Inquirer - 'Test would-be teachers before they enter college'
By Donna Pazzbugan
Sunday, March 23rd, 2014
MANILA, Philippines—Citing the dismal passing rate of those who take the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET), a group of businessmen advocating education reform has called for a pre-college screening test for would-be teachers.
The Philippine Business for Education (PBEd) proposed that high school graduates be made to take and pass a national entrance exam for teachers before they could take an education course in college.
PBEd president Chito Salazar doubted the LET, one of the requisites before one can teach preschool, elementary or high school, still served its purpose.
He said that in the first place, the educational system had to make sure it had the right people to train to become teachers.
A pre-college screening test for teachers would also help restore the prestige of the teaching profession, Salazar said.
“Why don’t they pass the LET? Maybe because of poor training, poor performance. Or maybe the exam is not a good measure of what makes a good teacher,” he said.
Analyzing LET results from 2009 to 2013, the PBEd found that only about half or 146,091 of the 268,361 first-time LET takers in the last five years passed the exam.
Worse, the PBEd found that repeat test takers were more likely to fail the next time around, since only 16 percent pass the LET in their next attempts.
Aside from calling for a national entrance exam for teachers, the PBEd also called on authorities to close down consistently poor performing teacher schools.
Around 60 percent of some 1,200 teacher schools in the country were not able to get even half of their graduates to pass the LET in the last five years.
At least 601 teacher education institutions (TEIs) for elementary teachers and at least 795 TEIs for high school teachers had a below 50 percent passing rate since 2009.
Among these were 127 TEIs for elementary teachers and 147 TEIs for high school teachers that had a consistent below 20 percent passing rate, including 17 schools in which none of the graduates passed the licensure exams in the last five years.
“Personally, I think we should abolish the LET and let the schools do their own qualifying exam,” Salazar said, adding that too many schools were allowed to offer teacher training programs without quality control.
He said they found that only a few of the top high school graduates were interested in becoming teachers, which showed that the profession was no longer seen as prestigious.
Of the three million who took up a teacher education course from 2001 to 2008, only 16 percent or 504,000 graduated.
The PBEd also called on the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) to allow a review of the LET questions to see whether these were aligned to the teacher education curriculum.
Salazar said the test questions and answers should be analyzed to see where the takers failed or repeatedly failed.