58.4% of São Paulo students don't know math

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff visits a school boat designed to transport schoolchildren in rural and riverside communities, during the "Seminar on Governmental Acquisitions: The Education Experience," in Brasilia, on September 14, 2011.

SÃO PAULO, Brazil — A study released today by government organization Saresp (Educational Achievement Evaluation System of São Paulo) showed that 58.4% of students leaving high school in São Paulo state have an understanding of math that falls below what is considered basic knowledge, according to Brazilian newspaper Folha.

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The study looked at students from the fifth to ninth grades in elementary school and those in their last year of high school, but it was the high school students who were below par when it came to math, reported Brazilian news site Terra. Although results showed only a slight increase compared to 2010's outcome (57.7%), the data indicate that the situation is far from ideal.

Of the high school students evaluated, 4.2% of students had knowledge considered adequate in math, while only 1% of those students achieved an advanced level, meaning their evaluations were better than Saresp expected, according to Brazilian news site R7.

2011's results may seem bleak, but some are an improvement on how students did in 2010. According to Globo TV's G1, only 3.6% of high school students in their last study year were considered adequate in math in 2010, meaning there are 0.6% more students in 2011 who have achieved what is expected of them.