A Decline in Reading Comprehension Is a Decline in Many Other Areas

Manila Bulletin, December 4, 2009 | Go to article overview

A Decline in Reading Comprehension Is a Decline in Many Other Areas


Just how good are our students in reading these days?Let’s look at the National Achievement Tests (NAT) administered to public schools for some answers.The Department of Education reports that there has been a 21.36 percent increase in NAT results from 2006 to 2009. The 2009 NAT revealed a rise in mean percentage score (MPS) of only 66.33 percent from 54.66 percent in 2006, which equates to an improvement of 11.67 percent.The percentage gains were in all subject areas and point to a steady improvement in the primary education of the country’s public school system.So does this progress say anything about the reading skills of our country’s students?It does but it’s not something to be happy about. A 66.33 MPS is still a rather low score. In fact, it’s at the “near mastery level!”BELOW MASTERY LEVELIn a 2007 interview, Dr. Yolanda Quijano of the DepEd Bureau of Elementary Education, attributed “reading problems’’ as the main culprit for the poor performance of students in the NAT.While statistics and reports tell a solid (and sad) story on the subject, you need only ask any veteran educator of their horror stories to get a convincing picture.A good friend of mine, an English professor, lamented the distressing lack of basic competence among her students in reading, which naturally carries over to their writing.“My students have difficulty comprehending basic short stories and essays,” she bemoaned. …

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