Is your school classified as low performing school or as high performing school? Why? Because your grade 6 pupils got the lowest or the highest rate in NAT result? 2012-2013 is another year for the teachers to go nuts on NAT to be able to get 75% passing rate in NAT or above average percentage. They are cramming for reviews and doing different strategies in discussing a lesson for the pupils to master their everyday’s lesson.

The Department of Education aims to lead young Filipinos in the discovery of their own potential through the academe provided for every Filipino enabling them to create their own destiny to the global community. To achieve this vision, DepEd reaches out responsive efforts for the students’ educational and worthwhile needs. One way is to determine the students’ capacity of learning. There comes, National Achievement Test.

The National Achievement Test (NAT) is administered by the Department of Education though the National Educational Testing and Research Center (NETRC) which heads on research and assessment of the education provided for our youth, specifically in the Basic Education. The examination is designed to determine the students’ academic strengths and weaknesses though the five key-major subjects: Mathematics, Science, English, Filipino, HeKaSi (Heograpiya, Kasaysayan at Sibika) in elementaryandAraling Panlipunan in high school.

Ratings obtained from NAT for Grade VI and Fourth Year serves also as a tool to measure the school’s competency and effectiveness as well as the students’ aptitude and mastery towards the basic learning areas. The nationwide exam is taken every near-end of the school year basically every first week March.

But among the subject areas, Filipino and English are the strongest areas while Science and Math are the weakest.

Despite the obvious importance of scientific and Numerical literacy, the National Achievement Test (NAT) and Regional Achievement test results in Science and Math showed poor student performance and apparently underprivileged teacher’s performance as well. The mean proficiency level is always below 75% and thereby interpreted as low mastery of science and math competencies. In the Grade six (6) National Achievement Test of 2010, the average mastery level in science was only 60 %. According to the University of the Philippines Institute of Science and Mathematics Education (UPNISMED) Director Merle Tan (2008), “Filipino students have low level of scientific and mathematics literacy and a large number cannot apply concepts to real life.” Moreover, she reported that there seems to be a serious gap between science education and the knowledge needed for day to day living.

Because of the continuous poor achievement result of the country, Senate Minority Leader Alan Peter S. Cayetano has urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to enhance the quality of science and math teaching in the country.

Cayetano stressed the DepEd needs to improve the quality of education rather than on the quantity or the number of years a student should spend time in school as a result of the K to 12 program.

“With the amount of time we spent learning science, shouldn’t we be performing better compared to our neighbors?” he asked.

A study by the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization (SEAMEO), he said, puts the Philippine time allotment to science at 1,100 minutes per week compared to Brunei’s 810 minutes, Singapore’s 540 minutes, and Malaysia’s 360 minutes.

The country, in the Global Competitiveness report that pegged the quality of science and education, ranked 112th out of 139 countries in 2010-2011 and 115th out of 142 countries in 2011-2012.

The declining achievement results prompted Education Secretary Armin Luistro to order school officials to exert greater effort in raising NAT scores among elementary and high school students.

“To address the need to raise the learning outcomes among the schools which were classified under the poor achievement and lower average rates, all the divisions and the district supervisors are directed to provide intensive supervision to these schools,” said Luistro in an order issued this week.

Luistro advised DepEd’s regional directors and the schools division/city superintendents together with their personnel and staff to plan together on how this intensive supervision could work successfully.

By: MRS. JOY MARIE A. SALVADOR | Teacher I | Duale Elementary School, Limay, Bataan

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