Filipino students lagging in reading, math, science

Janvic Mateo (The Philippine Star) - December 5, 2019 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines —  The Philippines ranked lowest in reading comprehension and second lowest in science and mathematics out of 79 countries that participated in an international assessment of the performance of 15-year-old students.

The results of the 2018 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) showed Filipino students lagged behind their counterparts in other countries, including those from neighboring Southeast Asian states such as Indonesia, Malaysia and Thailand.

Filipino students scored an average of 340 in reading, 353 in mathematics and 357 in science – all below the minimum proficiency level of at least 407, 420 and 410, respectively.

Results showed that only one out of five Filipino students achieved the minimum proficiency level in the three domains.

Many of these students are in private schools and in urban areas.

The assessment also showed that those who are in senior high school performed better than those in junior high school.

Education Secretary Leonor Briones was not surprised with the results, saying they have expected the assessment to reflect the performance of Filipino students in the National Achievement Tests.

The Department of Education (DepEd) said the participation of the country in PISA – the first time since the start of the triennial student assessment in 2000 – is part of the quality basic education reform plan and a step toward globalizing the quality of Philippine basic education. 

“By participating in PISA, we will be able to establish our baseline in relation to global standards, and benchmark the effectiveness of our reforms moving forward. The PISA results, along with our own assessments and studies, will aid in policy formulation, planning and programming,” the DepEd said.

“With the PISA results also reflecting the learners’ performance in the National Achievement Test, the DepEd recognizes the urgency of addressing issues and gaps in attaining quality of basic education in the Philippines,” it added.

The DepEd said it would lead a national effort for quality basic education through its newly launched initiative Sulong EduKalidad, which focuses on curriculum review, improvement of learning facilities, upskilling of teachers and school heads, and engagement of different sectors.

Conducted every three years by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development, PISA measures “the extent to which 15-year-old students, near the end of their compulsory education, have acquired key knowledge and skills that are essential for full participation in modern societies.”

It puts “emphasis on how well students can extrapolate from what they have learned and can apply that knowledge in unfamiliar settings, both in and out of school.”

Students from four areas in China (Beijing, Shanghai, Jiangsu and Zhejiang) topped the assessment in all three areas (555 in reading, 591 in math, 590 in science), overtaking Singapore that has led the 2015 round of assessment.

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