The National Achievement Test in the Philippines

There is information to be gained from data. Tests in schools can be informative. Scores of students provide a quick glimpse of the current state of education. Thus, it is useful to have these numbers. These numbers may not tell everything in detail with high accuracy. Nevertheless, test results allow for a useful perspective. The National Achievement Test administered by the Department of Education (DepEd) in the Philippines, a set of standardized tests addressing the major subjects taught in school, is an example. These tests are given to Grade 3 where students are assessed in both English and Filipino (These two subjects comprise two thirds of the exam) and Math and Science (These two account for the remaining one third). A different set of tests is given to Grade 6 pupils where each of the following 5 subjects is assigned 40 items: (Science, Math, English, Filipino and Social Studies). Another set is administered to fourth year high school students (This is currently the last year of basic education in the Philippines since K+12 has not been implemented yet for the additional two years in high school). The scores in these exams are reported as percentage of items correctly answered. A mean percentage score (MPS) of 75 percent is currently set as the goal of the DepEd. The following are data from a presentation made by the National Education Testing and Research Center, entitled "NAT Overview and 2012 Test Results".

The numbers for the overall MPS for the school year 2011-2012 are as follows:

  • Grade 3: 57.0%
  • Grade 6: 66.8%
  • High School: 48.9%

The goal of 75% seems elusive at this point. The presentation made by the National Education Testing and Research Center also provides some analysis and I would like to highlight the following. In my opinion, these may be significant:

For Grade 3: National Average : 57.0%

  • Schools that are outside the town proper have an MPS of 61.4%
  • Schools were Pupil-Textbook Ratio in English Grammar is 1:1 have an MPS of 62.1%
  • Schools that have individual reading have an MPS of 59.7%
  • Schools where quizzes are regularly given have an MPS of 60.3%

For Grade 6: National Average: 66.8%

  • Schools that do not have computer laboratories have an MPS of 79.3%
  • Schools that have adequate textbooks in Math have an MPS of 73.0%
  • Schools where teachers discuss the lesson the whole period (chalk-talk method), then ask questions if there is remaining time have an MPS of 67.7%
  • Schools where quizzes are regularly given have an MPS of 68.4%

For High School: National Average: 48.9%

  • Schools where pupils are not engaged in labor have an MPS of 51.9%
  • Schools where teachers present first the concept/theory followed by a variety of examples and/or situational roles and then application concept have an MPS of 52.3% in Science (to be compared with the national average of 40.5%). A similar correlation is found in Math and English.

In addition, the following factors have also been found to correlate positively with MPS:

  • Single shift schools
  • TEEP (This was discussed in a previous article, where focus is given on providing resources (classrooms, textbooks, teacher training) in the early years of education) This correlation is observed even with the high school scores, clearly demonstrating the long term effects of the program.
The above is not surprising as these items have been pointed out in numerous posts in this blog. These are factors that influence the quality of education in schools. Even the fact that giving quizzes helps has been mentioned in this blog. 
The effectiveness of direct instruction has also been highlighted in the article "Best Evidence Encyclopedia": Proven Programs in Basic Education. Even the superiority of textbooks over online material has been discussed in "Reading: On-Screen Versus In-Print". 

Although a decade has passed and 75% is still not within reach, it needs to be pointed out that there are pockets of excellence in Philippine basic education. These are schools that seem to be doing great. An example comes from the schools in Bangui, Ilocos Norte:
  • Bangui Central Elementary School, MPS: 93.0%
  • Bangui National High School, MPS: 73.1%
75 percent is indeed within reach. It is not impossible.


  1. Those who read this post probably saw the numbers from a school in Bangui, Ilocos Norte: Bangui Central Elementary School, MPS: 93.0%. Bangui National High School, MPS: 73.1%

    I then received the following comment from the webmaster of

    My dear Dr. de Dios: That sure was flattering but I don't think we, Bangui folks, have any secret at all as far as our performance in the National Achievement Tests is concerned. And neither do the students of the grade/high schools in adjacent Dumalneg municipality (it used to be a part of Bangui) who have performed rather admirably in the national tests. My humble theory -- and mind you, this is not supported by research -- is that these normal folks who are economically poorer relative to folks from other places have less distraction to affect their study habits. We live in a place distant from the urban centers and we're bothered less by the distraction from easily available entertainment (movies and other media), drugs, and the hectic stress from urban life (sort of like the "future shock" that made Alvin Toffler relevant some 43 years ago). That, Professor, is by no means our secret; rather, it is a consequence of the inferior hand of cards dealt to us by fate and circumstance. I'm not, however, proselytizing on the virtues of poverty or Mother Teresa. There's a lot to like about the song, "I'd Rather Be Rich", in the movie by the same title:

    "I'd rather be rich, just short of being greedy;

    I'm eager to switch, to hell with being needy.

    I'd rather be rich, the truth of cash is tragic,

    The system's a bitch, but money works like magic..."

    And if I was filthy rich, I probably would just as soon forget about the National Achievement Tests and start singing the glory of "Ignorance is bliss..."

  2. I agree with what you have said, teacher. I guess these technology perks are the real reason for the poor academic achievement of many students in our area. I couldn't help but compare our generation to them. I just wonder if my students are tired of listening to me every time I told them "noon, ganito kami..."

    I also appreciated TV programs before (during Martial Law) when our parents were less worried about the things we saw on TV. Where we spent more of our time reading well-written textbooks or playing outdoor games actively. I just wish we could go back to basics when we have to learn the hard way?

  3. thank you..

  4. yes..true to the fact that in our society there is misused and abused in the utilization of modern technology which would likely pulls students' achievements down, good for those who accountably utilize these gadgets, they were on top.

  5. Ligaya Battung-FuegoJanuary 3, 2014 at 6:56 AM

    But we have to commend our educational system for the countless effort bein' exerted to improve pupils' performance.The issue is to vague to solve instantly..i just hope that teachers will go beyond their assigned tasks..they are the front liners and play vital role in achieving quality education..dedication, commitment and passion are the key words..

  6. The NAT is a poor measure of how schools in the Philippines are performing. Basically because the data derived therefrom is inaccurate for the following reasons:

    1. The NAT is used to assess not only the performance of the students, but also Principal and the teachers.
    Teachers and administrators try to outdo other schools by any means. This includes cheating, rampant cheating to be more accurate, especially in public schools. This may not be happening in schools in all provinces but it is definitely happening in our province. I got word that the leak for the upcoming NAT is already used by some public schools for their review.

    This has been happening for years but DepEd has turned a deaf ear for practical reasons such as #2.

    2. Government teachers are not paid extra in relation to their NAT review.

    They spend more teaching hours in addition to their normal load without receiving additional compensation. Newly hired teachers are prone to being abused in comparison to those who have been with the service for more than a year. Non-rookies already have the guts to say no to their supervisors. Consequently, supervisors give the load to the newbies. (newbies are not necessarily new teachers but rather new hires)

    3. The monetary "prize" for outperforming other schools serves as the compensation for the services mentioned in number 2.

    There is no other way to be compensated rather than to bag the prize of topping the results.

    Again, I have no knowledge if this is happening in other provinces. I am sure that other schools are fighting a fair fight.

    Come the NAT results, expect to hear the "never-heards" topping the list. The irony here is that they never win in other competitions such as those sponsored by private institutions such as MTAP, MTG, etc. If they even do, they win in written exams only, Oral tests are a different scenario; they would rather not appear during the oral tests. And if they do, they don't win most of the time. Ironic, isn't it?

    The DepEd teachers are victims here as well for not being compensated. The DepEd system is to be blamed. Compensate the teachers and remove the NAT as a basis of their performance. Doing so will eventually rid them of the temptation of having to resort to cheating just to be paid and to have an outstanding grade in the evaluation.

    The NAT and other competitions spearheaded by some government schools is a training ground for cheating. Many may deny it, but it's happening.

    I hope DepEd think tanks will effect changes. Otherwise, we will have hundreds if not thousands of kids trained in school, by their beloved teachers, to cheat. And there may be repercussions in the future.

    In conclusion, NAT results are inaccurate and should never be used to gauge how schools are performing ... at least in our province.

  7. I guess we have to look into the conditions of our students and event the teachers

  8. 99 percent did cheats and you can't blame them for that coz Philippine is a educated country but poor in discipline, has a lot of Natural resources but so many corrupts and abusers.. becoz of incenti\/es, schools tend to do any means necessary to obtain the highest reward [example: 30kphp+ for those who got good performance but in reality, it's not that good..they cheated]... the fact is , the go\/'t couldn't gi\/e fix amount of wages coz they cant get what they want to get. .when fix wages such as increase of salary they cant manipulate it.. say for example, in a simple way of calculation. 100php increase salary x 10 teachers [sample]= 1000php budget e\/ery month which can be question by the teachers if e\/en a peso lost \/ersus 100php reward for those some teachers who got high performance.x 3 teachers [sample]= 3000php and the rest of the teachers got below 1000 in which it wouldnt be 10000php as alloted by the go\/'t, more likely 7kphp gi\/en incenti\/es to 10 teachers.. so where will be the rest 3kphp? do they bring it back to go\/'t? i bet not.. coz when it's already budgeted then you hafta consume it and in that way, no teachers will question them.... so now you see, that they don't want to increase the salary of the Teachers instead, they do in way they can manipulate the budget so that they can corrupt it as much as they want... NAT isnt bad at all, it's the system that abusers corrupted the good and systematic education.

  9. Can I have the result of NAT result S.Y. 2013-2014, 2014-2015 and 2015-2016 of Zamboanga Sibugay Division specifically of Naga District.

  10. Hello po, can i ask what particular method of scoring was used in this study, I too is doing almost the same study and i am struggling as to what method of scoring to use. Hope to receive a positive response and it would be a big help to me if ever, thank you.


Post a Comment