First lessons for la carte literacy teaching for school pupils

The pilot project offering a choice of literacy between French and German in mixed classes could potentially help to remedy educational inequalities in Luxembourg at the start of the school career, according to an interim report from the Luxembourg Centre for Educational Testing (LUCET) at the University of Luxembourg.

On the basis of data from Standardised Tests (EpStan) collected in autumn 2023 as part of school monitoring, pupils taught to read and write in French achieve better results in listening comprehension and precursor reading tests administered in their language of literacy than those in the reference sample, who have comparable characteristics but learn to read and write systematically in German, following the national curriculum.

Launched at the start of the 2022/2023 school year in four primary schools in Luxembourg, the "Zesumme wuessen!" pilot literacy project enabled pupils entering primary education (cycle C2.1) who so wished to begin learning written language in French or German in mixed classes.

The proportion of pupils in basic education who do not speak Luxembourgish as their family’s first language stood at 67.7% in the 2022/2023 school year, according to data from the Ministry of National Education, Children and Youth.

The initial results also show that the parents of children who are literate in French feel better able to support their child’s learning at school.

In the key academic areas, the results of the mathematics test and the Luxembourgish listening comprehension test - both administered in the Luxemburgish language to pupils in the pilot project as well as those in the reference groups - show that most pupils have a solid basic knowledge, regardless of their family languages and their language of literacy.

This initial evaluation of the pilot project should, however, be interpreted with caution. On the one hand, the tests (listening comprehension and precursors to writing) differ because of the language of literacy, despite their similar design. Secondly, the size of the pilot groups is small.

Integrated into the University of Luxembourg in 2014 as a structural mission of the government, EpStan is a school monitoring tool that makes it possible to check throughout schooling that the learning objectives of the previous learning cycle have been achieved.

pStan identifies no deterioration in general skills among students