National Literacy Report: 42% of students in Romania scored “non-functional” in literacy tests

  • Over 47,000 students in Romania have taken literacy tests in the last 15 months.
  • 42% of students in Romania obtained the “non-functional” score in the literacy level assessment tests.
  • 47% of students in grades I-VIII meet the “functional minimum” level of literacy.
  • 11% of the students who were tested obtained the best score in the literacy tests, the “functional” level.


Brio, a standardized test platform for students, along with 7 other non-profit organizations specializing in education, have launched the “Report on the Literacy Level of Students in Romania”. It was based on the results of over 47,000 students in The results of this study show that 42% of students obtained a “non-functional” score, which places them in an illiterate position, while about 20% of the students who were tested (8% of the school population) are on the verge of moving to the “functional minimum” category. Of the total tests collected, only 11% of the students fall into the “functional” category and the ability to locate, understand and synthesize information from a written text.

Literacy skills are essential for a student’s educational path and are extremely important for an adult’s development. A standardized assessment is needed to properly assess these literacy skills and especially to optimize them. There are delays in standardization, as there are problems in terms of literacy skills, in terms of functional literacy. PISA tests tell us, TIMSS results tell us, national exam results tell us, universities tell us that they complain about the low level of literacy, especially scientific literacy among pre-university graduates, and here it is. and this study by professionals. The results are more than worrying, but there are a number of opportunities. The first opportunity, essential from all points of view, is the Educated Romania program, which has as general objective the recovery of the education system from the perspective of equity and quality, ensuring the legal and organizational framework, as well as from the perspective of ensuring optimal resources. Subsequent to the Educated Romania program, we have the opportunity to finance education through PNRR with 3.6 billion euros. Another opportunity that can support Romania Educated is the unprecedented availability of combining public and private resources”, said Sorin Cîmpeanu, Minister of Education.

“The literacy level of 6-14 year old students requires proactive educational interventions, especially in vulnerable environments. The Educated Romania project aims to halve the percentage of functional illiteracy by 2030. Among the measures that will lead to achieving this goal is the use of the opportunity to increase the level of understanding and analysis of the text read in all subjects in all years of compulsory education. Last but not least, we need to study how the new generations learn, in order to be able to adapt the educational process to the generational profile“, said Ligia Deca, Presidential Adviser, Department of Education and Research, Presidential Administration.

47,000 students in Romania have tested their literacy level in the last 15 months 

Through the BRIO platform, in the last 15 months, more than 47,000 students in Romania have had the opportunity to take free literacy tests, which showed them the level they have in terms of their ability to understand a text. written. The average score of all these tests is 26.9 points. The score indicates an average, minimum functional level of students in Romania. Of the total tests, 45% of students, ie about 15-20% of the school population, are the absolute basis of the test’s ability to formulate the assessment.

The results obtained by Romanian students in literacy tests place them at about 7 points above the non-functional level of literacy, which means limited skills in using very simplistic language, inability to identify characters if not explicitly mentioned in the text and locating information only in a clear context, presented in short and obviously connected sentences. Thus, 42% of the students tested were at the “non-functional” level, while 47% of those tested obtained the “minimum functional” result.

The maximum result in literacy tests was obtained only by 11% of students in grades I-VIII, who proved that they can extract and use information from a given text, draw conclusions and understand the overall message and also make different interpretations, establish cause-effect relationships and find similarities and differences between characters, facts or concepts extracted from the text.

Girls obtained better results for literacy skills in all counties

For all age groups included in the report (6-14 years), girls showed a higher level of performance compared to boys, in all assessed skills (locating, understanding and synthesizing information). The difference in points between the sex groups is between 2.24 – 3.98 points. However, boys had a higher frequency of testing, so they accounted for 52% of the total sample analyzed in the report and girls for 48%. In terms of age and gender, the largest gap was recorded for 13-year-old students, where the literacy level of girls is 3.98 points higher than the results obtained by boys.

The competencies measured for each age group between 6 and 14 years of age generally show a relatively uniform distribution of literacy levels. The biggest difference is in the ability to locate information, with a difference of up to 11% between the extreme percentages, so that 38% of students in the 9-year-old category are at the “non-functional” level and 49% of those with 11. On the competence to understand the information, the differences are up to 8% between the extreme percentages, respectively 41% for the age category of 11 years and 49% for that of 9 years.

“Report on the level of literacy of students in Romania” was based on the results of 31,590 valid applications of literacy tests collected between January 2021 – April 2022. The sample is represented by students aged 6-14 years, enrolled in the public education system, educationally active.

BrioeducationLigia DecaliteracyNational Literacy Reportnon-functionalromanian studentssorin cimpeanutests
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