MANILA, Phiilippines --- With the implementation of the K to 12 Basic Education Program, the traditional numerical values in the report cards of students will no longer appear. Instead, the Department of Education (DepEd) will be using a new grading system to assess and rate learning outcomes of students in public elementary and high schools.
Effective this school year, DepEd said parents and student will no longer see numbers in the report cards of students from Grades 1 to 10. Based on DepEd Order No. 31, Series of 2012, or the "Policy Guidelines on the Implementation of Grades 1 to 12 Basic Education Curriculum (BEC) Effective School Year 2012-2013," Education Secretary Armin Luistro ordered public schools to implement the K to 12 BEC, particularly on Grades 1 and 7 which will be most affected by the new curriculum, and challenged schools "to implement the guidelines in creative and innovative ways for the curriculum can be localized without compromising the philosophy of total learner development."
"The new grading system seeks to measure the students' level of proficiency at the end of each quarter," Luistro said. "The assessment process is holistic and aims to ensure the quality of student learning with emphasis on formation and development," he explained.
DepEd, Luistro said, "will also release another separate order with more details on the new rating system."
In the new grading system, letter "A" will reflect as highest the grade; letter "P" as second highest; and letter "B" as the lowest.
Luistro explained that the letters actually represent "levels of proficiency as abbreviated". To rate the learning outcome of students, teachers will be giving a grade "A" ("Advanced") to students with 90 percent and above rating; "P" ("Proficient") to students with 85 to 89 percent rating; "AP" ("Approaching Proficiency") to students with 80 to 84 percent rating; "D" ("Developing") to students with 75 to 79 percent rating and "B" ("Beginning") to students with 74 percent and below rating.
Luistro said that teachers will still measure students' progress with numerical values, but their letter equivalents above will be used in report cards "so that the focus will be less on competition and more on achieving standards of learning."
At the end of the quarter, Luistro explained that the performance of students shall be described in the report card based on the level of proficiency. When the teacher gives "B" it means that the student "struggles with his/her understanding; pre-requisite and fundamental knowledge and/or skills have not been required or developed adequately to aid understanding."
Students given with "D" are those that "possess the minimum knowledge and skills and core understandings but needs the help throughout the performance of authentic tasks" while those given "AP" are students that have "developed the fundamental knowledge and skills and core understandings and with little guidance from teacher and/or with some assistance from peers, can transfer these understandings through authentic performance tasks."
Those that are given "P" are students that have "developed fundamental knowledge and skills and core understandings and can transfer them independently through authentic performance tasks" while students given with "A" are those that "exceeds the core requirements in terms of knowledge, skills, and understandings and can transfer them automatically and flexible through authentic performance tasks."
Luistro said that the assessment process to be used is holistic, with emphasis on the formative or developmental purpose of quality assuring student learning. "It is also standards-based as it seeks to ensure that teachers will teach to the standards and students will aim to meet or even exceed the standards," he added.
Luistro added that student performance will still be assessed at four levels, including Knowledge with 15 percent; Process or Skills with 25%; Understanding with 30%; and Products/Performances with 30 % with a total of 100%.
The results of the student's performance, Luistro added, will be summed up based on these levels to come up with a numerical value. "The corresponding level of proficiency will appear on the report card at the end of the quarter," he explained.
At the end of the four quarters, Luistro explained that the Final Grade for each learning area shall be reported as "average of the four quarterly ratings, expressed in terms of the levels of proficiency." Also, he said that "the general average will be computed based on the final grades of the different learning areas, and will be expressed in terms of the levels of proficiency with the numerical equivalent shall appear in parenthesis."
Luistro also stressed that promotion and retention of students shall be by subject meaning those students whose proficiency level is "B" at the end of the quarter or grading period "shall be required to undergo remediation classes" after class hours so that they can immediately catch up as they move to the next grading period. "If by the end of the school year, the students are still at the 'B' level, then they shall be required to take summer classes," he said.
Meanwhile, some parents and students - particularly those who are grade-conscious -
expressed reservation to the new grading system. When showed that sample report card to Mylene Cuevas, mother to fourth year high school (Grade 10) student Liza Mae, she was confused. "Kung ganito ang gagamitin na grading system, ano ang mangyayari sa ranking ng mga bata? Paano pipiliin kung sino ang magiging first at second honors? (If they will use this grading system, what will happen to the ranking of students? How will they choose who will be the first or second honors?)" she asked.
Last school year, Liza Mae ranked second honor. This year, she is eyeing to be the first honor to increase her chances to avail of scholarships once she enrolls in college. "Kasi sa scholarship or discounts sa tuition, mas malaki ang coverage kapag first honor or valedictorian ka. Kapag ganito ang grading, (letters instead of numbers), mahirap ang ranking, (In getting scholarships or discounts in tuition, bigger coverage is given if you're first honor or valedictorian. If letter grades will be used, ranking will be more difficult)," she said.
The DepEd, on the other hand, said that when it comes to honor students, "they shall be drawn from among those who performed at the Advanced Level." "We will come up with subsequent guidelines will be issued as basis for ranking of honors," Luistro assured.
Meanwhile, Catholic Bishops Conference of the Philippines (CBCP) Episcopal Commission on Youth (ECY) Executive Secretary Fr. Conegundo Garganta called on the DepEd to look into the possibility of using idle buildings as a way of addressing classroom shortage.
Garganta said the government can use idle buildings, such as those that have been sequestered by the government, to house additional classrooms.
"Maybe the government can use their police power to ask permission to use these abandoned structures," he said in a church-organized forum. (With a report from Leslie Ann G. Aquino)