Average board passing rate for elementary, HS teachers remain low, says group

Arra Perez, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Feb 14 2023 08:46 PM

MANILA - The passing rate in the board exams for elementary and secondary school teachers remains low, according to an education advocacy group.

The Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) on Tuesday unveiled its 2010-2022 study on the Board Licensure Examination for Professional Teachers (BLEPT) and the performance of Teacher Education Institutions (TEIs) in the Philippines.

Only 37 percent of exam takers pass the licensure test for elementary school teachers, while the rate is 40 percent for secondary education teachers.

PBEd said this is the average based on the 12-year data on the performance of TEIs in the licensure exams culled from the website of the Professional Regulatory Commission.

The study also revealed that 56 percent of TEIs have passing rates below the 12-year national average both for elementary and secondary education.

Mindanao, especially the Bangsamoro Autonomous Region of Muslim Mindanao, has the lowest passing rates in the country.

According to PBEd Deputy Executive Director Diane Fajardo-Valencia, the results of the study highlight possible problems among those who want to become teachers, the institutions that are training them, as well as the board exams themselves.

"We should also ask the question of the schools. What are the schools teaching them that they're not learning? Or maybe it's also in the licensure exam. Maybe, or most likely, the LET [licensure exam for teachers] exam questions are not reflecting what's actually taught in the schools," she added.

Policy recommendations

PBEd said the teacher education curriculum should be reviewed, along with licensure exam questions.

"We should also explore moving quality assurance from licensing the students to licensing the schools themselves,” said Andoni Santos, policy and advocacy manager of PBEd.

He also said underperforming TEIs should be shut down.

"Not only will this protect the students from poor education, but it will also ensure that precious time and resources are not wasted," he added.

He noted that in Australia, once a person graduates from a teacher education institution, they are no longer required to take a licensure test as it's already guaranteed that they are qualified.

PBEd Executive Director Justine Raagas also said more will be enticed to become teachers if they feel valued in their vocation and experience in the teaching profession, and they feel supported through ample benefits, salary, and training.

"We really want to uplift and raise the image of teachers. It's on their shoulders 'yong future natin, 'di ba?” Raagas said. 

She said teachers deserve better.

“It's a noble job. But they're suffering because aakyat sila sa bundok, or they have to walk miles to really get to school, they have to shell out money in order to give their students paper, notebook, crayons." 

The country’s economy depends on the quality of its education, she added. 

"Kung gaano ka-productive and gaano ka-economically prosperous ang isang population in the future, pasan 'yan ng teachers. Because learning outcomes translate to economic outcomes in the future." 

 Data for policies

Popoy De Vera, chairman of the Commission on Higher Education (CHED), said they are studying the factors that may have been affecting the performance of students in the licensure exam.

"Pwede mong sabihin, pag-aralan mo: What are the students that go to the teaching courses? Anong background nila? What is their source of economic income, ano'ng profile? Totoo ba na last choice ang teacher education," he explained.

"'Pag nakapasok na sila, you have to study the quality of teachers that are teaching. Do they have the credentials... And then you study, is the curriculum and content of the LET consistent? Kasi baka iba 'yong pinag-aralan, iba naman 'yong tinanong sa LET. Siyempre babagsak 'yan. The problem is we don't have a lot of empirical studies in the Philippines about the issue," he added.

De Vera said the commission also wants to produce data that will be the basis of decision-making.

"You have to study what are the good schools doing—what are the not-so-good schools not doing? For example, some schools nilalagay nila sa curriculum 'yong elective courses sa 3rd year and 4th year. Imbes na subjects, ginagawa nilang review para sa LET para 'yong estudyante nape-prepare. We have to see, is that working? Is that something that we now tell the other schools to do," he shared.

He added capacity building is also available for teachers.

CHED will present its studies to the Education Commission 2 so that, if there will be changes in the policy, these will be certain to improve teacher education in the country.

Meanwhile, Commissioner Jose Cueto Jr. of the PRC explained "there is already a law which requires PRC to release the questions, corresponding answers and item analysis after the administration of the LET".

For Jeremy Reyes, a 3rd year Bachelor in Secondary Education student at Trinity University of Asia, what he learned in school is sufficient—but this will be tested as he applies theories to real-life situations.

"For example, sinasabi po sa amin ng aming mga teacher na 'yong ia-apply namin ay iba sa tinuturo nila. Case to case basis siya. Lalo na 'pag nasa public school ka, minimum of 40 students in a classroom, at iba't ibang ugali 'yong 40 na iyon. Kailangan mong i-adjust 'yong sarili mo," he said.