Question for Briones: Do baseline education data get outdated? | Inquirer Opinion
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Question for Briones: Do baseline education data get outdated?

/ 04:01 AM July 23, 2021

Education Secretary Leonor Briones, Finance Secretary Carlos Dominguez III, and President Duterte should apologize to the country and likewise to the Programme for International Student Assessment (Pisa), the Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), and the Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metrics (SEA-PLM) for trying to cast doubt on the credibility of these international assessment bodies for no reason at all.

Briones and Dominguez branded the WB report as “outdated, erroneous” (“WB apologizes for PH education report; ADBI echoes findings,” News, 7/10/21). That criticism is baseless and even laughable. How could the two officials call the report erroneous when it is just a synthesis of the Pisa, TIMSS, and SEA-PLM reports, each of which they never questioned and which the Department of Education (DepEd) even accepted? In fact, Briones and other DepEd officials kept saying that the Pisa results mirrored the results of the National Achievement Test (NAT), and that it had prompted the formulation of the Sulong EduKalidad education reform package. Are they now saying that the bases of the Sulong EduKalidad is, after all, dubious? As for the SEA-PLM, how could Briones speak against it when she is a member of the Southeast Asian Ministers of Education Organization, which, along with the United Nations Children’s Fund, organized the assessment and released the report on its results? DepEd also said nothing negative about the TIMSS results, until now.

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Are Briones and Dominguez saying that the three reports are valid separately, but when synthesized they become erroneous?

Given that the individual reports passed DepEd, what is President Duterte’s basis, then, to insinuate that the WB report is wanting in accuracy (“Duterte welcomes World Bank apology, expects more accurate education report,” News, 7/12/21)?

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As for the data being “outdated,” what is their basis for such a claim? In the case of the Pisa, it is only more than a year old since its release in December 2019; the next cycle of the assessment is still to be conducted this year. In the case of the SEA-PLM and the TIMSS, they are only seven months old.

Briones and Dominguez claim that the findings of the assessments have already been addressed by the government and its partners. Do they have proof that these actions have successfully solved the problems unearthed by the assessments? Measures taken on reports do not count unless they solve the problems they address. And who says assessment data lose their currency after the passage of time and when already addressed, given that they are permanent references of achievement at a certain period? In fact, the DepEd had explained that the reason the country participated in the Pisa was to enable us to “establish our baseline in relation to global standards.” So, question for Briones: Do baseline data get outdated?

Apparently, Mr. Duterte is blissfully unaware that a key factor why the quality of our education has gone to the dogs is because the prodigious talent of the DepEd for window-dressing lulled our leaders into believing that despite all the problems, the situation in our basic education sector is on the whole manageable and nothing to worry about. Only for the country to be shocked by the painful truth that our schoolchildren are pushovers in serious assessment surveys, including our very own NAT after it was purged.

Pacifico Veremundo, [email protected]

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TAGS: assessment, Briones, Dominguez, Duterte, education, findings, standards
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