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Learning levels: ‘beyond basics’

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  • Published
    25th Jul, 2019
  • In ASER 2018, children in the age group 14 to 16 were given a few tasks which required calculations to be done in everyday contexts. Children were asked to calculate time, compute how many tablets would be required to purify water (application of unitary method), figure out where to buy books given two different price lists (financial decision making), and compute a discount. Each of these tasks was done one on one. Results are reported for those children in this age group who could do at least subtraction correctly.
  • Gender differences in reading and arithmetic the 14-16 age group: For the age group 14 to 16, the all India figure for the proportion of girls who can read at least a Std II level text is very similar to that of boys. Both are around 77%. However, girls outperform boys in many states like Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, West Bengal, Assam, Chhattisgarh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu. In basic arithmetic, boys seem to hold a substantial advantage. Nationally, 50% of all boys in the age group 14 to 16 can correctly solve a division problem as compared to 44% of all girls. But in states like Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu, girls in this age group are doing better than boys in arithmetic.
  • ‘Beyond basics’ - bonus tool tasks: Of the 14-16 year olds who could solve a numerical division problem, a little under half could compute the time question correctly, 52% could apply the unitary method to calculate how many tablets were needed to purify a given volume of water, about 37% were able to take the correct decision regarding the purchase of books, and less than 30% could compute the discount correctly. In all cases, fewer girls could solve questions correctly as compared to boys.
  • Further, performance on these everyday tasks was uniformly lower among those in this age group who could do subtraction but not division, as compared to those who could do division.

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