(Photo via: Clarín)

The results of the annual standardized test “Aprender” are out, and the results are lukewarm at best, with reports showing that students are excelling in language, but scores in math are stagnating.

At a press conference yesterday, Minister of Education Alejandro Finocchiaro emphasized the importance of these standardized tests in Argentina. “Some people still think that the test is a punishment, but that’s not true,” Finocchiaro said. “It’s important to know the truth. We can only implement better policies if we know what’s going on.”

Finocchiaro also pointed out the notable improvement in language skills among students. Education ministry officials attributed this improvement to the National Teacher Training Institute’s (INFoD) new initiative on reading comprehension, which considering the numbers, seems to have hit the target, or at least be on the right track.

However, the report also shows that 69 percent of Argentine students finish their high-school education with below satisfactory math skills. This prompted Elena Duro, Secretary of Education Evaluation, to acknowledge that they “continue to be stuck in a rut with math,” and that “it is a global trend to perform better in language than in math, except for the few countries that implement innovative programs.”

In addition to educational initiatives, education officials emphasized the importance of good administrators.

“Where there’s a good director, there’s a good school,” said Cecilia Veleda, the executive director of INFoD. “There’s a consensus on generating instruction, observing classes, in being close to the teachers. Until now, training administrators wasn’t institutionalized.”

Of course, when you introduce certain variables to the statistical analysis, clear discrepancies arise, Infobae explained. At private schools, only 53 percent of students are achieving at or below basic math levels. However, at state-funded public schools, a whopping 78 percent are achieving at or below basic math levels.

In cities, that number is 68 percent, and in rural areas, it’s 81 percent.

“Latin America is one of the most unequal regions of the world,” Finocchiaro said. “And at the same time, Argentina has one of the most unequal educational systems in the region.”

He assured the press that that in 2018 there will be a “strong intervention” in the most vulnerable schools.

Other vulnerable students include indigenous students, immigrants, and both teen mothers and fathers, who often work outside of school and drop out.