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Reading comprehension

December 10, 2019 - Tuesday 4:12 AM by Allan Nawal

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That the Philippines scored poorly in reading comprehension in the assessment conducted by the Paris-based Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) did not surprise me at all.

The only thing that surprised me is that the government, particularly the Department of Education (DepEd), seems not aware of it as it had to take it a participation in the PISA assessment to find all about it when the indications are all over the place.

Take for example comments on news articles posted on online news outfits. While the story would speak of something else, most of the comments would always be out of topic.

However, the most obvious evidence could be found on Facebook.

A seller of a particular item would already put all the details in the listing, including the price, but you would still read comments such as “HM po” for how much; “details nito” from someone who obviously did not read the details; or simply “how to contact” or “location po” even when the full address and contact number of the seller had already been posted.

While a seller had already posted a “no haggling” policy, several commenters would still try to bring down the price by asking “may discount po ba?” or “tapat na po?” Worse, several of them would even say “pwede kaya tawad?”

Listings that also contains an FSO note or “for sale only note” would still generate such reaction as “trade po” or even “swap, ok?”

These are only examples taken from Facebook marketplace but this would clearly show us that people would read without understanding what they were reading.

The lack of comprehension must also be the main reason a large number of Filipinos would fail examinations – notwithstanding if they are professionals or not.

In the recently concluded Licensure Examinations for Teachers, barely 31.34 percent of the 92,440 examinees who took the license for elementary teacher passed, or a dismal 28,973.

In March, the passing rate was more saddening. The Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) and the Board for Professional Teachers (BPT) said that for the elementary teaching license, only 19,659 passed out of 72,054 examinees or just 27.28 percent while 22,271 out of the 85,823 examinees (25.95 percent) passed the LET for secondary.

The most saddening part was that 14,581 of those who took the elementary level license and 6,650 for the secondary level were repeaters.

It was easy for others to say that the set of questions for the LET was difficult in an attempt to find a way out.

But is it?

For four years, the examinees studied all about teaching in elementary. Then before the exams, some schools even host “in-house” reviews to make sure a high passing average.

So why the dismal passing rates? I bet it is because of a lack of reading comprehension.

Even the adoption of the K to 12 system had obviously not helped.

In the National Achievement Test for 2016-2016, the average rate for Grade 6 learners were just 40 percent and 44.1 percent for Grade 10 students.

The obvious solution is to teach learners to read and digest what they have read.

In the old days, there were only a few subjects under the old curriculum. Reading and comprehension were among them.

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