Young Filipinos aiming to make it to their classes' honor roll would have to work harder as the Department of Education (DepEd) raises the bar for choosing the "cream of the crop."
Starting next school year, grade 1 and 7 students vying for honors should not have a final grade lower than 85 percent, or 75 percent in any quarter, DepEd said Wednesday.
The new benchmark, implemented through DepEd Order No. 74, is higher than the 80 percent minimum grade set in 2009.
The old rules, meanwhile, will still apply in selecting honor pupils in grades 2 to 6 in the elementary level and 2nd year to 4th year in the secondary level.
Aside from performance in academic disciplines such as Math, Science, English, schools are also mandated to account for participation in co-curricular activities such as sports, arts and campus journalism.
"We have to put weight on other activities that are not academic in nature as part of school nurturing that focuses on other aspects of a child’s total development," Education Secretary Armin Luistro said in a statement.
Students shall be ranked following the 7-3 point scheme, with a seven-point weight given to academic performance and three points to co-curricular activities.
More "descriptive remarks" will also be used to rate students' level of proficiency namely "Beginning," with a numerical equivalent of 74 percent and below; "Developing", 75 to 79 percent; "Approaching Proficiency," 80 to 84 percent; and "Proficient" (85-89%) and "Advanced" (90% and above).
The new grading system "is more illustrative of the proficiency level of students," DepEd said in a statement.
"All candidates for honors must be of good moral character and have not been subjected to any disciplinary action within the current school year," it added.
The changes are being implemented in preparation for the full rollout of the K to 12 system, which adds two more years to the basic education curriculum, DepEd said.
Reelectionist Antonio "Sonny" Trillanes IV became the last senator-elect to have his arms raised by poll officials after the May 13 elections.