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In 2021, the level of excellence in Spanish Reading Comprehension for third-grade students was 1.29%

The percentage for first-grade was 11%, and 6% for second grade.


The daily routine of Puerto Rico’s students has been affected in the past years due to hurricanes, earthquakes, and most recently, the COVID-19 pandemic. However, the Island’s students were already lagging in many subjects before these events. One of the measures taken by the PRDE to begin understanding the magnitude of said academic lag and that is part of the PRDE’s Academic Recovery Plan, is the Baseline Academic Assessments.

The test was first administered in August 2021 and student outcomes in the field of Spanish reading comprehension were severely lagging. In the press conference to announce the multisectoral effort ¡Todos a Leer!, held in September 2022, PRDE secretary Eliezer Ramos Parés stated that of the first-grade students who took the test, only 11% scored at a level of good and excellent; of the second-grade students, 6% scored at a level of good and excellent; whereas third-grade students, only 1.29% scored at a level of good and excellent. In subsequent years, the PRDE will use other tools, like the META tests and the Reading Mechanic Test to measure proficiency in this subject.

Third-grade students, who scored the lowest on the test, experienced more disruptions in their routines. That is, third-grade students who took the test in August 2021, completed their first and second grades through distance learning. When this data was released, these third-grade students were just starting fourth grade; reading skills should be mastered by this level.

In 2017, the results of the META test, administered to all students from third to eighth grade plus eleventh grade to evaluate Spanish, Math, English as a second language, and Science showed that only 49% of students from all grades obtained proficient or advanced in Spanish. Most, with 51%, obtained basic or pre-basic. In 2019, proficiency declined to 45%. There is no data from the test during the years of virtual education. In 2022, proficiency declined 9 percentage points to 36%. Proficiency levels in Math and English also declined. [1]  Spanish is the main language in Puerto Rico.

Before the use META tests in 2016, the standardized test used by the PRDE was Puerto Rican Test of Academic Achievement (PPAA). In the study El estado del aprendizaje de la lectura y la escritura en los grados primarios de las escuelas públicas de Puerto Rico 2011-2015, conducted by the Flamboyán Foundation and the Puerto Rico Insitute of Statistics, it was found that Spanish proficiency in third-grade students was 59% to 62%. Data also shows a decline in higher grades, with 35% to 40% for eighth-grade students and a similar number for eleventh-grade. [2] In 2022, Spanish proficiency for third-grade students was 48%.

To promote literacy, particularly among K-3 students, the PRDE joined a group of organizations to form the Multisectoral Coalition for Reading ¡Todos a Leer! The objective of this group is to draw up a plan to mitigate literacy difficulties among K-3 students of the Island’s public education system. The plan or roadmap outlines concrete actions for all sectors and offers the PRDE public policy recommendations and best practices for literacy instruction in the classroom.[3]






[1] Departamento de Educación de Puerto Rico. (n.d.). Perfil del Departamento de Educación. Retrieved August 17, 2023, from

[2] Villalón, E., Disdier, O., & Cruz, L. (2018). El estado del aprendizaje de la lectura y la escritura en los grados primarios de las escuelas públicas de Puerto Rico 2011-2015. Fundación Flamboyán.

[3] Event. (2022, September 2). Conferencia de prensa.  Coalición Multisectorial ¡Todos a leer!