By Merlina Hernando-Malipot
“Give us back our summer!”
This is the appeal of some Senior High School (SHS) graduates after the Department of Education (DepEd) announced that it will administer two assessment tests for Grade 12 completers this April and May.
Long-awaited summer plans of some SHS along with their families got derailed with the delayed administration of the National Achievement Test (NAT) for Grade 12 and the Basic Education Exit Assessment (BEEA) which were originally scheduled before the end of school year 2017-2018.
Eighteen -year-old “Eri V.” (not her real name) from Davao City is “devastated” upon hearing the National Achievement Test (NAT) for Grade 12 will be administered after her graduation ceremony. DepEd data showed that a total of 1,252,357 learners are anticipated to comprise the 1st batch of SHS completers. She is among the 765,588 enrollees or 61.13% who took the Academic Track under the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Strand.
“Me and my family were planning to go to Hong Kong and Macau since last year for our summer vacation,” she told the MANILA BULLETIN. This trip, she said, also “serves as a token or a gift for me since I will be graduating from SHS.”
After finding out the schedule for their graduation ceremony, “we booked our flight right away.” However, during the graduation practice, she learned it from the school principal that her school was among those chosen for the administration of NAT 12.
Earlier, Undersecretary for Curriculum and Instruction Lorna Dino said that the NAT for Grade 12 will be on a random sampling basis only. Thus, not all schools offering SHS would be required to administer the NAT 12 among their students. However, she noted that if the learner’s school was chosen, he or she “will be required to take it.” The BEEA, on the other hand, will be “mandatory to all SHS graduates” in both public and private schools.
Dino also clarified that since the purpose of the NAT is for “systems evaluation,” taking it “is not a requirement for graduation or admission to college” However, she appealed to the SHS graduates of select schools to take the achievement test to help them find out how to better implement the SHS in the coming years.
The NAT is a set of examinations “designed to determine the academic levels, strength and weaknesses of students.” The BEEA, on the other hand, is an exam which aims to “determine the learning progress and attainment of learning standards of the Grade 12 students.”
TAKING AWAY ‘DREAMS’
While “Eri V.” is looking forward to her graduation ceremony and the coming school year, she could not help but feel upset about the upcoming schedule of the NAT 12 and BEEA.
“To be honest, it made me really upset to the point that I could not sleep every night crying and thinking if this trip will be cancelled or not,” said “Eri V.” Since her parents also took a short vacation from their work, she said that it would be difficult to move their summer to some other days.
With the arrangements for the trip already made, her parents decided that if she really needs to take NAT, they have no choice but to leave her here and will give her another token after she graduates from college. “I feel really devastated about that, my family would be enjoying their trip while me, probably facing test papers,” she said.
Just like many kids, “Eri V.” said that since she was little, going to Disneyland has always been her dream. “Disneyland was my dream since i was a little kid but because of the late notice from DepEd, maybe I won’t be able to see it,” she said. “I almost had it but this test took it from me…we prepared almost a year for this but they took it just few weeks before I can finally reach my dream place,” she lamented.
Despite this predicament, “Eri V.” said she does not blame the DepEd because there were reasons for the delay in administering the exams. “[But] I hope they would be more considerate to the students and family who already made plans during this time because first of all, it wasn’t our fault.