PH students still among lowest scorers in reading, math, science – Pisa | Inquirer News

PH students still among lowest scorers in reading, math, science – Pisa

/ 05:55 AM December 06, 2023

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MANILA, Philippines — As the Department of Education (DepEd) had anticipated, there was no significant improvement in the average scores of Filipino students in reading, mathematics, and science, which remained low compared to students from other countries that participated in the latest Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa).

Based on the 2022 Pisa study published Tuesday covering 690,000 students from 81 countries, the Philippines’ performance in the three subjects “were about the same” as in 2018, when it first took part in the assessment.


In the 2018 Pisa, the country scored the lowest in reading and second lowest in math and science among 79 participating nations.


For the 2022 assessment, the Philippines ranked sixth to the last in reading and mathematics while in science, it ranked third to the last among 81 countries.

The 7,193 Filipino students from 188 schools scored an average of 355 points in mathematics, still way below the OECD average of 472. Their average scores of 347 in reading and 356 in science were also lower than the global averages of 476 and 485, respectively.

Compared to the country’s 2018 average scores of mathematics (353), reading (340), and science (357), the latest results did not show any significant improvement, the report noted.

‘Minimum level’

Pisa is a global study conducted by the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which evaluates the academic performance of 15-year-old students in the three subjects every three years.

It is also the first to offer a glimpse into the impact of the pandemic and school closures on education systems worldwide.


From 2018 to 2022, the study noted that the gap between the highest-scoring Filipino students and the weakest or lowest-scoring learners narrowed in mathematics, although it did not significantly change in reading and science.

“In mathematics, low achievers became stronger, while performance did not change significantly amongst high achievers,” it said.

Only a small proportion of Filipino students, compared to the average across OECD countries, were recognized as top performers in at least one subject.

“At the same time, a smaller proportion of students than on average across OECD countries achieved a minimum level of proficiency (Level 2 or higher) in all three subjects,” the report added.

In mathematics, the Philippines ranked sixth to the last and only fared better than Guatemala, El Salvador, Dominican Republic, Paraguay and Cambodia.

According to the report, 16 percent of Filipino students reached at least Level 2 proficiency in the subject, which was significantly less than the average across OECD countries.

It noted, however, that more than 85 percent of students in Singapore, Macao (China), Japan, Hong Kong, Chinese Taipei and Estonia performed at this level or above.

A Level 2 proficiency means that at the very least, students could interpret and recognize how to mathematically represent a situation without direct instructions like comparing the total distance across two alternative routes, or converting prices into a different currency.

Ranking from bottom

“Almost no students in the Philippines were top performers in mathematics, meaning that they attained Level 5 or 6 in the Pisa mathematics test (OECD average: 9 percent),” the report said.

On the other hand, six Asian countries and economies had the largest shares of top math performers: Singapore, 41 percent; Chinese Taipei, 32 percent; Macao (China), 29 percent; Hong Kong (China), 27 percent; Japan, 23 percent; and Korea, 23 percent.

Students who reach this proficiency are capable of modeling complex situations mathematically and can select, compare and evaluate appropriate problem-solving strategies for dealing with them, the report said.

In reading, the Philippines also ranked sixth to the last with an average score of 347, followed by Kosovo (342), Jordan (342), Morocco (339), Uzbekistan (336) and Cambodia (329).

Only 24 percent of Filipino students attained Level 2 or higher in reading, which was just a third of the OECD average of 74 percent.

“At a minimum, these students can identify the main idea in a text of moderate length, find information based on explicit, though sometimes complex criteria, and can reflect on the purpose and form of texts when explicitly directed to do so,” the report said.

It added that the share of 15-year-old learners who reached the minimum level of reading proficiency varied globally from 89 percent in Singapore to 8 percent in Cambodia.

In science, the Philippines ranked third to last with an average score of 356 points, followed by Uzbekistan with 355 and Cambodia, 347.

Almost one-fourth or 23 percent of Filipino students who took the test attained Level 2 or higher in science, which is, again, significantly lower than the OECD average of 76 percent.

“At a minimum, these students can recognize the correct explanation for familiar scientific phenomena and can use such knowledge to identify, in simple cases, whether a conclusion is valid based on the data provided,” the report said.

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The dismal performance of the Philippines in the 2018 Pisa prompted DepEd to address issues and challenges in attaining quality basic education in the country.

The agency, under then Education Secretary Leonor Briones, decided to lead “aggressive reforms” such as the review and updating of the K-12 curriculum, improvement of learning facilities, and upskilling and reskilling of teachers and school heads through professional development programs.

TAGS: Filipino students, Program for Internationall Student Assessment

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