As a study on early years learning in the Philippines draws to a close, its preliminary findings have been commended. Rachel Parker explains.
Results of the final round of the Philippines Early Childhood Care and Development (ECCD) Longitudinal Study are not presented until later this year, but already the study has been commended for its findings on student achievement and growth from Kindergarten to Grade 2.
Funded by UNICEF and the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT), the study is being undertaken by the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) and the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization’s Center for Innovation and Technology (SEAMEO INNOTECH), with support from the Assessment, Curriculum and Technology Research Centre (ACTRC). Its findings are reported to the Republic of the Philippines Department of Education (DepED).
The ECCD Longitudinal Study measures the literacy, mathematics and social and emotional development of a cohort of children over four years, with the final round of testing – at the end of Grade 2 – reported in December 2018.
Results from round three – students at the end of Grade 1 – were reported to DepED in February. Undersecretary of Curriculum and Instruction Dr Lorna D. Dino commended the study and highlighted issues it raised regarding reading comprehension as ‘critical to address’.
Key findings from round three included:
- Seventy-five per cent of students sampled performed at below curriculum expectations for literacy.
- More than 60 per cent of students sampled performed at or above curriculum expectations for mathematics.
- Students with high social and emotional skills continue to outperform students with low social and emotional skills in literacy and mathematics.
- Students in conflict-affected school communities were the lowest performers in all categories and the differences were large.
- Access to, and frequency of attendance at, preschool made a positive difference to student achievement across each domain.
The study was commissioned in response to The Early Years Act of 2013, which extended schooling in the Philippines from 10 years to a 13-year program from Kindergarten to Year 12. The study allows policy makers to compare the skills development of children who have participated in preschool education with those who have not, and monitor their respective performance and growth over time. A selection of case studies is being developed through interviews with school leaders, teachers and parents to contextualise the results.
Early findings showing that students commencing their first year of school who had attended a preschool program performed better in literacy, mathematics and social and emotional skills than those who did not were reported in [rd] in September 2016. ■
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