DepEd urged to come up with a ‘pass or fail’ mechanism for evaluation this school year

A federation of teachers on Saturday urged the Department of Education (DepEd) to drop the old and “stringent” metrics and develop a more flexible assessment system as the country draws closer to school opening on Oct. 5.

The Alliance of Concerned Teachers (ACT) Philippines, in a statement, recommended to the DepEd to develop a “pass or fail” mechanism for evaluation. This mechanism, the group noted, will rely more on the students’ ability to exhibit and apply lessons to productive tasks at home and in their communities amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This, to us, is more in keeping with education’s objective of arming our youth amid the crises, instead of alienating them from their surroundings and adding unnecessary pressure onto their lives,” said Secretary General Raymond Basilio.

ACT also asked DepEd to issue guidelines for a more “humane” evaluation and grading system as the education system transitions into the new normal. For the group, an assessment and a grading that correspond with education’s objective of ensuring learners are well-equipped to understand, respond to, and contribute to society should be in place.

This more relaxed grading mechanism, ACT said, will greatly help teachers and students as they navigate the drastic changes in teaching and learning amid the pandemic.

Citing reports ACT gathered from the field, Basilio noted that among the concerns raised by parents and teachers is DepEd’s use of the old evaluation system wherein performances and written outputs each compose 40 percent while the last 20 percent goes to examinations.

As a response to the COVID-19 disruptions to education, DepEd crafted its Basic Education-Learning Continuity Plan (BE-LCP) which features a streamlined curriculum through the implementation of the Most Essential Learning Competencies (MELCs). Compared to the full K-to-12 program, the revised curriculum resulted in a 60 percent reduction or from 14, 171 learning competencies to 5, 689 Most MELCs.

Basilio pointed out that even before the BE-LCP, the old evaluation system has been challenging already for teachers and students alike. “Now, these will be impossible to meet with remote learning and will only be another burden to grappling families, while completely missing the aim of education,” Basilio said.

Class performance, Basilio explained, is usually measured through reports, group presentations, and participation during discussions. “These obviously will not be applicable to distance learning, particularly the most preferred modular system and the TV/radio-based instruction modalities where teacher-student interaction is limited to clarificatory Q&As and the exchange of old and new modules,” he added.