Science and Maths Curriculum Study

Progress of Students through the Curriculum: A Focus on Elementary School Science and Mathematics

In the K to 12 program, subjects are taught from the simplest concepts to more complicated concepts through grade levels in spiral progression to ensure a mastery of knowledge and skills after each level. This method is used in learning areas such as Science (e.g., Biology, Chemistry) and Mathematics. ACTRC conducted the Alignment of Intended, Implemented and Achieved Science Curriculum Focusing on Inquiry Skills Study and the Science Curriculum Study from 2012 to 2016 to investigate how students’ knowledge of science content and their inquiry skills develop through the spiral curriculum. Findings from these studies revealed that a majority of students entering Grade 7 are not well prepared to engage with the conceptual knowledge and skills required by the Grade 7 Chemistry Curriculum. This study investigated the elementary years to better understand why secondary school students do not have the prerequisite skills necessary to engage with the curriculum. The students who were assessed in earlier studies went through the elementary years of the former 10-year curriculum, whereas this study will involve students who have experienced the K-12 curriculum in the elementary years.

The aim of this study was to investigate how Philippine students’ knowledge of science and mathematics content, as well as their inquiry and problem solving skills, develop. The specific aims of the study were to:

  • investigate the progress of students’ knowledge and skills as they complete the spiral elementary school science and mathematics curriculum, with emphasis on whether students have developed the prerequisite knowledge for the next year of study;
  • determine the level of conceptual knowledge and skills students have developed after three and five years of spiralling elementary school curriculum; and
  • assess the effect of factors such as teacher training, experience, student access to materials, and school size on student achievement and curriculum implementation.

This project commenced in May 2017 and concluded in July 2019.

Project Team

Dr Marlene Ferido, Project Lead, University of the Philippines

Pam Robertson, Project Lead, University of Melbourne

Professor Esther Care, Centre Lead, University of Melbourne

Joesal Marabe, University of the Philippines

Lalaine Bagui, University of the Philippines

Louie Cagasan, University of the Philippines

Masa Pavlovic, University of Melbourne

Rachel Ramirez, University of the Philippines


Ferido, M., Robertson, P., Marabe, J. (2020). Progress of students through the curriculum: A focus on elementary science and mathematics. Pre-Grade 4 and Pre-Grade 6 Report. Assessment Curriculum and Technology Research Centre (ACTRC).

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