Periodical Exams with nothing but Essays?!

kid in school

Taken from by David Castillo Dominici

My kids’ school recently implemented, practically in full, the guidelines of the DepEd in terms of grading, lesson plan, and content of the exams.

To say that we parents were at a complete loss is an understatement.  I can only imagine how difficult it must be for the teachers to adjust to this new development of what the powers that be deem as “quality education”.

I still reserve judgement as to whether or not it is a good change.

However, I can say for certain that ONE good thing came out of it.

I realized very early that my son, A, didn’t know how to phrase his thoughts on paper.

A is amazingly articulate.  He can carry a conversation with any adult with much aplomb.  He can argue and debate with the best of them.

However, when I tested him in essay format, where he is forced to write his thoughts and understanding of the lesson on paper, he was like a toddler struggling to find the next word that his mind couldn’t come up with.

Here are some of the gems:

Q:  Why do you have to feel your way when you walk in a dark place?

A’s Answer:  How will I see?

Q:  Write an interrogative question about the story.

A’s Answer:  Why?

Let’s just say although his answers are in essence correct, if I were the teacher I’d give him zero points as it doesn’t display his full understanding of the lessons.

Across all subjects, his essay answers were very poor.

The funny thing is when I ask the question verbally, he answers considerably well.  Perhaps because in verbal tests, he can expound on his answer based on my reactions or facial expressions.

When he is forced to put it down on paper, there is no such guide.

Hence, the struggle to be articulate on paper.

It took us two full days of practicing (peppered with whining and a few tears) before he got close to getting the hang of it.

When Sunday rolled along, his answers have considerably improved.

Q:  Is it possible to snow in the Philippines?  Why or Why not?

A’s Answer:  No, because the Philippines is near the equator and has a tropical climate.  It is very hot so it can not snow.

There is huge value in what happened.  The ability to be articulate orally as well as on paper is a good skill to have that is not possible to obtain overnight.

If this is the improvement that can be achieved in just 2 days, the improvement that can occur in a year will be tremendous.

So that’s a little something to be thankful for in the midst of the confusion brought about by all the changes in the curriculum.

Choosing to see the glass as half full, for now.


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