Senior High School Students’ Readiness to Learn College Chemistry

The High School Chemistry (HSC) Group of UP NISMED successfully completed the implementation of a research project titled Assessing Senior High School Students’ Readiness to Learn College Chemistry on June 2019. This one-year research project was funded by the UP Diliman Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Development (OVCRD) through its Outright Research Grant Scheme.

The research was conducted in response to the implementation of the senior high school (SHS) program across the country. In school year 2016-2017, the Department of Education started to implement the SHS program for Grade 11. The readiness of the SHS students for tertiary education, particularly those who chose to be in the Academic Track is not yet known. With this, there is a need to assess SHS students’ knowledge and skills necessary for tertiary education. It is with this reason why this research was conceptualized and implemented by the HSC group. The primary objective of this research was to determine the readiness of SHS students under the Academic Track Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) strand to engage with concepts and skills taught in the general chemistry course in college. Specifically, it assessed Grade 11 students’ knowledge and skills on prerequisites, precursors, and selected chemistry concepts needed to engage with general college chemistry courses.

In this research, an exemplar 60-item readiness test in chemistry was developed by the researchers to determine whether the entry conceptual knowledge and skills of Grade 11 STEM students are sufficient to engage in general college chemistry curriculum and to assess their knowledge of prerequisite concepts on essential and selected topics in chemistry. This psychometrically sound test was developed using the principles of Rasch one parameter simple logistic model. The items in the test were found to fit the model, showing that they measure the same construct and that the spread of the items was appropriate for the sample students. The readiness test in chemistry was administered to 458 Grade 11 STEM students in seven public secondary schools in Quezon City and Marikina City and in the UP Integrated School. The test data collected were analysed using the Rasch modelling via ConQuest generalized item response modeling software and student ability estimates were produced.

Based on the results of the Rasch analysis of the readiness test data, a learning progression in chemistry was developed. Based on this progression, the percentage of students who are ready or not ready to learn general chemistry in

The research team discussed the results of the Rasch modelling of the readiness test
in chemistry. From the right: Dr. Dennis Danipog (Project team leader),
Dr. Nona Marlene Ferido, Prof. Rachel Patricia Ramirez, and Mr. Joel Ballesteros.

college was determined. In the development of learning progression, the 60-item readiness test conceptually and empirically separates into four levels (A through D) based on the results of the Rasch analysis. Each level contains descriptions of the concepts and skills in chemistry. The order of level descriptions is from easiest (Level A) to most difficult (Level D). The students assigned to each level via the analysis were considered “ready to learn” the concepts and skills associated with that level. Only 12% of sample students were ready to learn the conceptual knowledge and skills required by the general chemistry curriculum in college, which is described at level D. This indicates that a large number of SHS students involved in this study (88%) is struggling with the necessary concepts and skills in learning general college chemistry. With this, the researchers of this project argued that most SHS STEM students have no sufficient prior knowledge and skills for studying general college chemistry. To address this alarming result, the HSC group already planned to develop a college readiness instructional material in chemistry for SHS students to help them become ready for learning general chemistry course in college.

Dr. Dennis Danipog led the implementation of this research project in collaboration with Dr Nona Marlene Ferido (retired NISMED staff), Prof. Rachel Patricia Ramirez (UPIS faculty), and Mr. Joel Ballesteros (former NISMED staff).

Enriching Preservice Science and Mathematics Teachers’ Practice Teaching Experience through Lesson Study

Lesson study has started to permeate the Philippines at the basic education level. However, most Philippine teacher education institutions (TEIs) have not yet utilized lesson study in preservice teacher education. To examine how TEIs may benefit from lesson study, Dr. Monalisa T. Sasing conducted a study on the use of lesson study in practice teaching. Specifically, the study aimed to determine how lesson study could enrich the practice teaching experience of preservice science and mathematics teachers. It also aimed to  determine how lesson study could affect the emerging pedagogical content knowledge of preservice science and mathematics teachers.

The study employed mixed-methods research design and made use of lesson study with modified microteaching as the intervention prior to preservice science and mathematics teachers’ deployment in the field for their practice teaching. The study was conducted in Iligan City with the College of Education of Mindanao State University – Iligan Institute of Technology (MSU-IIT) as the implementing TEI and the Iligan City National High School (ICNHS) as the cooperating secondary school. Lesson study workshops were conducted to introduce preservice science and mathematics teachers to the intervention where lesson study was used together with the modified microteaching technique. Their cooperating teachers from the schools where they were deployed and the science and mathematics education faculty members of the College of Education of MSU-IIT were also participants of the lesson study workshops. The lesson study workshop for preservice mathematics teachers, their cooperating teachers, and the mathematics education faculty members of MSU-IIT were conducted separately from the lesson study workshop for the science group.

Results of the study showed that preservice mathematics teachers exposed to lesson study prior to their practice teaching significantly improved in terms of their perceived pedagogical content knowledge. However, the science group did not show the same results. Preservice science teachers’ perceived pedagogical

content knowledge did not significantly improve after the intervention. Preservice science and mathematics teachers also expressed that lesson study helped them enhance their ability to collaboratively develop lesson plans and made them more confident and prepared to teach the lesson during their practice teaching.  Based on the verbatim feedback, lesson study enabled preservice science and mathematics teachers to iron out issues and problems that may arise during lesson implementation. Thus, helping them better prepare for the lesson implementation in actual classrooms. Furthermore, examination of the different versions of the research lessons showed that the most common improvement in the research lessons of preservice science and mathematics teachers was related to assessment of student learning. In this research work, the use of lesson study,  served as a support mechanism for preservice science and mathematics teachers during practice teaching. A book chapter (in press) has been written to disseminate the study and its results.

This research project which ran from 1 August 2017 to 31 July 2018 was funded by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Research and Development  (OVCRD) Outright Research Grant of UP Diliman. This was also conducted with support from the then administrators of UP NISMED and the College of Education of MSU-IIT.

Baseline Assessment of Literacy and Numeracy Skills of Beginning Grade 1 Pupils Completed

With the goal of improving early grade literacy and numeracy, the Department of Education (DepEd) worked jointly with UP NISMED in conducting a baseline study on early grade reading and mathematics. The study was undertaken to address one of the components of the Learning, Equity and Accountability Program Support (LEAPS) Project that dealt with the improvement of the teaching and learning in early grade mathematics and reading.

Baseline assessments were conducted during the second quarter of the academic year 2015-2016 for beginning Grade 1 pupils. UP NISMED processed and analyzed the early grade reading performances of 5,014 beginning Grade 1 pupils from selected divisions of Cordillera Administrative Region (CAR), Region V, Region VIII, Region IX, and Caraga Region from January to February 2016. In addition, the Institute processed and analyzed a total of 6,561 early grade mathematics performances of beginning Grade 1 pupils from selected divisions of CAR, Region V, Region VI, Region VIII, Region IX, Autonomous Region in Muslim Mindanao (ARMM), and Caraga Region.

The tools used in the assessments were validated and adapted from the Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA) and Early Grade Mathematics Assessment (EGMA) developed by the Research Triangle Institute (RTI) International. Cognizant of the initial implementation of the Mother Tongue-Based Multilingual Education (MTB-MLE), DepEd also contextualized the EGRA and EGMA tools in five selected Philippine mother tongues namely, Ilokano (for CAR), Bikol (for Region V), Waray (for Region VIII), Chavacano (for Region IX), and Sinugbuanong Binisaya (for the Caraga Region). The EGMA was contextualized in two more Philippine mother tongues, namely, Hiligaynon (for Region VI) and Maguindanaoan (for ARMM).

The study established baseline data on the literacy and numeracy of beginning Grade 1 pupils from the selected divisions. For reading, the study reported beginning Grade 1 pupils’ ability to recognize letters of the alphabet, read simple words, understand sentences and paragraphs, as well as their ability to write down simple sentences dictated to them. On the other hand, for early grade mathematics, the study reported beginning Grade 1 pupils’ ability to identify and discriminate numbers, identify number patterns, solve simple number operations and word problems, and complete geometric pattern. DepEd will conduct another round of assessments for beginning Grade 2 pupils for academic year 2016-2017. Results of the study will serve as reference point for succeeding early grade reading and mathematics assessment.

UP NISMED Assesses Science and Mathematics Proficiency of DepEd-ARMM Teachers

To determine if the supplemental trainings conducted in 2014 contributed to the improvement of the teaching competencies of DepEd-ARMM teachers, BEAM-ARMM commissioned UP NISMED to assess the science and mathematics proficiency of DepEd-ARMM teachers. The project also sought to assess the knowledge retention of teachers after more than a year when they received the training intervention and to find out if teacher-related factors, such as teaching experience and position in school, correlate with science and mathematics proficiency. UP NISMED developed the assessment tools and also processed and analyzed the data from the pretest, posttest, and parallel posttest.

The assessment covered Grade 1, Grade 2, Grade 7, and Grade 8 science and mathematics teachers trained during the supplemental trainings conducted in 2014 who took both the pretest and posttest. A total of 454 Grade 1 teachers and 470 Grade 2 teachers were randomly selected to take the parallel posttests for elementary school mathematics teachers. On the other hand, 452 Grade 1 teachers and 448 Grade 2 teachers were randomly selected to take the parallel posttests for elementary school science teachers. For high school, 34 Grade 7 mathematics teachers and 58 Grade 8 mathematics teachers were randomly selected to take the parallel posttests while science had a random sample of 49 Grade 7 and 74 Grade 8 science teachers.

The proficiency of teachers were based on their performance in the parallel posttest, given more than a year after the training, and on their performance in the pretest and posttest, which were given prior to the training and right after the training, respectively. In addition, the assessment determined Grade 1 and Grade 2 science teachers’ performance in terms of the three content domains, namely, Earth Science, Life Science, and Physical Science. Grade 7 and Grade 8 science teachers, were assessed based on the four content domains, namely, Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science, and Physics.

For mathematics, Grades 1, 2, and 7 teachers’ performance was assessed in terms of the five content domains, namely, Numbers and Number Sense, Patterns and Algebra, Measurement, Geometry, and Statistics and Probability. For Grade 8 mathematics teachers, their performance was assessed in terms of the following content domains: Algebra, Geometry, and Statistics and Probability. Teachers’ proficiency were also assessed in terms of the three cognitive domains knowing, applying, and reasoning.

Results of the assessment were presented by Dr. Soledad A. Ulep, UP NISMED Director and Dr. Monalisa T. Sasing, Deputy Director for Administration during the meeting with BEAM-ARMM and DepEd-ARMM on 1 December 2016 in Cotabato City.