In the recently released results of the 2022 Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), the Philippines finds itself in the bottom 10 out of 81 participating countries for the second consecutive assessment. The country has shown minimal improvement in the areas assessed, which include reading comprehension, mathematics, and science.
Persistent Challenges in Reading Comprehension:
The Philippines, after ranking as the lowest participant in reading comprehension among 79 countries in 2018, has managed to move up slightly to the 76th position in the latest assessment. However, a closer look at the indicators reveals that the performance of top-performing students (TPS) has not seen a significant increase, while low-performing students (LPS) witnessed a concerning 4.3 percent decline in reading comprehension proficiency levels.
Mixed Results in Science and Mathematics:
In the realm of science, the Philippines slid to the third-lowest position, despite a marginal improvement in TPS proficiency by 0.1 percent since 2018. Conversely, LPS experienced a 0.7 percent drop in proficiency levels. In mathematics, the country ranked sixth lowest, showing no percentage increase among TPS. However, there was a notable improvement of 3.3 percentage points for LPS.
Overall, the Philippines recorded a 2.2 percentage point increase in mathematics proficiency, a 6.9 percent rise in reading comprehension, and a 0.8-percent dip in science proficiency from 2018 to 2022.
The 2022 PISA results mark the first large-scale study assessing the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on students worldwide. According to Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) secretary-general Mathias Cormann, while the pandemic may have contributed partially to the decline in performance, scores in reading, science, and math were already decreasing before 2018. Developed by the OECD, the PISA measures 15-year-olds’ ability to use their reading, mathematics, and science knowledge and skills to meet real-life challenges.
In response to the PISA results, the Department of Education is set to hold a national forum to address the issues surrounding the country's performance. Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte has initiated sweeping reforms, introducing "Catch-up Fridays" in public schools. Catch-up Fridays, which is set to start next year, entails students dedicating Fridays to mastering reading comprehension and critical thinking, thereby also reducing traditional learning delivery by one day.