The MUT notes the reporting in the media attributing a student attainment gap of two years between independent schools and state schools. Upon delving further in the 2022 Country Report by the European Commission just published, the union notes that the claim made in passing in the said report is based on the results of the PISA international study and report of 2018. During the same year, the MUT had commissioned a study carried out by Dr Vincent Marmara and it was followed by a conference held in the same year.
The union considers a statement attributing a two-year student attainment gap between the sectors as very generic and highly questionable given that the statement is based simply on one international study whereby a number of factors come to play. Nonetheless it is clear that the recommendations made by the union and the independent researcher at the time have not been followed.
Recommendations included focusing less on syllabus content and more on problem-solving, looking at the language of these tests (including PISA, PIRLS and TIMSS) since they might be affecting their results, looking at the situation whereby these tests in Malta are considered ‘extra’ and ‘irrelevant’ while other countries prepare for them in a concerted manner, looking at the period when these tests are conducted, and also looking at human resources being allocated to science in Primary which is constantly being reduced.
Unfortunately, the MUT notes that similar to what happened in other circumstances, the study was shelved and despite all changes in the Education Ministry and a pandemic later, we are still waiting for a response to start a serious discussion on the said recommendations.