The Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) is fast approaching. It is a high stake testing administered to aspiring teachers to be granted professional license to practise teaching in the Philippines. But do we really need to pass the examination to get into the teaching profession?
In Module 5, we learned about traditional and non-traditional assessments. Of particular interest to me are these high-stakes assessments. One example is the board examination. According to critiques, high stakes assessments are not reflective of true learning. It does not reflect the competency and mastery that has been acquired or developed by the learners. The result of testing mainly shows low-level thinking skills. Worst, failure in such test can be more damaging and depressing for the test takers. Add to that the pressure and negative impact that the assessment give to teachers and school administrators.
Looking at the statistics of the last LET administered in September 2016, only 30.18% for elementary teachers and 34.78% for secondary teachers passed the said examination. Roughly one-third of all those who took LET successfully earn a favourable mark. It was further announced that not all passers were first time takers. So what can we conclude from the test result? Was the test valid? Was it reliable? Can we safely conclude that all those who pass the exam are good teachers and those who failed are not?
I myself am a board passer. I passed the Agricultural Engineer Licensure Examination in 2003. Looking back, I can say that maybe I could have done better in my studies had I been made aware with formative assessment. Maybe, just maybe, I should have enjoyed learning and not subjected myself with too much pressure reviewing for board exam. I remember, right after the board exam, I felt so down and helpless. It was like five years of college education and 10 years prior were not enough to prepare me for the dreaded licensure exam. For three days, I turned off my cellular phone and did not want to communicate with anyone. Result of the board exam was released and a congratulatory greeting from a close friend made me regain strength and confidence to face people again. Yeah, passing the exam felt good! But truth be told, passing the board exam will not necessary mean that you are well equipped with the knowledge, skills and competence you need to practise your chosen profession. For me, no matter how well you studied, nothing compares to becoming lifelong learners.
So, can we conclude that those who pass the LET are good teachers? For me, the fact that they pass the examination means that they devoted time, effort, and dedication to study their lessons. They may not have been aware about assessment but they did their best and given the chance to pursue further professional development, each teacher will become good at reflective teaching and learning.
Personally, I learned so much from this course. I now appreciate educational assessment. It used to be just about testing, and grading, and passing. But assessment is so much more. For me, formative assessment should be taught to students. Every types of assessment (be it formative, summative, formal, or informal) administered to the students should be explained well and that students will actively get involved in the process. At first, it may take time and effort for the teacher to help and guide the students, but through consistent practise, assessment will become a natural part of learning.
So, do we really need to pass the board examination to get into the teaching profession? Yes, a BIG YES! As I have said earlier, formative assessment should be taught to students to maximize their learning experience. Given that, there should be no excuse not to pass a summative assessment, much more a high-stake one such as LET. I believe the Board of Professional Teachers has design an assessment that put together traditional assessment like multiple choice but incorporate non-traditional approaches that involves higher-order thinking skills. The licensure exam, I believe, is objective, valid and reliable and will serve its purpose in holding up to the teaching profession and to upholding public accountability to quality education.