2. Finding out Where we Are
To have a better understanding of reading needs of pupils, an assessment test was administered to grade one children from 18 elementary schools in Natividad.
The DOLCH test is a list of 220 words frequently found in books that children read. These words are usually learned in the first and second grade and they serve as a good base for beginning reading. It is a test that is used to estimate a primary student’s reading level.
Word Recognition Accuracy Level
121-170 1st Reader
171-210 2nd Reader
211 and above 3rd Reader
The results revealed that 44% of their grade one students have attained the reading level appropriate for grade one students i.e. 1st Reader, while six percent could read at the pace of a second grader. However, it was quite alarming to discover that 22% and 28% of the grade one population are at the pre-primer and primer reading levels respectively. This meant that half of the Grade 1 student population (pre-primer and primer percentages were summed up) were reading at the level of kindergarten students.
In spite of the presented data, the PMT shared that they appreciated the conduct of assessment as this gave them a clearer picture of their children’s performance. They were not disheartened by the results. Instead, they were challenged to do better for the coming school year.
3. Moving the Community to Action
Moving community members to action started with giving them power through information. People act based on what they know about an issue. Convening an education summit gives urgency to the goal of arresting the deterioration in the quality of basic education. Through a summit, parents and other community members learn how children perform in school. More importantly, stakeholders are given the opportunity to suggest ways how inadequacies can be addressed and how they can be involved in the program.
To involve more members of the community in the program, the Natividad PMT held an education summit. Mayor Alejandra Supnet gave the State of Education Address, presenting that while students from Natividad could read at 73.2% (based on NAT scores in 2007) this score was still below mastery level.
Based on the DOLCH test scores, it was clear that much work was needed in decreasing the levels of pre-primer and primer readers. Moving them to achieve reading and comprehension levels suited for their grade level or even at an advanced level should be immediately addressed. Mayor Supnet stressed that as long as parents, the community and the school work together, this year’s batch of grade one pupils can be at par or even better than the previous batch.
After the State of Education Address, parents were divided into workshop groups where they answered and discussed their answers to the following questions: (1) what are your dreams for your children, (2) what factors prevent you from achieving these dreams, and (3) what they will do to help their children become better learners. The workshop introduced participants to the use of meta cards, which allowed all members of the group to participate in the discussion. Through this exercise, parents and teachers learned how to listen to each other. They also realized the value of their input and ideas.
Inputs from the summit were compiled by the Natividad PMT and integrated in the Reading program. Among the must-do’s from the summit: training for teachers, workshop for parents, feeding program and building libraries for schools.