Fourth grade Hungarian students who took part in the PIRLS (Progress in International Reading Literacy) Study last year achieved Hungary’s best ever results so far.

In assessment of the results, Minister of State for Education László Palkovics highlighted, amongst others, that Hungarian schools have been maintained by the state since 2012, thanks to which operating conditions have become increasingly secure and the institutional system has become stable and more dependable, and stressed that the field of education has received significantly more funding in recent years.

The effects of the teachers’ career model are also beginning to be felt, and it has now also transpired that school is capable of compensating for certain disadvantages in fourth grade, he added.

The Minister of State also highlighted the fact that the Government’s 2015 decision to make attending nursery school compulsory has also achieved clearly positive results.

He noted that the status of teachers corresponds to the international average, with satisfaction indices exceed that, in fact.

The improvement in the results can also be explained by the fact that this kind of skill is less dependent on the content of the curriculum and much more so on teachers’ methodological knowledge and experience, and on changes in the school environment, Mr. Palkovics said.

Head of Department Ildikó Balázsi from the National Education Office told reporters that Hungary’s results improved by 15 points compared to 2011, achieving 554 points last year, adding that only the students of 8 countries had achieved better results, 10 countries had achieved similar results to those of Hungary, and the education systems of 31 states produced worse education indices.

Hungarian students achieved better results with texts relating to gaining experience, such as stories and literary works, than they did with texts designed to assist the acquisition and use of information (e.g. interviews, textbooks), but results in both categories improved compared to precious studies. Points improved by 5 percent compared to 2011 with relation to children’s level of capabilities.

Hungarian girls achieved 13 percent higher points than boys, putting Hungary in an average position compared to other countries, but the difference between boys and girls remained below the international average.

Ms. Balázsi also said with relation to the study that family background and the resources available at home had a significant effect on the results of Hungarian students. There was an average difference of 136 points between children who had few or many resources to assist in studying, the average difference in the countries that were involved in the study being 140.

It also transpired that fourth grade teachers in Hungary spend longer than average, 24 years, in their careers than the international average.

According to the study, only 3 percent of Hungarian teachers said they were not satisfied with their career.

A higher than average proportion of Hungarian fourth graders, 67 percent compared to the international average of 60 percent, said they were interested and felt activated by classwork, and felt that their teachers pay particular attention to their study needs and communicate their expectations.

The situation also improved somewhat with relation to the love of reading: in 2011, 22 percent of students said they didn’t enjoy reading, while last year this ratio was 20 percent.

4623 students from 209 classes in 149 Hungarian schools took part in the PIRLS Study, which involved fifty countries. Students receive skill points based on their test result, and it is on the basis of these that the countries’ results are calculated.

The results of the PIRLS 2016 international study are available on the organisation’s website.

(Ministry of Human Capacities/MTI)