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Analysis of Language Assessment of Primary Grades

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The Department of Education (DepEd) shall administer the Language Assessment for Primary Grades (LAPG) for grade three learners and National Achievement Test (NAT) for Grade 6 learners nationwide (DepEd Order No.: 19, s. 2014). It is a program that will develop and aims to assess the reading skills of grade three learners in terms of their comprehension and grammar in the three languages: English, Filipino and MTB. Based on the Department of Education records on the National Achievement Tests results from 2005 to 2010 showed that elementary and high school level students have a declining achievement rate on the said assessment. It has been a challenge among educators in selecting a useful assessment tool that can measure students’ language proficiency.

Therefore, the researchers have taught of using performance and product assessment tool to determine the level of language proficiency of students. This study aims to determine the effectiveness of the implementation of LAPG for Grade 3. The primary focus of different government in the Philippines and other countries is Education. Governments work hard to ensure that their colleges, universities and basic education centers continue to provide an instrument or tool that can make its citizens intellectually skilled and be able to contribute to the national economy (Hardcastle, 2010). However, DepEd noted empirical studies like, the Lingua Franca Project and Lubuagan First Language Component Program, showing that learners learn to read more quickly in their first language. The study revealed that pupils who have learned to read and write in their first language learn faster to speak, read and write in a second language and third language than those who are taught in a second or third language first. In terms of cognitive development and its effects in other academic areas, pupils taught to read and write in their first language acquire such competencies more quickly (DepED, 2009).

The challenges of every educator for the new curriculum being implemented by the Department of Education contribute benefits to the learning of the pupils. It provides long term benefits like higher self-esteem, greater confidence and high aspirations for schooling and life (UNESCO, 2006).The mother tongue classrooms allow children to express themselves, contribute to discussions and develop their intellects as conversations are carried out in a familiar language. Instruction through a language that learners do not speak has been called ―submersion‖ (Skutnabb-Kangas, 2000) because it is analogous to holding learners under water without teaching them how to swim. Mother tongue is an essential foundation for all learning and thus, it is important that all children use their mother tongue when they enter the school for the first time (Ricablanca, 2014). This investigation aims to compare the listening and reading skills in LAPG; the levels of reading and listening skills of Grade 3 pupils and their academic performance in English, Filipino and MTB; Number of Learners in Each Level of Reading Proficiency; and the NAT and LAPG Results per Academic Year. Listening is the very first skill we expect students to exercise in the language classroom in order to measure student’s comprehension and attentiveness, and also to develop metacognitive knowledge through raising consciousness of listening (Mendelson, 19980). Listening is as an important component in the process of second language acquisition (Feyten, 1991). Listeners must be able to discriminate between sounds, understand vocabulary and grammatical structures, interpret stress and intention, retain and interpret this within the larger socio-cultural context of the utterance (Wipf, 1984). In the field of Language teaching, Reading is the most thoroughly and widely studied among the four language skills (Pardede, 2010). To develop the pupils’ reading ability we should improve our reading lessons by implementing the best method and techniques provided by theories. There are two theories that can develop listening comprehension and can also explain the nature of learning to read. First is the “bottom up processing” or the traditional theory which focuses on the printed form of a text where they use linguistic knowledge to understand the meaning of a message. And the second is the metacognitive view theory or what we have known as “Schema Theory” which emphasizes the involvement of the reader’s thinking about what he is doing while reading that is based on the manipulation and control that the reader can have understanding a text.

The Bottom up processing or the “Traditional Theory” was influenced by behaviorist psychology of the 1950 namely: Flesch in 1955, Gough, LaBerge and Samuels in 1985. It was based upon the repeated association of a stimulus and a response that forms a person’s habit through drills, repetition and error correction including the learning of language through conditioning processes and reinforcement (Omaggio 1993: 45-46). According to Gray and Rogers in 1987, the main method associated with the bottom up approach to reading is known as “phonics” in which it requires linking the words into phrases and sentences and readers decode the text word by word in a defined sequence that requires the pupils to match the letters with sounds. Another theory that closely related to top down processing is called the “Schema Theory”. Some suggested it was first introduced by Jean Piaget in 1926 but was further developed mostly in 1970 by an American Educational psychologist, Richard Anderson. But in another study, Schema Theory is one of the cognitivist learning theories introduced in 1932 through the work of the British psychologist, Sir Frederic Bartlett. This theory describes how the past experiences lead to the creation on mental frameworks that help a reader make sense of new experiences (Smith, 1994). It describes the interaction of concept information from the text that is shaped and stored in the reader’s memory (Adams and Collins, 1977). From my point of view, this theory seems as a vehicle for searching memory for previously read material and reconstructing meaning. We can make connections between information in the text on what we already know if we use Schema Theory. Figure 1 illustrates that to develop the students in both skills, two theories were developed to enhance listening comprehension and student’s reading ability. First is the Bottom up processing or the Traditional theory and second is the Metacognitive View theory or Schema theory. Language Assessment for Primary Grades of Elementary Learners consists of two macro skills: Listening and Reading. Reading and Listening are receptive skills so when the students are listening they are also advancing their language skills. Listening skills can be used to develop essential language skills with students of all reading abilities and thus can influence and enhance their reading comprehension.

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The researchers are going to compare the listening and reading skills in LAPG; compare the academic performance of the students in English, Filipino and MTB; and compare the NAT and LAPG results per Academic Year. Quantitative method was used specifically on trend analysis design. Trend analysis is a statistical procedure performed to evaluate hypothesized linear and nonlinear relationships between two quantitative variables. It is commonly used in situations when data have been collected over time or at different levels of a variable; especially when a single independent variable, or factor, has been manipulated to observe its effects on a dependent variable or response variable. Hence, these designs were employed in this study to spot a prevalent trend within a user group and/or to determine how a trend developed/would develop over time. The study was conducted at Pardo Elementary School. The target population for this research is the 40 Grade 3 pupils of Pardo Elementary School where the researchers have collected data from their NAT and LAPG results from 2011-2015. The researchers chose Pardo Elementary School as the target population since they rank average for 3 consecutive years in their NAT performance in 2011-2014 and rank 22 in LAPG in the year 2014-2015 among all schools in the Cebu City Division. In this study, the options, perceptions and attitude of the learners were sought on Grade 3 academics specially focusing on the three subjects namely English, Filipino and MTB as to determine how pupils understand questions using the said languages.

The researchers first submitted a letter to the Cebu City Division Office to asked permission to request data needed for our study and then we showed the letter to the principal of Pardo Elementary School to collect data from the result of their NAT and LAPG from 2011-2015 and their guidance counselor gave us the said information then the researchers compared the results. These are the data which the researchers gathered from the records of Pardo Elementary School as our respondents. These showed the 2 macro skills namely Reading and Listening; Academic Performance of Grade 3 Pupils in English, Filipino and MTB; Number of Learners in Each Level of Reading Proficiency; and the NAT and LAPG Results per Academic Year. In Table 1, the data showed that the students excelled in Listening skills than in Reading. Most of the students belonged to satisfactory level in listening skill since they were more paid attention on it; this implied that students can comprehend well when the teachers were the one to read. Furthermore, only few students are poor in listening for they cannot understand what was being asked, with this connection only few students did not meet expectation. However, in reading skill most of the students belonged to poor level because some students were syllabic and slow readers and most of them have poor reading comprehension therefore there were few students belonged to excellent level in reading and they were the independent students who were fast readers and can comprehend what was being read. Hence, the highest level of LAPG skills of the respondents was listening. In Table 2, most pupils excelled in MTB and were less competent in English and average in Filipino. Though none of them failed in any of the three subjects, a lot of them are in the Approaching Proficiency stage in English, Filipino and MTB. There are 5 students in MTB who are Proficient, 3 students in Filipino and only 2 in English. There are 28 students who are in the Approaching Proficiency stage in MTB, 27 in Filipino and 20 in English.

There are only 7 students who are still in the Developing stage in MTB, 10 in Filipino and 18 in English. In Table 3, it showed that English is the most difficult language for the 40 students of Pardo Elementary School since 2 out of 40 is a non-reader and most of the learners are Frustrated Learners in which they are syllabic or slow readers with poor comprehension and only a few students are Independent readers who are fast readers with good comprehension. Filipino is the second most difficult language for them since there are 11 frustrated students, 16 students that are fast readers but have poor comprehension, 6 students that are slow readers but with good comprehension and only 7 students who are independent readers. MTB is the least difficult language for them since it is their lingua franca, wherein there are 9 independent readers, 9 frustrated readers, 12 instructional 2 readers and 10 instructional 1 readers. In table 4, School Year 2011-2014 showed the NAT results while School Year 2014-2015 shows the LAPG results of the students in Pardo Elementary School. The respondents in 2011-2014 showed that there is a decline in every subject in terms of Reading and Grammar. It shows that the students are weak in grammar than in reading. It also shows that for the past 3 years there is no improvement in the students’ performance in their NAT compared to the result in their LAPG wherein there is an increase. The implementation of LAPG for grade three students is more effective compared to the implementation of NAT. It can test better the student’s abilities, achievement, and can determine the students’ academic levels, strengths and weaknesses in the three languages. It also proved that students excel in Listening than in Reading.

Students know all words but that doesn’t mean they understand what they read. All subjects require reading comprehension including Math and if a student has poor reading comprehension it can lead to low grades and poor test scores. MTB is easier for students to understand and comprehend since it’s their first language. Students are quite familiar with the Filipino language because it is the language mostly used by the media. Students were poor in English even though it is the universal language because the structure and grammar is quite difficult to learn. The Department of Education may have recorded the percentage of the increase and decrease of performances of the NAT and LAPG assessment from different academic year yet investigating and knowing the causes of the declining achievement rate from the past consecutive years have not yet been studied at length. DepEd and CHED should find a solution at the statistics from which it should present the truly sad state of disregard or neglect of education in our country. Despite the DepEd memorandum No.222, s.2013 about “No read, No move policy”, the students reading disabilities and its remediation were still left unresolved. Numerous students with low reading skills can still be promoted to the next grade level hence reflecting poor performance in school. We recommend that Teachers should give attention to students with poor reading and comprehension skills.

They should give constant remedial session to improve the students’ reading and comprehension skills. They should encourage the students to read a lot of books and take down the words they are unfamiliar with for better vocabulary and to summarize or recap important points to have better understanding and retention of the topic being read and while their classmates are sharing they are also listening and at the same time can practice both their reading skills and listening skills.

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Analysis of Language Assessment of Primary Grades. (2022, September 15). Edubirdie. Retrieved February 8, 2023, from https://edubirdie.com/examples/analysis-of-language-assessment-of-primary-grades/
“Analysis of Language Assessment of Primary Grades.” Edubirdie, 15 Sept. 2022, edubirdie.com/examples/analysis-of-language-assessment-of-primary-grades/
Analysis of Language Assessment of Primary Grades. [online]. Available at: <https://edubirdie.com/examples/analysis-of-language-assessment-of-primary-grades/> [Accessed 8 Feb. 2023].
Analysis of Language Assessment of Primary Grades [Internet]. Edubirdie. 2022 Sept 15 [cited 2023 Feb 8]. Available from: https://edubirdie.com/examples/analysis-of-language-assessment-of-primary-grades/
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