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Policy Guidelines on System Assessment in the K to 12 Basic Education Program

June 5, 2017

DepEd Order No. 29, s. 2017

Policy Guidelines on System Assessment in the K to 12 Basic Education Program


Assistant Secretaries
Regional Secretary, ARMM
Bureau and Service Directors
Regional Directors
Schools Division Superintendents
Public and Private Elementary and Secondary Schools Heads
All Others Concerned

1. The Department of Education (DepEd) issues the enclosed Policy Guidelines on System Assessment in the K to 12 Basic Education Program to:

a. articulate the bases, indicators, and measures of system performance that will provide insights on the effectiveness of curriculum and instruction program delivery;
b. provide the bases for the implementation of national and international large-scale assessments of student learning outcomes in determining the national education system’s effectiveness and efficiency;
c. provide an overview of the national and international large-scale assessments per key stage; and
d. discuss the purposes and scope, frequency of administration, target group of learners, and schedule of various assessments.

2. Included in this policy is the schedule of assessments until 2023–2024, at the end of which the first cohort of learners would have completed the full K to 12 Basic Education Program.

3. These guidelines will remain in force and in effect for the duration of the program, unless sooner repealed, amended, or rescinded. All existing Orders and Memoranda that are inconsistent with this Order are rescinded.

4. Immediate dissemination of and strict compliance with this Order is directed.


Enclosure to DepEd Order No. 29, s. 2017


SECTION 1: Rationale

The Department of Education (DepEd) ensures the continuous improvement of its systems to ensure that all learners have access to quality basic education. Sound information and data are required for the achievement of this goal. In the context of the K to 12 basic education program, reforms in curriculum and instruction had been introduced. The K to 12 curriculum provides new standards that basic education graduates must attain at different grade levels and key stages in terms of content knowledge and performance standards. To effectively perform its function to ensure the continuous improvement of teaching and learning processes, this policy articulates how system performance will be assessed. Therefore, this policy provides the basis for the conduct of various strategies and processes for the following purposes:

  1. Establish baselines for the basic education system and the implementation of the K to 12 curriculum in schools in terms of teaching and learning.
  2. Monitor the implementation of the K to 12 curriculum in schools in terms of teaching and learning.
  3. Measure effectiveness of instructional reforms that are part of the K to 12 basic education program.
  4. Generate reliable data for purposes of international benchmarking.
  5. Provide bases for the improvement of programs for learner development, curriculum implementation and school effectiveness.
  6. Provide evidence that will aid policy formulation, planning, and programming at the division, regional, and national levels.

SECTION 2: Scope

The use of the information generated on the basis of this policy must benefit all learners. As such, the information to be generated must be able to reflect their diversity and unique contexts. Internal and external assessments are intended to reflect such diversity at the system level. They should be able to illustrate and nuance system performance in the context of diverse learning environments.

This policy provides options for the types and schedule of internal and external assessments, which will be implemented between 2016 and 2024. To assess the continuous improvement of teaching and learning processes, data on learning outcomes will serve as proxy indicators of system effectiveness and efficiency. Annex 1 indicates the summary of these assessments with details on the scope, target grade level, schedule of testing, and release of data, among others. Included is participation in international assessments that will allow for benchmarking with other countries.

SECTION 3: Definition of Terms

  1. Effectiveness means producing a decided, decisive, or desired effect
  2. Efficiency is the quality of being productive without waste.
  3. Large-scale assessments measure student learning outcomes in particular learning areas or domains. These are wider and bigger in scope, and are used to measure what learners know and can do based on a standard criteria and/or expectations. Internal/national assessments are conducted by the DepEd. External/international assessments are conducted by international organizations such as the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) and the International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement (IEA). The DepEd may select in which international assessments to participate.
  4. Learning outcome is the totality of information, knowledge, understanding, attitudes, values, skills, competencies, or behaviors an individual is expected to master upon successful completion of an educational program (UIS, 2011). The outcome of these educational processes is usually measured through standardized tests. The test results can be used as proxy indicators to measure the effectiveness of the educational system.
  5. Proxy indicator is an indirect measure or sign that approximates or represents a phenomenon in the absence of a direct measure or sign. It is also known as indirect indicator.
  6. System assessment measures the effectiveness of an educational system. It is designed to determine the degree to which the system goals are achieved across regions, curricular areas, and learners. It may also provide evidence and data for monitoring and evaluation.
  7. System performance assessment refers to how effectively and efficiently the system delivered basic education vis-a-vis the set of indicators and versus its articulated targets on the Philippine Development Plan.

SECTION 4: Mechanisms and Schedule

The Bureau of Education Assessment (BEA) will manage system assessment DepEd Order No. 52, s. 2015 (New Organizational Structures of the Central, Regional and Schools Division Offices of the Department of Education) enumerates BEA’s general office functions, which includes to develop and manage the national education policy for educational assessment and quality assurance, and establish policies, standards, and guidelines relevant to assessment System assessment under the K to 12 system uses both national and international large-scale assessments. For the period 2016-2024, the national assessments are:

  1. Early Language, Literacy and Numeracy Assessment (ELLNA)
  2. Early Grade Reading Assessment (EGRA)
  3. Early Grade Mathematics Assessment (EGMA)
  4. National Achievement Tests (NAT)

The international assessments are:

  1. Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA)
  2. Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS)
  3. Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS)
  4. Southeast Asia Primary Learning Metric (SEA-PLM)

There are different timelines for each assessment Annex 1 shows a summary table of these assessments and the details are articulated in Annex 2. Some of these assessments may be discontinued once relevant system-level evidence has been generated to inform policy and adjustments in programming. BEA personnel will be assigned as focal person/s for each assessment to ensure that the necessary steps/milestones are achieved on schedule.

Testing procedures specific to the different assessments are found in test manuals, which are released to relevant DepEd personnel. Section 13 of DepEd Order No. 55, s. 2016 (Policy Guidelines on the National Assessment of Student Learning in the K to 12 Basic Education Program) discusses breaches in security and their corresponding sanctions.

SECTION 5: Assessment Data Utilization

The wealth of assessment data derived from internal and external assessments shall be used in the planning, monitoring, and evaluation (M&E) cycles of the department Maximum use of data will be ensured by using system assessment data as critical input for decision-making processes of various committees across DepEd’s levels of governance (i.e., DepEd Central Office [CO] Executive Committee, Program Committee, and the Regional and Division Management Committees).

It is important to note that to be able to benefit all learners, the results of system performance assessment must connect with program delivery. To meaningfully utilize the data generated in this policy, field offices may analyze school-, division-, or regional-level data in relation to system-level data. This will help them provide relevant technical assistance to schools in the preparation of programs that address learning needs. School improvement plans that directly address teaching and learning improvement concerns in the school should always be based on insights gained from studying data.

BEA shall manage test implementation procedures, and dissemination and utilization of assessment data following provisions in DepEd Order No. 55, s. 2016 (Policy Guidelines on the National Assessment of Student Learning in the K to 12 Basic Education Program).

However, ELLNA and NAT will be administered to the universal population every three years starting 2018 to provide large-scale data and micro- or school-level monitoring of achievement, and to provide balance between the classroom-based assessment and the system-wide assessment

This amends the relevant provisions of DepEd Order 55, s. 2016.

SECTION 6. Generating Social Acceptance in Participating in International Large-Scale Assessments (ILSAs)

Assessment is one of the least understood processes in education. It is important for the faculty, staff, and students of the DepEd to understand that assessment information is the basis of policy formulation. To address this lack of appreciation for assessment activities and the resulting information generated by these, this policy directs all DepEd offices to organize advocacy activities that will lead to the understanding and acceptance of, and support for participation in national and international large-scale assessments among teachers, administrative personnel, students, and education stakeholders. In addition, the Department must ensure that the assessment process is conducted judiciously wherein learners are briefed prior to assessment, debriefed right after taking the tests, and given a chance to appreciate the results when these are released. To ensure this, the following shall be done:

1. The Communications Unit of the DepEd will spearhead the planning and implementation of the internal and external communications strategies for this purpose. The information officers of each region will assist in disseminating the correct information about system assessment

2. The Curriculum and Instruction units across the Department will foster confidence among teachers and students about the assessment process to be undertaken. The following measures shall be undertaken:

a. BEA shall also issue the communications program to generate social acceptance and support for the education assessments, and provide technical assistance that will help teachers construct summative assessments.

b. The BCD shall promote content knowledge and pedagogical competencies among teachers and enrich teachers’ appreciation of student performance through training in formative assessment processes, and provide emphasis on projects that require the application of literacy, numeracy, scientific, and ICT skills.

c. The BLD shall improve instructional supervision by school heads, master teachers and education supervisors, and provide materials for use by the school-based learning action cells.

d. The National Educators Academy of the Philippines (NEAP) will enhance the capability of the regional information officers and the QAD on system assessment

e. The BLR will provide activity sheets for learners through the LR Portal.

f. The Teacher Education Council (TEC) will integrate system assessment into its TIP.

3. Equally important to the successful conduct of system performance evaluation is students’ understanding of their role in the process. Therefore, using developmentally appropriate methods, field offices and schools are directed to:

a. conduct orientation activities for learners explaining to them the relationship between their performance on the assessments and its effect on curriculum policies and assessment standards. In these activities, students should be able to express their anxieties and aspirations about being the country’s representatives in these large-scale assessments.

b. conduct a post-assessment debriefing session that will allow students to share their experience.

c. inform the learners about the results and their implications on the educational system.

SECTION 7. Monitoring and Evaluation

The monitoring and evaluation of the conduct of the system assessment shall be delimited as a function mainly of the DepED Central Office with BEA as lead office. The latter shall articulate the roles, functions, and accountabilities of DepED CO bureaus and services involved in carrying out an integrative approach to system assessment This articulation should include the interface of BEA with other bureaus in the Curriculum and Instruction (Cl) strand, and other relevant offices in the ROs and SDOs in managing system-related assessments.

Hence, to achieve success and standards in this system-wide assessment, there should be alignment or coherence of understanding in terms of curriculum, instruction, assessment, policies and practices among and across various levels of implementation (national, region, division, district, school levels).

Curriculum and Instruction (Cl) Strand

Bureau of Curriculum Development (BCD)

  1. Coordinates regularly with BEA for assessment results as inputs to curriculum planning and development.
  2. Utilizes assessment results to ensure that the curriculum is regularly viewed/enhanced in order to provide clear knowledge, understanding, and instruction on various learning areas.
  3. Coordinates regularly with the Bureau of Learning Delivery (BLD) to ensure that the curriculum is implemented effectively and efficiently.

Bureau of Learning Delivery (BLD)

  1. Develops a wide range of instructional approaches and strategies that are assessment driven.
  2. Coordinates with BEA for assessment results as inputs to improving instructional practices.
  3. Designs a teacher training program based on assessment results.

Bureau of Education Assessment (BEA)

  1. Ensures effective implementation of assessment programs in strict compliance to the standardized assessment guidelines and procedures.
  2. Provides assessment results to BCD, BLD, and other bureaus as baselines in reviewing/reconstructing/evaluating assessment mechanism and delivery system.
  3. Provides relevant, credible, and evidence-based research findings and recommendations to Cl bureaus.
  4. Conducts needs assessment through educational researches to address learning gaps.

Bureau of Learning Resources (BLR)

  1. Develops learning materials based on assessment outcomes.
  2. Designs instructional materials appropriate to students’ learning needs.
  3. Ensures that learning resources are available, sufficient, and are utilized in the school.

National Educators Academy of the Philippines (NEAP)

  1. Evaluates the relevance of training programs in improving management, supervisory and instructional practices.
  2. Designs seminars, trainings and workshops to keep the education practices abreast with the current trends in education/international market for continuous development
  3. Evaluates education managers’ qualification and experiences as inputs to designing training programs.
  4. Evaluates the quality of school-based management.
  5. Aligns teacher preparation and continuous professional development.

Other support offices:

  1. Provide inputs in policy development, plan formulation, and program/project development based on performance indicators/research findings and recommendations.
  2. Monitor management and utilization of government funds.
  3. Provide holistic assessment of teacher performance (pre-/in-service).
  4. Provide direction in evaluating performance of the Bureau/Office personnel.
  5. Design needs-based training programs for nonteaching personnel.

SECTION 8. Effectivity

These guidelines will remain in force, unless sooner repealed, amended, or rescinded. All existing orders and memoranda that are inconsistent with this Order are rescinded.

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