11% Of Class III Children Lack Basic Math Skills, 37% Have Limited Skills, Reveals Study

New Delhi: Thirty-seven per cent of 86,000 Class III students surveyed across 10,000 schools in 20 languages for the first-of-its-kind one-on-one nationwide study showed “limited” foundational numeracy knowledge and skills and 11% lacked most basic knowledge and skills. Each student responded to a set of questions orally for the Union education ministry and the National Council of Educational Research and Training study.

Based on this, a report titled “Foundational Learning Study 2022” was released on Tuesday.


To provide reliable and valid data about Class III students to know what they are able to do in foundational literacy and numeracy and the extent of learning outcomes being achieved.

How it was done

The students were categorised into four groups on the basis of their performances including lack of most basic knowledge and skills, limited knowledge and skills, sufficient knowledge and skills, and superior knowledge and skills. The study covered both foundational literacy and numeracy skills.

What the students were asked to do

In numeracy, the students were tasked with the identification of numbers, addition, and subtraction, etc.

The outcome

  • Overall nationally, 11% of the respondents could not complete the most basic grade-level tasks, 37% partially completed basic grade-level tasks, 42% successfully completed the task. Only 10% were found to have developed superior skills.
  • Tamil Nadu had the highest number of students (29%) lacking basic numeracy skills, followed by Jammu & Kashmir (28%), Assam, and Gujarat (18% each).

Foundational literacy skills

These included oral language comprehension, phonological awareness, decoding, reading comprehension, and oral reading fluency with comprehension.


  • In English, 30% of the respondents showed limited knowledge and skills
  • 15% could not complete the most basic grade-level tasks
  • Only 20% could successfully complete the most basic grade-level tasks
  • In Hindi, 21% of the students lacked the most basic skills
  • 32% had limited skills
  • Only 22% had sufficient skills
  • The proportion of students lacking basic skills was 21% in Kannada, 17% in Malayalam, 17% in Marathi, 20% in Bengali, 19% in Odia, and 42% in Tamil.

The report said the findings will set the baseline for National Initiative for Proficiency in Reading with Understanding and Numeracy scheme launched last year nationally to enable students at the end of Class 3 to attain foundational skills by 2026-2027. “The Study also aims to establish reading proficiency benchmarks for fluency and comprehension for each of the languages [20]…being assessed under the study and proficiency benchmarks for numeracy.”

Union education minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that it is the “first of its kind study in the world and aims to set benchmarks for reading with comprehension in 20 Indian languages”.

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