"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

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

How Do Math Teachers in the Philippines Fare?

Students in the Philippines have not been participating in international standardized exams for over a decade now. In 2003, fourth grade students in the Philippines ranked 23rd out of 25 countries and in 2008, during which only students from science high schools participated, the Philippines ranked last among ten countries participating. Teachers in primary and secondary schools in the Philippines also partook in the Teacher Education and Development Study in Mathematics (TEDS-M). The results of this study have been recently analyzed and in terms of quality assurance, teacher education in the Philippines does not fare well. In terms of both content and pedagogical knowledge, math teachers in the Philippines are near the bottom.

The following graphs summarize the findings.

Above graph based on
Quality Assurance in Teacher Education and Outcomes: A Study of 17 Countries
Lawrence Ingvarson, Glenn Rowley
Educational Researcher
Vol 46, Issue 4, pp. 177 - 193
First published date: May-22-2017

Quality assurance in teacher education includes:

  • Recruitment and Selection
  • Accreditation of Programs
  • Entry to Profession
The above measure is found to correlate strongly with scores obtained by the teachers on tests that measure their knowledge in mathematics. With regard to content, teachers in the Philippines obtain a low score compared to teachers in other countries.

Above graph based on
Quality Assurance in Teacher Education and Outcomes: A Study of 17 Countries
Lawrence Ingvarson, Glenn Rowley
Educational Researcher
Vol 46, Issue 4, pp. 177 - 193
First published date: May-22-2017
Not only do teachers in the Philippines perform poorly in math knowledge exams, they also score low in tests that measure how well they can teach math.

Above graph based on
Quality Assurance in Teacher Education and Outcomes: A Study of 17 Countries
Lawrence Ingvarson, Glenn Rowley
Educational Researcher
Vol 46, Issue 4, pp. 177 - 193
First published date: May-22-2017
With the above in mind, it is only timely to look back at an old article written by Flor Lacanilao on this blog:

Suggestion to Solve Philippines' Basic Education Problems

by Flor Lacanilao

Friday, June 1, 2012


Studies on education abroad have shown that the best way to improve basic education is to improve first higher education. And the best way to improve both is to put only the right people in charge. Right people refers to those who have made major contribution to one’s field, as shown by properly published research works (that is, following internationally accepted criteria). At present, none of those in charge in higher and basic education has such minimum requirement.

For basic education, the above prerequisite will insure that (a) program components are based on tested studies abroad, (b) curricular changes are based on properly published studies of local problems, and (c) thay have undergone trial runs or verification at selected schools before nationwide implementation.

For more discussion, see “K+12 most likely to fail” (Inquirer, 17 Feb 2012) and “A critique of some commentaries on the Philippine K-12 program”.

[Dr. Flor Lacanilao obtained his Ph.D. (specialization in comparative endocrinology) from the University of California at Berkeley. He served as chairman of the Zoology Department at UP Diliman, chancellor of UP Visayas, and chief of SEAFDEC in Iloilo. Email florlaca@gmail.com]

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