What is TERCE?

TERCE is a large scale study of learning achievement, which was implemented in 2013. In total 15 countries took part (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru and Uruguay), as well  as the Mexican state of Nuevo Leon (Mexico).

This study assessed the performance of pupils in third and sixth grades primary school in Mathematics, Reading and Writing (Language), plus Natural Sciences in the case of sixth grade. Its main goal was to provide information for the discussion on education quality in the region. It also aimed to orient decision making in educational public policies. In order to achieve this objective the study involved the application not only of tests to measure learning achievements, but also of context questionnaires, to gain understanding of the context and of the circumstances in which learning occurs inside the areas being assessed.

The pilot test of TERCE was implemented in 2012. Its final implementation happened in 2013. UNESCO has worked for TERCE with implementation partners: the Center for Measurement Mide UC, of Pontifical Catholic University of Chile and the Centre of Compared Policies of University Diego Portales (Chile). They worked together to develop the research tools and the training that allowed capacity building and the correct use of data.

The first set of results consisted of the presentation of comparative results between TERCE and the second study (SERCE, 2006) to measure learning achievements in primary education in the region. This comparison demonstrated the changes which have occurred in the performance of the educational systems of participating countries over the last seven years.

Specifically, the results allowed learning achievements to be compared between pupils in third and sixth grades, in the Mathematics and Reading tests; this was applied to all the countries which participated in both studies. In addition, the Natural Sciences test results were compared for the 8 countries for which data on both measurements were available; participation in the science test was voluntary in SERCE, and it was applied in only a few countries.

Other innovations in TERCE are the "national modules" of associated factors, which enabled countries to study in greater detail the factors which affect learning; a module to study the impact of the use of ICT on the quality of education; and the relationship between nutrition and learning.

TERCE's information kit (PDF Spanish/English)

Contact us

LLECE's coordination
Country teams and UNESCO contacts

Contacts for the press

Carolina Jerez Henríquez
Public information
Regional Bureau for Education in Latin America and the Caribbean
Email: c.jerez(at)unesco.org
Tel. (562) 24724607

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