"Bear in mind that the wonderful things you learn in your schools are the work of many generations, produced by enthusiastic effort and infinite labor in every country of the world. All this is put into your hands as your inheritance in order that you may receive it, honor it, add to it, and one day faithfully hand it to your children. Thus do we mortals achieve immortality in the permanent things which we create in common." - Albert Einstein

Thursday, June 16, 2016

"The Dog Ate My Homework"

For the past school year 2015-2016, the Philippines' DepEd reported the following enrollment numbers in public schools for the following levels: Grade 6 (2.0 million), Grade 7 (1.7 million), Grade 8 (1.6 million), Grade 9 (1.4 million), and Grade 10 (1.3 million). The number of students enrolled in tenth grade reflects a 35 % decrease in enrollment from seventh grade. With the new grade 11 of DepEd's K to 12, 0.4 million are estimated not to enroll.  Four hundred thousand, by the way, is the difference between Grade 7 and 10 enrollments in 2015. Incoming secretary Briones must be having great difficulty in dealing with these numbers when she was quoted recently:
"With or without K-to-12, you will have just 50 percent, perhaps, of those who graduate from elementary to proceed [to high school]," Briones said. "DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro said that, every year, there are about 1.2 million graduates in elementary, and roughly 50% of them drop out. That is in the record, with or without K to 12."
Briones should realize that an additional 400,000 dropouts effectively doubles the drop in enrollment seen over 4 years of high school. Doubling the dropout rate is not insignificant. It is catastrophic.

The teachers’ network Educators Forum for Development (EfD) is therefore asking the government to admit the actual toll of DepEd's K to 12:

Above copied from the IBON Foundation

Assessing something always requires honesty. Self-reporting is often a problem as numbers are adjusted to fit what one wants to convey. As a result, we are drawn to conclusions that are not really based on evidence.

In education research, self-reporting is often a problem even without a clear intention of deception. Take, for instance, the case of homework. In higher education, unlike in elementary schools, homework is essential as this provides opportunities for practice. How one measures the benefits of doing homework, however, depends on how accurately the amount of homework is measured. In a recent study to be published in the Journal of Educational Psychology, if one simply relies on what students report as the amount of homework they did, results will make you think that homework in college is a waste of time. On the other hand, if one uses a "smart pen technology", a good correlation between homework and learning outcomes is seen. In fact, the negative relationship between procrastination and achievement is also observed.

There is a long history of research efforts aimed at understanding the relationship between homework activity and academic achievement. While some self-report inventories involving homework activity have been useful for predicting academic performance, self-reported measures may be limited or even problematic. Here, we employ a novel method for accurately measuring students’ homework activity using smartpen technology. Three cohorts of engineering students in an undergraduate statics course used smartpens to complete their homework problems, thus producing records of their work in the form of timestamped digitized pen strokes. Consistent with the time-on-task hypothesis, there was a strong and consistent positive correlation between course grade and time doing homework as measured by smartpen technology (r = .44), but not between course grade and self-reported time doing homework (r = −.16). Consistent with an updated version of the time-on-task hypothesis, there was a strong correlation between measures of the quality of time spent on homework problems (such as the proportion of ink produced for homework within 24 hr of the deadline) and course grade (r = −.32), and between writing activity (such as the total number of pen strokes on homework) and course grade (r = .49). Overall, smartpen technology allowed a fine-grained test of the idea that productive use of homework time is related to course grade.

Unfortunately, in the case of the Philippines, a "smart pen" might not be enough to squeeze the truth regarding the true state of Philippine basic education. The Philippines' DepEd seems determined only to paint a rosier picture instead of understanding the problems and challenges schools in the Philippines face.

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