Developing higher-order thinking skills among pupils
(The Philippine Star) - December 24, 2019 - 12:00am

What must alert the citizenry on the dire need for remedies and positive action by everyone concerned with the education of our youth? The recently released PISA results showed the shocking dismal bottom-level performance of Filipino students whose average score in key areas of study are 340 in reading, 353 in mathematics, and 357 in science. All these scores fall below the minimum proficiency levels of 407, 420, and 410 in the three critical subject areas and compare very poorly, reaching virtually the bottom level, viewed against the scores of our southeast Asian neighbors including Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand.

According to newspaper report, “the DepEd would lead a national effort for quality basic education through its newly launched, Sulong Educalidad which focuses on curriculum review, improvement of learning facilities, upskilling of teachers and school heads, and engagement of different sectors.”

Critical thinking has been thrown around widely in view of its significance to higher-order thinking processes in the achievement of educational goals. Professional literature provides translations of critical thinking which include such higher-order thinking processes as differentiating (e.g. identifying the quality of rice resistant to disease), evaluating (e.g. does the teaching profession attract a fair share of talents per constitutional mandate?) and creating (e.g. developing a plan to remedy, thereby prevent the automatic promotion of nonreaders).

Among a few other procedures hereby proposed for improving our pupils’ achievement in various educational goals in basic education are the following: a) Employ the inquiry method of teaching and learning whereby students can ask meaningful, relevant questions on the subject matter, and seek and discover answers on their own initiative;

b) Review and evaluate meaningfulness and relevance of books developed, selected, and adopted for promoting pupil learning and enjoyment;

c) Review the K to 12 Curriculum based on educational goals relevant to community living demands and pupil achievements;

d) Review the effectiveness and efficiency of test items and examination questions in challenging and employing critical thinking skills;

e) Assess the manageability of class size needed in promoting learning achievement, and

f) Engage other sectors based on experiences in working with school children, and academic qualifications and research capability for collaboration in DepEd projects. – Dolores G. Garcia, PhD, retired professor

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