Philippines in bottom 4 of global creative thinkers

Neil Jayson Servallos - The Philippine Star
Philippines in bottom 4 of global creative thinkers
Students attend their classes after their holiday break at Araullo High School in Manila on January 4, 2024.
STAR / Ernie Penaredondo

MANILA, Philippines — The Philippines has landed in the bottom four of a global test for creative thinking, ranking student performance in the country as one of the worst in the world, according to results of the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA)’s newly launched benchmarking test for creativity.

Among 64 countries, 15-year-old Filipino junior high students were deemed to have one of the weakest creative thinking skills globally, with a mean score of 14.2.

In comparison, Southeast Asian neighbor Singapore scored the highest among 64 countries with a mean score of 41.

“The performance gap in creative thinking between the highest-performing and lowest-performing country is very large, around 28 score points. Less than three in every 100 students in the five best-performing countries (Singapore, Korea, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, in descending order) perform around or below the mean of the five lowest performing countries (Albania, the Philippines, Uzbekistan, Morocco and the Dominican Republic, in order),” the study stated.

PISA, developed by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), said the average score points was 33.

The results, released last Tuesday, were based on tests that nearly 700,000 students from 81 OECD member and partner countries took in 2022.

PISA defines creative thinking as “the competence to engage productively in the generation, evaluation and improvement of ideas that can result in original and effective solutions, advances in knowledge and impactful expressions of imagination.”

Students were made to take a one-hour test on creative thinking items, which were organized into four different contexts: written expression, visual expression, social problem solving and scientific problem-solving.

It also noted that student performance in creative thinking “correlates positively” to their performance in mathematics, reading and science – areas in the last PISA that also showed the Philippines performing poorly.

In the PISA results released in December last year, the Philippines landed in the bottom 10 out of 81 countries in reading comprehension, mathematics and science, based on the 2022 PISA.

Overall, the Philippines achieved a 2.2 percentage point hike in mathematics from 2018 to 2022, 6.9 percent in reading and a 0.8 percent drop in science proficiency.

The mean scores of countries that participated in the PISA 2022 were 472 in mathematics, 476 in reading and 485 in science.

The Philippines scored more or less 120 points less than the average scores in 2022’s assessment, with 355, 347 and 373 for math, reading and science, respectively.

This meant that every 20 points lacking from the average represent one year of annual pace of learning of 15-year-olds in countries that participate in PISA, according to the OECD.

The Department of Education has been sought for comment on the matter, but has yet to respond.

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