‘Small percentage’ of PH 5th graders proficient in math, reading, writing – study
MANILA, Philippines — A limited to a small percentage of grade 5 Filipino children excelled in mathematics, reading and writing, according to the results of a 2019 study conducted by the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Association (SEAMEO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
The report — the Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM) – monitored the learning outcomes in Southeast Asian countries and sought to understand the factors to facilitate or hinder effective learning of children.
DOWNLOAD THE REPORT HERE: SEA-PLM 2019 Main Regional Report
The study selected a sample of fifth-grade children in each country, regardless of their age and previous experience before and after entering school.
In the Philippines, Cambodia, and Malaysia, children were “tested one year before the end of primary school.”
The SEA-PLM measured levels of proficiency by dividing the children into bands.
Those in the higher bands have skills that are expected at the end of primary education. Those in the lower bands have skills expected of children in early grades of primary education.
Few Filipino children progressed in reading skills
The study showed that Grade 5 children in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and the Philippines had small to modest percentages of children that achieved higher bands in progressing expected levels of reading proficiency at the end of primary education.
In the Philippines, only 10 percent of Grade 5 children belonged to Band 6 and above. This means only a few understood texts with “familiar structures and manage competing information when locating ideas and details.”
“They are able to find multiple pieces of related information in texts with familiar structures and make connections between details and ideas to draw inferences,” read an excerpt from the study.
In the Philippines, 27 percent of Grade 5 children belonged to Band 2, which means they can only identify relationships between words and their meanings, while 29 percent are under Band 3 which means they can “read a range of everyday texts fluently and begin to engage with their meaning.”
Limited, insufficient writing
SEA-PLM study’s writing assessment found that a huge portion of Grade 5 students in all 6 Asian nations were not demonstrating “writing proficiencies” expected of a Grade 5 student.
In the Philippines, Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar, only a limited number of Grade 5 children achieved higher levels of proficiency in writing.
More than 70 percent of Grade 5 children in the Philippines were under the three lowest bands or proficiency level for writing skills.
Also in the Philippines, 45 percent of Grade 5 children are in Band 1 and below which means these children can only write a few sentences with limited content.
‘Modest percentage’ for mathematics
In some countries, the study showed that a few or 1 percent of Grade 5 children have a proficiency expected in the first years of primary school.
In Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and the Philippines, they registered modest percentages of Grade 5 children who have achieved the mathematical literacy skills expected at the end of primary school.
This implies that in these countries the majority of Grade 5 children are still working towards mastering fundamental mathematical skills.
The study found that “children appeared to be more familiar with making calculations than with formulating, interpreting, communicating and explaining.”
Use innovation to improve
The study recommended schools to use innovations learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, which closed several schools and caused a shift to online learning, to “inspire and reform” agendas in education.
“However, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought opportunities to experiment with hybrid and flexible learning, and organizational pathways in education delivery and services. Several of these innovations can inspire and influence reform agendas,” read the study.
“Continuing a positive path towards learning improvement, countries and education stakeholders will thus require clear equity learning strategies, better implementation capacity, sufficient financial and human resources, and sturdy monitoring and improvement loop mechanisms,” it added.
A minimum of 150 schools were sampled from each country. One grade five class of each sample school was chosen randomly.
The study began in 2015, but the test development, translation, and trial testing ran until 2018.
The sampling and logistics as well as the data collection were conducted from 2018 to 2019. The analysis and report were finalized this year.
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