The Condition of Secondary School Physics Education in the Philippines: Recent Developments and Remaining Challenges for Substantive Improvements

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The Condition of Secondary School Physics Education in the Philippines: Recent Developments and Remaining Challenges for Substantive Improvements Antriman V. Orleans
Hiroshima University, Japan

This study is aimed at assessing the state of Philippine secondary school physics education using data from a nationwide survey of 464 schools and 767 physics teachers and at identifying challenges for substantive improvements. Teacher-related indicators revealed academic qualification deficiency, low continuing professional involvements, substantial physics teaching experience, and good licensure status. Academic environment indices revealed that the number of physics classes per teacher is manageable, but the individual classes are large. Results also showed limited instructional materials and technologies, the unpopularity of professional mentoring, and favorable library and internet access. Based on these findings, challenges to developing a larger pool of competent physics teachers and equipping schools with relevant instructional devices were identified.

The current state of science education in the Philippines, particularly in the basic education level, lags behind other countries in the world. The results of the Second International Science Study (SISS) and Third International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) placed the Philippines in disadvantaged positions among participating nations (Philippine Department of Education, Culture, and Sports et al. 2000). In the SISS, the Philippines ranked almost at the bottom of the list of seventeen (17) nations which took part in this large-scale evaluation of educational achievement. Similar outcomes were revealed in the 1995, 1999 and 2003 TIMSS.

The Australian Educational Researcher, Volume 34, Number 1, April 2007


ANTRIMAN V. ORLEANS In the different science subject areas, achievements in physics of Filipino students appeared below the international standards (US Department of Education National Center for Education Statistics 2000, International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement 2004). The Philippines ranked third and fourth to the last in the list of nations in the 1999 and 2003 TIMSS respectively. Findings of Philippinebased studies (Calacal 1999, Capistrano 1999, Orleans 1994, Figuerres 1985) also present the same conclusion of low student achievement in physics. This poor student achievement has prompted educational researchers worldwide to continuously identify factors that can account for academic outcomes in the classroom. Some research suggests that factors inside and outside the classroom affect student achievement, however, experts claim that the key factor in what comes out at the end of schooling is what goes on in the classroom (California Education Policy Seminar & California State University Institute for Educational Reform 1998). In most of the reports after that of Coleman in the United States of America (Coleman et al. 1996), research findings confirmed that teacher quality appears to be the most important factor influencing student performance (Goldhaber & Anthony 2003, Goldhaber 2002, Goldhaber, Brewer & Anderson 1999, Hanushek, Kain, & Rivkin 1999, Ferguson 1998, Wright, Horn & Sanders 1997). To illustrate, the data of the proportion of measured variance in mathematics test score gains from grades three to five, developed in the Harvard Journal on Legislation 28 in 1991, show that 51% of the influence on student achievement had to do with school factors and 49% with student background (e.g. parents’ education, income, race, & location). Forty-three percent (43%) of the school factors were attributed to teacher quality alone (DarlingHammond 1998). Similarly, studies on the collected student achievement data from the Tennessee Value-Added Assessment System (Sanders & Horn 1998, Wright et al. 1997, Sanders & Rivers 1996) and the data from a teacher evaluation system for the Dallas Public...
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