Private schools seek abolition of achievement test
Ghio Ong, Helen Flores (The Philippine Star) - March 11, 2014 - 12:00am

MANILA, Philippines - An association of private elementary and high schools called on the Department of Education (DepEd) yesterday to abolish the National Achievement Test (NAT), saying, “students need to think, not memorize.”

Eleazardo Kasilag, president of the Federation of Associations of Private Schools and Administrators (FAPSA), said public school teachers resort to “teach to test” to get incentives. He said public schools that do not show “adequate yearly progress” in the NAT face sanctions such as a decrease in their Maintenance and Other Operating Expenses.

On the other hand, teachers in schools that obtain high scores in the NAT receive P35,000 each.

“Teaching to test is simply item-teaching, which removes the validity of tests and it is reprehensible. It should be stopped," he said.

He said teach to test means teaching only what students are most likely to encounter during exams such as in Science, Math, English, Filipino and Sibika, but arts as well as how to solve problems and communicate effectively are getting less attention.

Kasilag said students abandon assignments that require critical thinking in favor of drill, memorization, and repetitive practice.

He also claimed test leakage in some public schools. "In fact some private schools were also given (leaked test questionnaires) and did not know what to do," he said.

This year's NAT will be given to Grade 3 today and Grade 6 on Thursday.

In their meeting last week, Kasilag said FAPSA member-schools "unanimously agreed to expose NAT's bad side and go for its abolition."

"We therefore say no to standardized tests... Our schools have to come up with system far greater than what computers can do, our students have to be prepared to have answers for questions yet to be formulated, to be able to do things not of this world and exhaust the infinity of their minds and not the half-baked truths they are given in schools," he said.

DepEd Assistant Secretary Tonisito Umali, meanwhile, said the agency will look into allegations of cheating in the NAT.

"As of now, we have not received any formal complaints on the alleged cheating. We urge Mr. Kasilag to provide us specific details or report to support his allegation," he said.

 

 

ASSISTANT SECRETARY TONISITO UMALI DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION ELEAZARDO KASILAG FEDERATION OF ASSOCIATIONS OF PRIVATE SCHOOLS AND ADMINISTRATORS FILIPINO AND SIBIKA KASILAG MAINTENANCE AND OTHER OPERATING EXPENSES MR. KASILAG SCHOOLS
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