Private school students suffer learning losses due to pandemic: study

Arra Perez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Mar 13 2023 03:00 PM

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MANILA — Elementary and high school students in Philippine private schools have experienced considerable learning losses during the COVID-19 pandemic, a study showed. 

Data from the Philippine Assessment for Learning Loss Solutions (PALLS) revealed that private school students from Grades 1 to 12 garnered average scores of 54.1 percent and 47.5 percent in science and mathematics, respectively, both of which were below the 60 percent passing percentage set by the Department of Education (DepEd).
For English, students got a passing score of 61.5 percent.
According to a press release, PALLS was "the first assessment in learning loss in the Southeast Asia," and was "an indicative study showing the extent of the impact of learning loss to private school students".
It was conducted by Cebu-based University of San Carlos (USC) and Metro Manila-based Thames International School during the last quarter of 2022.
The assessment was taken by 3,600 Grades 1 to 12 students in 18 private schools nationwide, covering Most Essential Learning Competencies (MELCs) from third to fourth quarter. 

Students answered a total of 75 multiple-choice items for the 3 core subjects of their previous grade level.
The study also also found that "the older the student, the lower the result" and that learning loss "is much higher at the upper grade levels," according to USC’s Dr. Richard Jugar, who presented the results of the exam.
For Joel Santos, president of Thames International School, the assessment "is the first step towards solving the problem of learning loss".
"We hope the indicative data from PALLS provide directions not only to our school leaders but also to policy makers so that interventions can be done to help our Filipino students," he said.
Meanwhile, USC President Fr. Narciso Cellan Jr. said learning loss "will translate into huge productivity loss and costly economic consequences" if not addressed "collectively, systematically, and urgently".
"It is therefore hoped that through this initiative, USC and Thames International will find like-minded individuals and groups who will partner with us in crafting and putting in place intervention programs that will put a stop to learning loss and turn it to learning boost," he added.
The proponents recommended periodic and granular assessment, involving support for teachers "to identify the specifics of learning loss; personalized teaching and accelerated learning for every learner ASAP", as well as targeted skills learning recovery.
Other recommendations include remediation programs with technology, TV, and online support, teacher upskilling, and tutor recruitment and training.