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DepEd May Reevaluate Student Recognition System

DepEd May Reevaluate Student Recognition System

The Department of Education (DepEd) of the Philippines has announced the potential revision of its system for recognizing student achievements, amidst ongoing discussions over phasing out hierarchical awards such as valedictorian and salutatorian.

Francis Cesar Bringas, Assistant Secretary of DepEd, has indicated that this review will be incorporated into the department’s overhaul of the K to 12 Curriculum for the academic year 2024-2025. He stated, “In line with our upcoming curriculum revision, modifications to our classroom assessment policies, potentially including our grading system and awards recognition, will be considered.”

Bringas emphasized that the importance of aligning assessments with the curriculum. Therefore, the curriculum revision necessitates reassessing how student competencies under the new curriculum are evaluated.

The DepEd had previously eliminated the hierarchical awards system back in 2016 during the tenure of Education Secretary Armin Luistro. According to Bringas, the revised system was designed to diminish competition among students and instead focus on personal achievements.

The new system, which has been in place for seven years, provides academic recognition in three categories: ‘With Highest Honors’ for total grade averages of 98 to 100; ‘With High Honors’ for averages of 95 to 97; and ‘With Honors’ for averages of 90 to 94.

Bringas believes the restructured system alleviates the pressure of competition, encouraging students to compete with their own past performances rather than their peers. Despite initial objections from parents, Bringas reported that the system has been widely accepted and issues have been addressed at the school level.

The new system recently drew attention when a 2021 Facebook post from former Education Secretary Leonor Briones clarifying the policy went viral. The topic has sparked debate just days before graduation ceremonies commence in public schools across the Philippines.

Teachers’ views on the new system are divided, according to Benjo Basas, Chairman of the Teachers’ Dignity Coalition. He highlighted the need for a policy review, reflecting the opinions of many educators. “The traditional awards like valedictorian and salutatorian have been important recognitions of student effort,” he noted.