The quality of the teacher is the single most crucial factor influencing or affecting students’ performance. Teachers’ mastery of content, pedagogical skills, amount and quality of contact time spent face to face with learners, and the personal care teachers provide to each child are the key elements of teacher support.
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Quality of Entry-Level Teachers
The Philippines’ regulation of pre-service teacher education is under the Commission on Higher Education (CHED). The CHED exercises regulatory powers over higher education through Teacher Education Institutions (TEIs) offering the Bachelor of Science in Education.
Teaching in the Philippines is regulated by the Professional Regulatory Commission (PRC) and is governed by law. Education graduates must pass the Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET) to be eligible for public school employment. The LET, therefore, sets the minimum standard for teaching and is seen as the measure of the quality of pre-service teacher education. A higher passing rate in the LET indicates a better quality of pre-service teacher education; a low passing rate for LET suggests poor pre-service teacher education.
LET is administered on two levels: (i) Elementary level and (ii) Secondary level. The elementary level LET covers 40% general and 60% professional education. The secondary level LET covers 20% general education, 40% professional education, and 40% on major subjects studied. To pass, a test taker must achieve a minimum weighted average of 75%.
The results of the LET show that low numbers of candidates meet the minimum qualifications for teachers. In 2019, the PRC and Professional Regulatory Board for Professional Teachers (BPT) reported that 28,973 elementary teachers out of 92,440 examinees (31.34%), and 54, 179 secondary teachers out of 136,523 examinees (39.68%) successfully passed the LET given last September 29, 2019.
Since 2009, the pass rate for the LET has been around 28%. Elementary LET passing rates since 2009 indicate a maximum value of 48% (in 2012) and a minimum value of 18% (in 2010). Secondary LET passing rates are similar, with a maximum value of 48%, a minimum value of 26%, and an average of 37%.
Overall Passing Rate in Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET)
Table 1: Overall Passing Rate in Licensure Examination for Teachers (LET), 2009-2019
Pre-service education graduates’ quality casts doubt on the quality of the intake for enrollees for education courses. It is also unclear if current teacher education programs are aligned with the K to 12 curriculum objectives. Lastly, it casts a spotlight on Teacher Education Institutions’ management: some TEIs consistently fail to produce a single LET passer yet remain operational.
In 2017, the Philippine for Business Education (PBEd) conducted a study on the number of LET passers in each TEI using the LET examination results from 2009 to 2017. The study showed that 48% (elementary examination) and 51% (secondary examination) TEIs scored below the national passing rate. There are TEIs currently operating that consistently failed to produce a single LET passer.
Considering the consistently low passing rate in the past ten years, there may be a need to review the LET exam and process. There are claims that the LET exam is a poorly-constructed exam that only tests stock knowledge and is recycled annually without changing test items. At the very least, a review of the test quality and questions. At most, an overhaul of the test.
Professional Regulation Commission (PRC)
Office of the Undersecretary for Administration (OUA)
Philippine Business for Education (PBEd)