Monday, September 30, 2013

National Achievement Test, Performance-Based Bonus, Performance Enhancement Incentives

     Last year, we were very devastated that our National Achievement Test (NAT) score was very low, so low that we were actually at the bottom of the rankings. Out of fifty-two schools in our division, guess what, we are in the 52nd place. These results were depressing in our part. Because at the the end of the day, the teachers will still be blamed no matter what the factors are. If there will be an execution of those who got the lowest scores, we will be in the frontline receiving the gunshots...hehehe...
    I just hate it why National Achievement Test has become the main factor in determining students achievement. Some teachers say that it doesn't matter since the test itself is questionable, given the rampant cheating of some schools and division. Before, I also had this attitude. I always say that I don't care about the result but just to do my part in teaching my students. But it DOES matter. Why? The Performance-Based Bonus (PBB) now Performance Enhancement Incentive (PEI) greatly depends on the NAT score the school gets, together with other criteria given by the Department of Education. Some schools receive as much as 35, 000 pesos while some just receive the consolation of 5000 pesos minus the tax of 500, so this makes 4,500. As of now, as far as my experience of teaching is concerned, I have never received more than 5000 as PBB.
   What struck me the most was when there was a practice of six schools for an upcoming activity in our distrcit. And at that time, PBBs were being announced. I just felt depressed when some teachers of other schools were exuberant by their PBBs whereas I and my coteachers, were just "mumoys" or "kawawas", looking pitiful at the side.  I started to question what was the  difference of our efforts compared to theirs, when in fact, if the kinds of students are to be taken account, we exert the most efforts. Their students are the "normal" students, whereas we teach "the last, the least, and the lost". And at the end of the day, they receive the most credit, while we receive persecution, just because of that goddamn National Achievement Test.
   Don't get me wrong. Please don't tell us that we were just after the money. But this PBB could mean a lot for us teachers. Every centavo that we receive isn't just spent for ourselves, but for the food we set on our tables, for the medicines we need to maintain for our loved ones or perhaps even for ourselves, for a lot of debts and loans we need to pay and many more. Our salary is all eaten up by loans here and there, and please don't blame us if we do have loans. We didn't want it. We needed it.
   Bottom line, I am not against with the National Achievement Test. I know that it has the intention of checking the extent of learning of our students. What I am against of is the fact that teachers don't receive equal incentive bonus just because of this test. The worst, some people labelled as irresponsible and incompetent teachers. Teachers teach diverse students. And I am just saddened that those teachers who teach the slow-learners, the habitual truants, the delinquents, the poor and the malnourished would be receiving less just because their students couldn't have a high score in the test. I know this is not an excuse for us not to aim for excellence, but I think all we need is consideration. We are doing our part. Though we couldn't achieve the ideal results, we are doing our best despite the odds. We are struggling yes, but we need encouragement, not persecution.

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