%. Children from the rural side bagged more marks than competitors from urban areas. Moving forward, the significance of assigned homework has consequences. To exemplify this, math students from Grade 4, who always completed homework and got it corrected by the teacher, prospered among their classmates.

At odds with it is the scenario where homework is seldomly/never assigned, resulting in poor results. In addition, a direct-proportion relation is crystal-clear between performance and course completion duration, e.g., kids grabbed top marks in grade 4 English where the teacher agreed that the course got wrapped up timely.

Lastly, an exciting aspect comes from the `performance tug-of-war` between teachers and students. Teachers guided the path for their students. Yet, the score of teachers is a bittersweet tale: only 71.0% marks were achieved in Grade 8 math, while English teachers demonstrated brilliance by procuring 82.9%.

The analysis renders formidable suggestions, from curriculum modification to constant parental involvement. While discrepancies might have specked the report, for example, different numbers of schools included in research from each province, its sirens an urgent call to action; performances have taken a nose-dive from the year 2019 to the year 2023. Research-based official statistics point out outstanding performance on the first rung of the ladder. Implementation of data-driven reforms, coupled with implacable, albeit regular, checks, shall be ensured to preserve the educational calibre.

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By Maheen Waheed Writer
Writer at Aware Pakistan, who enjoys putting everything down on paper and writing for her share.
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