DepEd rejects 'pass or fail' suggestions for grading system

Jaehwa Bernardo, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Aug 24 2020 03:56 PM

Parents submit the “Learner Enrollment Survey Form” of their children in a drop box at the Rosauro Almario Elementary School in Tondo, Manila on Tuesday. The Department of Education announced on Monday evening the implementation of the ‘drop box’ system located in schools and barangay halls where parents may submit enrollment documents to supplement the ongoing remote enrollment for the incoming school year. Jonathan Cellona, ABS-CBN News

MANILA - The Department of Education said Monday it would retain a numeric grading system in the coming school year, when most students would be learning from their homes as in-person classes remain suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

"Even as we want to make everything comfortable, safe and loving and great for our learners and teachers, we also want them to achieve the learning objectives which we have set for ourselves," Education Secretary Leonor Briones said in a virtual press briefing.

Diosdado San Antonio, undersecretary for curriculum and instruction, said shifting to a new grading system would mean additional work for teachers, which the department did not want to impose.

"Kahit letter grades iyan or pass or fail, gagamit pa rin sila, mag-add pa rin iyan ng performance ng bata so gusto po natin maiwasan 'yong mga dagdag na aaralin pa ng mga kasama natin guro," he said.

San Antonio also wondered how colleges and universities would decide on scholarships if there is no numerical grade.

He told ABS-CBN News that the department was set to issue guidelines for classroom assessment.

"We are modifying the criteria but numerical ratings will be used," he said.

Education officials were reacting to a proposal by the Alliance of Concerned Teachers, which was pushing for a more "humane" and "flexible" grading system through a "pass or fail mechanism."

Class performance is usually measured through reports, group presentations, and participation during discussions, which are not applicable to distance learning, ACT Secretary General Raymond Basilio earlier said.

"We recommend a ‘pass or fail’ mechanism for evaluation that rely more on the students’ ability to exhibit and apply lessons to productive tasks at home and in their communities," Basilio said in a statement on Saturday.

Classes in public schools are scheduled to start on October 5 while private schools are allowed to start earlier as long as they implement distance learning and follow health standards.