Tamil Nadu has the highest number of students lacking basic numeracy skills followed by Jammu and Kashmir, Assam, and Gujarat, according to a study by the NCERT.
At least 37 per cent of students of class 3 are in the category that says “learners have limited knowledge and skills and they can partially complete basic grade-level tasks”, it said.
On the other side of the spectrum are the children from states like West Bengal, Uttarakhand, Jharkhand, Himachal Pradesh and Bihar who either have suﬃcient knowledge and skill or have developed superior knowledge and skill and can complete complex grade-level tasks.
This was revealed in the national report on benchmarking for "oral reading fluency with reading comprehension and numeracy 2022" conducted by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT). The study also highlighted that in eight languages, more than a quarter of the children of class 3 assessed for oral reading frequently performed below global minimum proficiency.
Forty-two per cent of the children studying in Tamil lack basic reading skills with a boy reading 16 words per minute correctly against girls 18, on average.
Children reading in Khasi, Bengali, Mizo, Punjabi, Hindi and English demonstrated the highest level of oral reading proficiency.
The report said its objective was to provide reliable and valid data about class 3 students to know what they are capable of doing in foundational literacy and numeracy and the extent of learning outcomes being achieved.
In numeracy, students were tasked with the identification of numbers, addition, subtraction, etc.
Overall, 11 per cent of the respondents could not complete the most basic grade-level tasks, while 37 per cent partially completed basic grade-level tasks, and 42 per cent successfully completed the task.
Only 10 per cent were found to have developed superior skills.
The Ministry of Education launched the National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy (NIPUN) Bharat in July 2021 as a national mission to enable all children at the end of Class 3 to attain foundational skills by the year 2026-2027.
To strengthen the children’s ‘foundational literacy and numeracy, a large-scale ‘foundational learning study’ was started jointly by the ministry and NCERT in March 2022.
According to this study, the majority, 52 per cent, of the students fall in the scoring range of 70 and above, and 40 per cent are in the 70-83 Score Points, which signifies that these children “can successfully complete the most basic grade-level tasks”.
Ten per cent fall in the top category of 84 and above, which means they with their superior knowledge and skill “can complete complex grade-level tasks”.
Select samples of children from Class 3 were assessed by a test administrator in a one-on-one setting where each child responded to a set of questions administered orally.
The test included number identification, number discrimination, addition, subtraction, division, multiplication, fractions and identifying patterns comprising numbers and shapes.