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PISA 2022 Challenge: How Ready Are 15-Year-Old Students for the Real World?

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Experts Work Together to Create Technology-Enabled Learning Environment at Par with Other Countries

The Philippines is gearing up for the upcoming Program for International Student Assessment (PISA) that will be conducted from March 28 to May 20, 20221.  PISA assesses 15-year-old students’ Mathematics, Science, and Reading competencies and is conducted every three years across various countries. After the release of PISA result in 2019, experts from both public and private sectors collaborated to identify and address the various education challenges, including how to create a technology-enabled learning environment for teachers and students that is similar with other countries.

PISA measures what students have learned to-date and their preparedness for higher education and the workplace. Results from this international assessment help countries craft stronger education policies and programs that will equip students to face real-life challenges. 

Understanding the PH Challenge

The Philippines participated in PISA for the first time in 2018. However, the country’s scores in Mathematics, Science, and Reading were way below the average of the participating countries. This year, the Philippines will participate again in PISA where aside from demonstrating academic competency, students must overcome the technical challenges associated with computer-based exams such as doing simulations, data generation, and information analysis.

Addressing the Challenge

Aligned with its commitment to continuously improve the quality of basic education, the Department of Education (DepEd), together with various assessment and e-learning experts, developed and implemented the Professional Development (PD) Program on Assessment and Emerging Literacies with focus on PISA. According to DepEd, the Assessment PD aims to improve teachers’ assessment strategies, methods, and content knowledge in Math, Science, and Reading, and to help them align their classroom practices with emerging literacies measured by international assessments.2 

The professional development program was formally launched by the Office of the Secretary of DepEd in October 2021.  It was developed through collaborative efforts of experts from the Bureau of Education Assessment (BEA), the Bureau of Learning Delivery (BLD), assessment experts, and partner National Educators’ Academy of the Philippines (NEAP)-accredited Learning Service Providers (LSPs), specifically, the Assessment, Curriculum, and Technology Research Centre (ACTRC), the Center for Educational Measurement (CEM) Inc., and Frontlearners, Inc.2

Overcoming the Technical Barriers

Dr. Luz Bay, a Senior Psychometrics Director at College Board (USA) and Senior Advisor of Frontlearners, shares that “when Filipino students took PISA in 2018, there were factors that negatively impacted their performance. These include: (1) their lack of familiarity with the testing environment; and (2) their lack of experience with technology laden assessment questions.” 

“We want to remove the technical barriers that students encounter when taking a computer-based exam so that they can focus and spend more time on the academic and conceptual aspects of the assessment. To achieve this, we provided teachers with simulation training activities that allowed them to experience taking a computer-based exam like PISA as if they were the students. This experience will help teachers to effectively familiarize their students with technology-enabled testing environment. In addition, we gave the teachers simulation tools and resources for their students to use in order to gain experience in answering different types of interactive questions,” shares Frontlearners Founder Leo De Velez.

“What Frontlearners has contributed to the collaboration efforts can reduce such negative impact on students’ performance on PISA. As a collateral benefit, it can also pave a way for students to learn 21st century skills which are important for the wellbeing of the country,” adds Dr. Bay.

Developing Higher Order Thinking Skills

As additional contribution to the collaborative efforts, Frontlearners also released thousands of curriculum-aligned interactive lessons and exercises focused on Mathematics, Science, and Reading. Included were tools for better visualization and understanding of difficult concepts. Also included were application exercises for real-life situations to further develop the students’ higher-order thinking skills.


“These are the skills that PISA encourages us to develop and measure in our students. PISA does not require memorization of facts.  Instead, it measures how students are able to connect the dots, make data-driven conclusions, and solve problems,” emphasizes Frontlearners CEO Elaine De Velez. 

Preparing for the Real World

The Philippines’ participation in the PISA 2022 is critical in reviewing the impact of the improvement initiatives that were implemented so far by DepEd and other stakeholders.  The results and recommendations that will come out from the PISA will give additional data points and valuable insights needed by the policy makers and educators in re-engineering the Philippine educational landscape to be at par with other countries.  The aim is to make the Filipino students able and ready for the real world. 

Try it

Visit and try the Adapted PISA Computer-Based Exam. 

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