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This paper presents the description and assessment of the comprehension literacy project of the College of Education - Romblon State University. The project aimed to extend educational expertise for community development and to strengthen partnership with communities and nurture the culture of service. Specifically the project was intended to help address the problem of reading difficulty through a comprehension literacy endeavor. This paper specifically aimed to: describe the implementation of the comprehension literacy program; assess the program in terms of its goals, content, delivery, and participation of students; determine the program's impact to the beneficiaries; determine the program's strengths, and problems encountered. The data were gathered through interview and questionnaire with the volunteers, teachers and beneficiaries. The program was assessed in terms of the following: goals, content, delivery, student participation, and impact. The project was implemented through the following activities: planning & conceptualization of the program, selection of volunteers, selection and evaluation of materials to be used in the program, scheduling of reading session and orientation of volunteers, reading program activities, monitoring, and assessment. The program goals were found to be properly disseminated and made clear; the contents of the reading materials were found to be informative and presented in clear manner; in terms of delivery most of the respondents agreed that it is structured and organized; students actively participated during the session. The Impacts of the program were the following: reading comprehension has improved; interest in reading was enhanced; gained confidence in reading and speaking; the spirit of volunteerism was developed among the volunteers. The friendly volunteers and the varied activities were among the strengths of the project. Availability of funds was still the primary problem encountered in the implementation of the program.
Keywords: comprehension literacy project, assessment, impact
Extension Program is a service or system deployed by an institution which assists people to induce innovations which would help resolve problematic situation. It is designed to address a specific need of a group of people. Colleges and Universities are mandated to have its own extension programs to extend help or assistance in any way possible. In addition, agency performance of colleges and universities is measured partly in terms of its research and extension activities. Such activities however must be anchored to national, regional and the institutions thrusts. The kind of project must also be in line with its' specialization. Furthermore, the need to assess a certain program or project is vital to make sure it is delivered and implemented well and that its' beneficiaries are provided with the necessary services. Program evaluation is very significant in a sense that it will provide basic information as to what aspect the program needs enhancement.
The College of Education of Romblon State University considering its mandate came up with an Adopt-A-School Program in line with its mission to provide extension services such as education and training in its areas of specialization. The program was conceptualized due to close collaboration with the cooperating schools. The Program has a component of providing assistance to adopted school in areas such as student literacy and providing teacher training to enhance instructional skills. The College of Education of RSU has decided to consider Romblon National High School to be the institution's adopted school. To help them address the problem in the comprehension skills of some of their students, a comprehension literacy project was initiated. The project focused on helping the students with reading problems improve their comprehension skills.
Reading comprehension is one of the most important skills to be developed in the students. It is the vehicle in learning other subjects. The fact that all subjects require reading, one must be able to read well in order to understand various concepts. A student's ability to learn is affected by his ability to comprehend. Developing the student's skill in reading comprehension is one of the challenges being faced by the teachers of both private and public schools such as RNHS. Considering the many factors affecting reading ability, a teacher could not just rely on his/her instructional skills to help the child develop his/her reading competencies. Teachers claimed that the reading problem is one of the reasons why their school got a below-average result in the National Achievement Test in 2009. Furthermore the growing population of the school makes it difficult to maintain a remedial reading program for students with reading difficulty. Although the school had initiated various programs to further develop the reading skills of the students, the challenge is still immense that the participation of all stakeholders are required in order to alleviate the problem of reading difficulty.
The program was implemented with the involvement of College of Education faculty and students and had received support from various stakeholders. The project is similar to the reading remediation program with the aim of helping students with reading difficulty particularly comprehension skills to enhance their reading ability. The idea is to conduct reading activity once a week in RNHS. The reading materials will be provided by the CEd faculty as well as the student volunteers. The reading program was done every Wednesday from 4:00-5:00 in the afternoon. Every client was given a reading material and was asked about what he has read. Comprehension questions were answered orally and in writing. Other activities include games, puzzles and cooperative competitions.
Assessing the College of Education Extension services especially the recently terminated comprehension literacy project is very vital because it will provide the needed data to enable administrators, policy makers and extensionists track progress and take corrective measures to improve service delivery. It is on this reason that the researchers decided to assess the comprehension literacy project conducted by the College of Education in Romblon National High School.
Statement of the Problem
The study aimed to assess the Comprehension Literacy Project in Romblon National High School of RSU-College of Education. Specifically, it sought to:
Determine the profile of the respondents in terms of sex and year level?
Investigate the perceptions of the stakeholders on the program in terms of
participation of students,
Describe the program's strengths?
Describe the problems encountered by the program implementers?
Research Design. The study was conducted to assess the implementation of the comprehension literacy program of RSU- College of Education extended to Romblon National High School thus the descriptive method of research was employed. It was a fact finding study that had adequately presented the views and thoughts of the stakeholders on the implementation of the Comprehension Literacy Program.
Population and Sample. A total of 71 respondents were involved in the study. 28 of them were student-volunteers from the College of Education, 14 faculty members and 28 student-beneficiaries from Romblon National High School.
Data Gathering Instrument. The data were gathered through interview and questionnaire to obtain the needed information about the implementation of the program. The instrument was designed to assess the programs': goals, content, delivery, student participation, impact, strengths and problems encountered.
Data Processing and Analysis. The filled-up questionnaires were systematically encoded with the aid of coding manual and coding sheets. These were processed using the program Microsoft Excel and converted into an SPSS format which generated frequency tabulations of the different information about the program implementation. Frequency count and percent distribution were used to describe the profile of the respondents. The mean was used to describe the perceptions of various stakeholders towards the program's implementation.
The program was implemented through the following procedures:
Planning & Conceptualization of the Program
After series of meetings with the school head of RNHS, the extension coordinator together with the CEd faculty conducted a brainstorming activity which resulted to the conceptualization of the program known as comprehension literacy project. The project is similar to the reading remediation program with the aim of helping students with reading difficulty particularly comprehension skills to enhance their reading ability. The idea is to conduct reading activity once a week in RNHS. The reading materials will be provided by the CEd faculty as well as the student volunteers
Selection of Volunteers
The student volunteers were selected properly and mostly secondary education students specializing in English.
Selection and Evaluation of Materials to be used in the Program
The reading materials were selected and evaluated based on the recommendations of the faculty members teaching English.
Scheduling of Reading Session and Orientation of Volunteers
The volunteers were properly scheduled so as their studies will not be affected. They were given orientation regarding their conduct, behavior and activities to be done.
Reading Program Activities
The reading program was done every Wednesday from 4:00-5:00 in the afternoon. Every client was given a reading material and was asked about what he has read. Comprehension questions were answered orally and in writing. Other activities include games, puzzles and cooperative competitions.
Monitoring was done by the extension coordinator every session. Comments and suggestions were relayed to the volunteers and reported to the Dean.
The project was assessed to through interview and the use of questionnaire. The program was evaluated in terms of its goals, content, delivery, student participation and impact to the beneficiaries.
Results and Discussion
Respondents' Profile. Among the beneficiaries, 21 of them or 75% are female while 7 or 25% of them are male. This indicates that majority of the beneficiaries are female. This further implies that the school has more female students with reading difficulty. The said beneficiaries were all in their third year. When it comes to student-volunteers, 20 or 69% are female while 9 or 31% are male. That more female teacher education students are involved in extension activity is an indication of their interest to serve the community. This is further shown in the involvement of faculty members in the said program of which 11 or 78.6 are females and only 3 or 21.4% are male.
Perception of Beneficiaries, Volunteers and Teachers towards the Program
Goals. The goals of the program were perceived to be very good by the three groups of respondents as shown in the overall weighted mean of 3.54. Most of them strongly agreed that the program's goals were properly disseminated to the beneficiaries, made clear and understandable. They were also reflected in their reading and literacy activities.
Contents. In terms of the reading materials' contents, they were found out to be very good as reflected in the overall weighted mean of 3.53. The three groups of respondents strongly agreed that the contents were informative, readable and contain information that motivates the student-beneficiaries to read and learn more.
Delivery. The overall weighted mean of 3.47 implies that the program was delivered well. The following were noted to have been strongly agreed by the respondents: it is structured and organized; the volunteers demonstrated remarkable interpersonal skills. However when it comes to conduciveness of the session time, it was perceived good by the beneficiaries. This indicates that the session time may be reconsidered for the students to be more interested in the reading program.
Student Participation. When it comes to student participation, the overall weighted mean of 3.52 denotes very good participation. The respondents strongly agreed that student-beneficiaries attend the reading session regularly, they always present their output during the scheduled class as well accomplish their homework successfully.
Impact. In terms of the program's impact, the overall weighted mean of 3.47 reveals a very good impact to the beneficiaries. The respondents strongly agreed that the students' reading comprehension has improved, their interest in reading was enhanced, gained confidence in reading and speaking and likewise the spirit of volunteerism was developed among the volunteers.
The program would not be a success without the presence of the friendly volunteers of which was considered as one of the program's strengths. It was followed by introduction of varied activities during the reading session which includes: puzzles, games, and prizes. The reading materials were found to be interesting to the beneficiaries.
Any implemented program as always expected, encounters various challenges. Among the problems encountered in the implementation of the comprehension literacy program is the availability of funds. Reproduction of reading materials requires necessary expenses. Another predicament encountered was that the time of session is quite inconvenient for the beneficiaries since it is already late in the afternoon and there is a tendency for the students to be in a hurry going home.
Based on the findings of the study, the following conclusions were drawn:
Profile. Among the respondents, majority of the student-beneficiaries are female and in the third year level. The program implementers were dominated by female both from faculty and student volunteers.
Goals. It was revealed that the program goals were properly disseminated and made clear.
Content. In terms of its content, most of the respondents perceived that the contents were informative and presented in clear manner.
Delivery. As to the delivery of the program, it was structured and organized.
Student participation. Students actively participated during the session. Their participation can be attributed to varied activities during reading session and the volunteers' friendliness.
Impact of the program. Reading comprehension has improved, interest in reading was enhanced and the spirit of volunteerism was developed among the volunteers.
Program strengths. The program implementers particularly the student volunteers were friendly making the program a success. Provision of varied activities during the session is found to be strength of the program.
Problems encountered. Availability of funds was still among the common problems encountered by the program implementers.
The program's "very good" level of assessment in terms of its goals, content, delivery, student participation and impact to the beneficiaries should be maintained and sustained. Likewise the volunteers' friendliness should be continued.
The program should also be extended to other schools with the same need.
Linkages and networking to other agencies should be established to generate more funds to sustain the project.
Other faculty members might be encouraged to participate in such endeavor.
Faculty members are encouraged to prepare reading materials to be used in such extension program.
Another study can be conducted assessing the program in other areas not included in the study.