The K to 12 Basic Education Curriculum is standards-based. The content standards cover a specified scope of topics which sets the essential knowledge and understanding that must be learned. The performance standards describe the abilities and skills that the learners are expected to demonstrate in relation to the content standards. These standards are further represented as learning competencies which are the knowledge, skills, and attitudes that students need to demonstrate in every lesson or learning activity.
The current health crisis brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic is considered one of the greatest threats to the Philippines’ basic education. The challenge to make Education relevant and responsive to the current situation is our primary concern. With the expected decrease in the contact hours of teaching science brought by the change in the schedule of the school year, the Curriculum Standards Development Division of the Bureau of Curriculum Development has identified learning competencies that are critical. These Most Essential Learning Competencies (MELCs) were identified using the criterion Endurance. Enduring competencies are those that remain with learners long after a test is completed (Reeves, 2002) or are useful beyond a single test or unit of study (Many and Horrell, 2014). They also refer to learning competencies that are essential in many professions and in everyday life.
To ensure continuity of the learning progression of our learners, it is important to make sure that learning competencies needed in the understanding of succeeding concepts in the next grade level are prioritized. Overall, the resulting list still captures the objective of the science program which is the development of scientifically, technologically, and environmentally literate and productive members of society who manifest skills as a critical problem solver, responsible stewards of nature, innovative and creative citizens, informed decision makers, and effective communicators.
The table below shows examples of how the Most Essential Learning Competencies in the different Key Stages Matter domains were identified.
|KEY STAGE||Retained LC||Deleted LC||Justification|
|Key Stage 1||S3MT-Ic-d-2|
Classify objects and materials as solid, liquid, and gas based on some observable characteristics
Describe different objects based on their characteristics (e.g. Shape, Weight, Volume, Ease of flow);
|Description of shape and weight has been discussed in Grades 1 and 2 and based on how it is stated the deleted LC (S3MT-Ia-b-1) can be covered in the retained LC (S3MT-Ic-d-2). Furthermore, the ability to classify solids, liquids, and gases based on observable characteristics is a foundation of other science skills.|
|Key Stage 2||S5MT-Ih-i-4|
Design a product out of local, recyclable solid and/or liquid materials in making useful products
Recognize the importance of recycling, reduce, reusing, recover and repairing in waste management
|The retained LC will already cover the intention of the deleted LC (S5MT-Ie-g-3)|
and will even require students to be more creative
|Key Stage 3||S8MT-IIIi-j-12|
Use the periodic table to predict the chemical behavior of an element
Trace the development of the periodic table from observations based on similarities in properties of elements
|The deleted LC(S8MT-IIIg- h-11) is deemed not as essential as the retained LC (S8MT-IIIi-j-12) as it requires the student to use the properties of elements to predict the chemical behavior of an element, hence it is more encompassing.|
describe the general types of intermolecular forces
give the type of intermolecular forces in the properties of substances
|The deleted LC (S11/12PS-IIId-e18) is subsumed in the retained LC (S11/12PS-IIIc-d7).|
How to Use the MELCS
The Science curriculum guide lists the learning competencies (LCs) together with the code, which was set to guide the teachers on the time at which a certain competency is to be delivered. However, since the learning competencies have been reduced to the most essential, the code will not be of much use. For this reason, the proposed length of time for each competency is also included. It should be noted that the time allocation for the competencies is not a hard and fast rule. Teachers may deviate from the time allocation as long as the LCs are delivered and developed among the learners.
The identified MELCS are broad statements and should be therefore unpacked into learning objectives. In translating the LC into a specific learning objective, it is best to look into the content and performance standards. Below is an example of learning objectives for the Physics domain of Grade 8 which is taught in the first quarter.
|Content Standard||Performance Standard||Learning Competency||Learning Objectives|
|The learners demonstrate an understanding of work using constant force, power, gravitational potential energy, kinetic energy, and elastic potential energy||The learners should be able to develop a written plan and implement a “Newton’s Olympics”||Identify and explain the factors that affect potential and kinetic energy||a. define and differentiate potential and kinetic energy|
b. identify the factors that affect potential energy
c. determine the mathematical variation between potential energy and mass and height from the ground
d. compare the values of the potential energy of varying masses at the same elevation from the ground
e. identify the factors that affect kinetic energy
f. determine the mathematical variation between kinetic energy and mass and velocity
g. create and explain a concept map involving the terms kinetic energy, potential energy, mass, velocity, and elevation
h. demonstrate and explain the Law of Conservation of Energy using a pendulum
The proposed delivery of the identified LC above is from the middle of the second week up to the third week. Since the performance standard, which is to develop and implement a plan for “Newton’s Olympics,” involves other LCs, an activity involving a pendulum will provide the learners a first-hand observation of the nature of the movement of a pendulum bob with respect to kinetic and potential energy. The learners could also be given activities that relate to the impact of an object dropped from a certain height while varying both the mass and elevation. The impact of the object hitting the ground can then be equated with the amount of energy it possesses.