MANILA - The Department of Education has adjusted the passing score of the November 2017 Alternative Learning System (ALS) Assessment & Equivalency (A&E) Test due to low passing rate of learners.
"I am announcing the change in the passing score from 75% correct answers (relative to total test questions) to 60% correct answers in the November 2017 A&E Test," Education Secretary Leonor Briones said in a statement.
The ALS Assessment & Equivalency is a paper and pencil test designed to measure the competencies of those who have neither attended nor finished elementary or secondary education in the formal school system.
Through the program, school dropouts are able to complete elementary and high school education outside the formal school system.
Those who pass the A&E Test are qualified to enroll in secondary and post-secondary schools.
In the statement, Briones said initial results of the November 2017 tests showed a low turnout of passers compared to the previous year from 38% to 16.5% for elementary and 57% to 15.6% for Junior High School.
She said she asked the Curriculum and Instructions bureaus to submit data and information about the current and previous tests to evaluate whether there were factors that affected the fairness of the tests to learners.
Based on her evaluation, Briones noted the following contributory factors that made the current test more difficult than the previous ones:
1. The language used in test questions for Math and Science were changed from Filipino in the previous tests to English in the current test. The negative impact of this was very pronounced in the elementary level examination.
2. The time gap between the time of completion of ALS interventions and the current test was prolonged because of a number of postponements in test administration.
3. There was a change in the technical reference of, as well as significant increase in, the passing score for the test.
4. An initial comparison of the test questions show a higher degree of difficulty in the present test than the previous one.
5. There were shortcomings in adequately communicating the assessment changes to ALS implementers.
The change in passing score, Briones said, will "align the present test with previous standards, as well as mitigate the unfairness to the examinees brought about by the circumstances mentioned."
"A 60% passing score in examinations is generally acceptable," she said, adding that the same passing score shall be applied to the March 4 and 11, 2018 A&E Test.
Examinees of the November 2017 who did not pass the new passing score shall be allowed to take the March 4 and 11, 2018 A&E Test as walk-in examinees, provided they accomplish the required registration documents at the site immediately prior to taking the exam.
"I wish to emphasize that these measures are applicable only to the said tests. I am directing our officers and personnel concerned to undertake a thorough review of our A&E examination standards, including their alignment to existing learning resources and instruction delivery, and to consult external experts. In the meantime, the provision in DepEd Order No. 55, s. 2016 setting the passing score at 75% is suspended pending this review," she said.