Chile: Rising Above the Rest – Latin America’s Strongest Contender in the 2022 PISA


The 2022 Pisa: why Latin America’s top contender is Chile

When it comes to the Pisa test, Chile has consistently ranked first among Latin American nations. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, Chile managed to come out on top in the cognitive abilities evaluation of 15-year-olds from OECD nations. This achievement can be attributed to a number of factors, including standards and quality control, decentralization of administration, and a focus on training and recruiting better teachers.

Compared to other Latin American countries, Chile has shown significant improvement in its educational performance. The country allocates 6% of its GDP to education, just like Brazil, but its students have consistently scored higher in recent years. In the PISA 2022 exam, Chilean students scored 412 in arithmetic, 448 in reading, and 444 in science. On the other hand, Brazil scored lower with 379 in math, 410 in reading, and 403 in science. While both countries have remained stagnant for a few years, Chile is in a more comfortable position as it is closer to the performance of better positioned nations.

One of the key indicators of Chile’s progress is the reduction in the percentage of students who struggle with the bare minimum of mathematics needed for daily activities. In Brazil, 73% of students do not grasp this minimum level, while in Chile, this number lowers to 44%. Similarly, in reading proficiency, 50% of Brazilians fail to attain level 2, while 34% of Chileans fail to reach level 3. In terms of scientific knowledge, 55% of Brazilian students do not possess the minimum required, while only 36% of Chileans fall into this category.

Chile’s dedication to education can be seen in its historical concern and constant public discussion on the subject. The country has implemented policies that aim to improve conditions and learning for Chilean students. Public and private funding, such as that provided to the non-governmental organization Elige Educar, helps recruit academically gifted students and retain experienced educators.

Reforms to the schooling system have played a crucial role in Chile’s educational advancement. The establishment of the Education Quality Agency and the Education Superintendency, as authorized by the General Education Law, has ensured compliance with educational standards. The Education Superintendency monitors schools’ adherence to regulations, while the Education Quality Agency assesses student learning and teacher performance. The National Education Council evaluates national assessment plans and the shared curriculum basis.

Decentralization of education has been a key element in Chile’s success, allowing schools to have autonomy in their decision-making processes while following guidelines set by public policies. This flexibility enables schools to address specific needs in their communities, taking into account the social, economic, and geographical diversities present. This approach has been recommended for Brazil as well, with state and local governments taking a more active role in educational reforms.

Improving teacher preparation programs is another area where Chile has excelled. Data collected by organizations like Elige Educar have contributed to discussions on this topic. In Chile, initiatives like the “I want to be a Prof.” program provide support and guidance to students considering a career in teaching. In Brazil, however, pedagogy programs have been found to be lacking, with many teacher candidates scoring below the national average. Addressing this disconnect between theory and practice is vital to improving educational outcomes.

Chile’s success in the 2022 Pisa test serves as an inspiration for other Latin American countries. By implementing measures such as standards and quality control, decentralization of administration, and a focus on teacher training, countries like Brazil can strive to surpass their educational challenges. It is crucial for governments to prioritize education and learn from successful models in order to provide quality education for their students.