Changes in basic education in Mexico

By Jade Arroyo

Beginning this school year, several changes were made in the education system at the basic level: the way of grading was changed from a system of numbers to letters, the students are no longer failed but are “promoted” or not, and accreditation and ways of evaluating performance will change also. This change, “Agreement Number 648,” is part of the Integral Reform to Education that began three years ago. The SEP (Secretary of Public Education) and the different state governments approved what will be the new report card with letters instead of numbers for over 27.6 million children in preschool and elementary and middle school. The grade equivalent to “excellent,” formerly 10, now will be an “A.”A grade of B will encompass former grades 9 and 8; 7 and 6 will be graded as a C, and a D denotes a failing grade.

Students in preschool through third grades will be promoted to the next grade automatically unless they are determined to be unready to be promoted to the next grade and must retake that grade level. Outstanding students will be eligible to be admitted to elementary or middle school at an earlier age than that established or even to skip a grade.

The Education Delegate of the North Region, Pedro Uriel Rodríguez Martínez, spoke about these changes and said they are meant to contribute to the improvement of the educational process by considering the student’s needs and specific competencies. “Very important components related to the student’s performance, something we call the customized part, now we are addressing at a deeper level: the child’s formation to face life’s challenges,” he said.

The National Institute for the Evaluation of Education (INEE) collaborated in the redesign of the evaluation system. To officially institute the change, the SEP modified through the Official Diary of the Federation Agreement Number 200, which regulates the basic education evaluation schemes. In Agreement 592, the move from the traditional grading system to recording the student’s progress at each period and in each subject was instituted, including measuring advancement in the national reading program. To spread this new system the SEP has administered a training program to almost a million and a half teachers in Mexico, besides disseminating information and advice to parents.

Recently, the results of the examination Enlace were revealed for our region, made up of the municipalities of San Felipe, San Diego de la Unión, Dolores Hidalgo and San Miguel de Allende. The evaluated subjects were Spanish, math and science. The results were as follows: in elementary school, the advance in math was 6.3 percent, and in Spanish 0.4 percent. In middle school there was an advance of 1.8 percent in Spanish and 4.7 percent in math. These numbers are compared to those in 2011.

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