A blog that tackles issues on basic education (in the Philippines and the United States) including early childhood education, the teaching profession, math and science education, medium of instruction, poverty, and the role of research and higher education.
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Choice Comes with Responsibility
Almost half of the children in Fairfax county chose 2 days per week of face-to-face classes. With this choice, schools then have the responsibility to keep everyone (students, teachers and staff) safe while on campus. Although this translates only to about 25 percent occupancy, the risks are thought to be unacceptable. Now that the choice of going one hundred percent virtual has been made, this decision also comes with responsibility. That responsibility, of course, is primarily the education of our children in a virtual environment. And this is challenging. As research has shown, distance learning is a lot more inefficient than face-to-face learning. In a study involving an introductory physiology class, students perform poorly in exams that require comprehension when the content is delivered online. The scores are markedly lower for students in distance learning.
In the above, two types of exams are used. MQ corresponds to questions that only require memory while CQ requires comprehension of the material. LL are for students who have received face-to-face instruction while PRL+ are for students who received distance instruction. The study ensures technological access is available, but even with ample resources, the instruction still fails in the distance mode. These are college students which we can assume are far more responsible than elementary school children and yet, distance learning still takes a huge toll on their learning.
The choice made by Fairfax County Public Schools (FCPS) comes with challenges and its educators need to work harder to ensure that this coming school year will not be a disaster. It is truly unfortunate that we are facing circumstances that make learning a lot more difficult but we must make ourselves aware of these additional challenges. We do not want to take any risks with regard to health, but we now must acknowledge that we have taken risks on other things. And it is not just the fact that distance learning is less effective. There are other risks that we now have taken as suggested by a post from a supervisor in Fairfax county.
With the new K to 12 curriculum in the Philippines, various tracks are now offered in the last two years of basic education. The various options available obviously make it possible for students to find themselves later unprepared for the courses they decide to take in college. A student, for instance, who finishes the accounting business management (ABM) strand in the senior high school academic track, is now required to take additional courses if the student chooses to enroll in a Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) major in college. These additional courses which are now called "bridging programs" are either taken during the first year of college or over several weeks in the summer before college starts.
There are bridging programs in the United States, but these are different from the ones that are now appearing in colleges in the Philippines. In Coldwater High School in Michigan, for example, the "bridging program" is an option for students…
Science education is challenging. To some, science seems like a mere collection of facts waiting to be memorized. Not surprisingly, skills scientists exhibit are often emphasized in teaching science in primary and secondary schools. Since science does deal with a large amount of information about the world we live in, generalizations are greatly sought. Explanations that apply to a multitude of cases are theories worthwhile to both teach and learn. In high school, it is the deductive reasoning that is most often used to teach science. General rules are first taught and are applied to specific cases until a conclusion is reached. This is often called "top-down" logic. Drawing a hypothesis, performing experiments and making observations, and explaining the results is a common description of the scientific method. But scientists do not always work in this direction. There is likewise inductive reasoning or "bottom-up" logic. The difference between deductive and induct…
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…