MANILA – Filipinos fared worst among 58 countries in an assessment for mathematics and science for Grade 4 students, according to a study by a Netherlands-based research institution released Tuesday.
The Philippines scored 297 in math and 249 in science, according to the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) 2019 by the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA).
Both scores are lower than how the country fared in 2003, which are 358 in math and 332 in science, based on the study.
Meanwhile, neighboring country Singapore topped both assessments, getting a score of 625 in math and 595 in science.
The TIMSS makes use of a 4-level scale to interpret students’ scores: Advanced International Benchmark (625), High International Benchmark (550), Intermediate International Benchmark (475), and Low International Benchmark (400).
In math, only 1 percent of Filipino students reached the high benchmark, meaning, “Students apply conceptual understanding to solve problems.”
“They can apply conceptual understanding of whole numbers to solve two-step word problems. They show understanding of the number line, multiples, factors, and rounding numbers, and operations with fractions and decimals,” the study said.
“Students can solve simple measurement problems. They demonstrate understanding of geometric properties of shapes and angles. Students can interpret and use data in tables and a variety of graphs to solve problems,” it added.
Six percent of Filipino students were in the intermediate benchmark, which means they can “apply basic mathematical knowledge in simple situations.”
Nineteen percent of Filipino students, meanwhile, were on the low benchmarks, meaning they “have some basic mathematical knowledge.”
“They can add, subtract, multiply, and divide one- and two-digit whole numbers. They can solve simple word problems. They have some knowledge of simple fractions and common geometric shapes. Students can read and complete simple bar graphs and tables,” the study said.
In science, 13 percent of Filipino students were in the low benchmark, indicating, “Students show limited understanding of scientific concepts and limited knowledge of foundational science facts.”
Only 1 percent of Filipino students are in the high benchmark while 5 percent are in the intermediate.
Inaugurated in 1995, the TIMSS is held every 4 years to measure student achievements in mathematics and science.
The 2019 edition was conducted at the fourth and eighth grades in 64 countries, but the Philippines only participated in the assessment for fourth-grade students.
Last month, the Department of Education (DepEd) said it formed a technical working group to prepare Filipino students who would participate in international learning assessments.
In 2018, Filipino students also ranked last among 79 countries in reading comprehension, and second lowest in both mathematical and scientific literacy in the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA).
A professor at the Philippine Normal University earlier said the country should continue participating in international assessments to assess the “effectiveness” of the basic education curriculum.
In 2019, the DepEd launched the “Sulong Edukalidad” campaign, pivoting its policy from raising enrollment numbers to improving the quality of education in the country.
Read the full TIMSS report here.