Educational Performance and Outcomes

According to data from the SAEB/Proval Brasil from 1999 to 2007, there is evidence that educational performance is improving in all regions of Brazil. Performance for the lowest income students has also improved. According to the World Bank, Brazil increased PISA scores more for the lowest income groups than the highest income groups. However, gaps in school attendance and learning levels still remain between different income groups.

PISA learning outcomes
The Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) test is designed to measure trends in countries' average student scores over time, relative to a mean score of 500 achieved by the OECD countries as a group in the year 2000.

Brazil has participated in PISA since 2000. Brazil had the strongest improvement in math and 3rd largest improvement overall (after Luxembourg and Chile) between 2000 and 2009 on PISA, but its absolute scores are still low compared to other participants. For example, 60% of students still scored below 400-showing that they lacked basic numeracy skills--compared with 14% across the OECD and 3-5% in top performing countries Shanghai and Korea. Additionally, Brazil falls behind others in the LAC (Latin American and Caribbean) region, including Chile, Uruguay and Mexico; and LAC countries as a whole trail the OECD average performance. According to the World Bank, "The gap in math skills between the average student in Shanghai and the average Brazilian student is approximately 5 school years."

Student attendance
After the expansion in education policies, enrollment rates in primary and lower-secondary education have increased. The percentage of children who finish primary education has increased from 42% to 71%, and the percentage of children who complete secondary school has increased from 28% to 55%. Additionally, in 1993 secondary education was often attained only when students came from parents who had attained secondary education. As of 2009, students complete between 9 and 11 years of schooling regardless of the schooling level of their parents, which ranges from 0-10 years. According to the 2007 National Household Sample Survey carried out by the Brazilian Institute for Geography and Statistics (IBGE), 97.6% of children between 7 and 14 years old are in school, 27 million students. Children that are not in school tend to belong to afro-descendent, indigenous and quilombola or poor communities, as well as children with disabilities or at-risk youth.

Non-attendance in schools is still a concern in parts of the country. As per estimates given by the IBGE, in more wealthy states, 95% of the children enroll from the beginning. However, in lower income regions, the rate of children enrolling at the beginning is recorded between 60% and 80%. According to a UNICEF survey, 35% of children complete fifth grade education in Brazil.