Senator Win Gatchalian plans to file a bill that seeks to create an independent agency or body for testing and evaluation to properly measure and improve learner outcomes.
“If you think about it, the Department of Education (DepEd) formulates and delivers the curriculum, formulates the assessment, analyzes the data, and based on the findings, the DepEd tells itself to make corrections. If you think about it, how can the DepEd do self-correction when it is the one who developed and delivered the curriculum? So it makes sense to have an independent body to come up with the assessment, analyze it, and tell the DepEd what to do, because then you have the concept of check and balance,” said Gatchalian.
The senator shared the example of Australia’s National Assessment Program-Literacy and Numeracy (NAPLAN), which determines how well young Australians are developing literacy and numeracy. The NAPLAN is developed by the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority, an independent statutory authority responsible for the development of a national curriculum, a national assessment program, and a national data collection and reporting program.
In Finland, the Finnish Education Evaluation Centre (FINEEC) carries out evaluations for early childhood education all the way to higher education. The FINEEC is an independent agency and is guided by Finland’s national education evaluation plan.
Gatchalian pointed out that in 1991, the first Congressional Commission on Education (EDCOM I) already recommended the creation of an autonomous national testing and evaluation agency, which “shall develop, administer, supervise, and evaluate national achievement tests.” The EDCOM I also proposed that this agency shall conduct and evaluate other tests on aptitude, intelligence, personality, equivalency, and tests for national scholarships. The creation of this body, however, never materialized.
The Chairperson of the Senate Committee on Basic Education also flagged that there is no consolidated, central data bank despite the administering of several tests such as the Early Language, Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (ELLNA), the National Achievement Test (NAT), the Comprehensive Rapid Literacy Assessment (CRLA), and the Philippine Informal Reading Inventory (PHIL-IRI), among others.
Gatchalian also lamented that there is no periodic and systemic analysis of assessment data to inform educational policy. Assessment datasets are also not publicly available for external review, which also leads to the lack of a clear and timely feedback mechanism of assessment data for learners, teachers, experts, policy makers, and other stakeholders.