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Theoretical Background

Universities and colleges around the country have set up a grading

system in order to measure the students ability in learning. The grading systems

implemented in each university and colleges are distinct from one another

because the decision lies to its school administrators- who not only studied on

whats best for them but also research on a more effective and efficient grading


The Commission on Higher Education has mandated in Memorandum

Order no. 46 series of 2012 that an outcomes-based education must be

observed among universities and colleges. This policy-standard, which applies to

private and public Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) in the country, is issued to

enhance the quality assurance system of Philippine higher education through

learning competency based standards and an outcomes-based system of quality

assurance that is differentiated by type of HEI.

There are varieties of learning methods, one of which is the outcomes-

based education but before this concept, there are a number of more traditionally

used learning theories namely constructivist learning, progressivism learning and

the framework for 21st century learning.

In an article entitled Workshop: Constructivism as a Paradigm for Teaching

and Learning published last 2004, it rationalizes constructivism as a theory --

based on observation and scientific study -- about how people learn. It says that

people construct their own understanding and knowledge of the world, through

experiencing things and reflecting on those experiences. In the classroom, the

constructivist view of learning can point towards a number of different teaching

practices. In the most general sense, it usually means encouraging students to

use active techniques like experiments, real-world problem solving to create

more knowledge and then to reflect on and talk about what they are doing and

how their understanding is changing. The teacher makes sure he understands

the students' preexisting conceptions, and guides the activity to address them

and then build on them.

Progressivism in education on the other hand as explained in an article,

Progressivism in Education- Advantages and Disadvantages was organized so

that children would be taught via curriculum that was hands on. This idea

encouraged children to freely express themselves and be creative.

John Dewey was a strong proponent of Progressivism in education. He

did not like the curriculum that was subject centered. He felt that was rigid and

old. Child-centered curriculum was his favorite. He believed that children learn by

experimenting instead of by memorization. Progressivism - is the belief that

education should prepare children to live in society, socially and academically.

One of the biggest strengths of Progressivism in education is that children

are more interested in learning, if school is interesting, children learn more. If it is

mundane and boring even the most intelligent child will tune it out. Children need

a learning environment that is interesting, safe and enjoyable. The place they go

to learn needs to be a place where they desire to go. Progressivism provides

children with hands on learning environment where they can express themselves

and learn about the world around them.

To help practitioners integrate skills into the teaching of core academic

subjects, the Partnership has developed a unified, collective vision for learning

known as the Framework for 21st Century Learning. This Framework describes

the skills, knowledge and expertise students must master to succeed in work and

life; it is a blend of content knowledge, specific skills, expertise and literacy. Every

21st century skills implementation requires the development of core academic

subject knowledge and understanding among all students. Those who can think

critically and communicate effectively must build on a base of core academic

subject knowledge. Within the context of core knowledge instruction, students

must also learn the essential skills for success in todays world, such as critical

thinking, problem solving, communication and collaboration. When a school or

district builds on this foundation, combining the entire Framework with the

necessary support systemsstandards, assessments, curriculum and

instruction, professional development and learning environmentsstudents are

more engaged in the learning process and graduate better prepared to thrive in

todays global economy.

According to Barnett Berry the founder and CEO of Center for Teaching

Quality, Twenty-first-century learning means that students master content while

producing, synthesizing, and evaluating information from a wide variety of

subjects and sources with an understanding of and respect for diverse cultures.

Students demonstrate the three Rs, but also the three Cs: creativity,

communication, and collaboration. They demonstrate digital literacy as well as

civic responsibility. Virtual tools and open-source software create borderless

learning territories for students of all ages, anytime and anywhere.

Powerful learning of this nature demands well-prepared teachers who

draw on advances in cognitive science and are strategically organized in teams,

in and out of cyberspace. Many will emerge as teacherpreneurs who work closely

with students in their local communities while also serving as learning

concierges, virtual network guides, gaming experts, community organizers, and

policy researchers.

At present, the Outcomes-based education method is widely used in

learning. According to the literature, Outcome-based education (OBE) is an

approach to education in which decisions about the curriculum are driven by the

exit learning outcomes that the students should display at the end of the course.

In OBE, product defines process. (M.H. Davis. 2003. Outcome-Based

Education. JVME 30(3):227-232)

High expectations, which means getting rid of the bell curve all students

should achieve at the highest level; Design down, meaning designing the

curriculum from the point at which you want your students to end up. (Spady B.)

So the basic tenets of OBE were propounded by Bill Spady as being about

shifting the focus of educational activity from teaching to learning, skills to

thinking, content to process, and teacher instruction to student demonstration.

According to the Handbook on Typology, Outcomes-Based Education, and

Institutional Sustainability Assessment published by CHED, CHED is committed

to developing competency-based learning standards that comply with existing

international standards when applicable (e.g. outcomes-based education for

fields like engineering and maritime education) to achieve quality and enable a

more effective integration of the intellectual discipline, ethos and values

associated with liberal education.

CHED defines outcomes-based education (OBE) as an approach that

focuses and organizes the educational system around what is essential for all

learners to know, value, and be able to do to achieve a desired level of

competence. OBE is open to incorporating discipline-based learning areas that

currently structure HEI curricula. For the HEIs, this means describing the

attributes of their ideal graduates based on their visions and missions as part of

their institutional goals or outcomes, and using these as bases for developing

specific program outcomes. Program outcomes are the sets of competencies

(related knowledge, skills, and attitudes) that all learners are expected to

demonstrate. Institutional or program outcomes may also emphasize lifelong

learning. For instance, HEIs could describe the attributes of their ideal graduates

which they expect to see five years after graduation. These desired outcomes

have to be translated to what the students learn in specific courses. The HEI

should ensure that at the level of the courses, the desired course and learning

outcomes are attained with the proper content, methodologies, and student

performance assessment.
Course outcomes refer to the knowledge, values, and skills all learners

are expected to demonstrate at the end of a course. Learning outcomes may

result from a specific lesson, although it is sometimes used interchangeably with

course outcomes. Thus, in the hierarchy, learning outcomes are seen as building

blocks toward course outcomes, which in turn, support the program outcomes.

Implementing OBE further translates to the quality and orientation of the faculty

members in charge of the courses. This may be more crucial than a total change

of systems and structures, that is, education managers and faculty internalize the

attitude that the core mission of teaching HEIs is to build the learning

competencies and the ability to continuously learn of the students, as well as to

mobilize resources and methods, including conventional pedagogies, which

would enhance learning. In the OBE paradigm, there is a shift in the focus of

education from an inputs-based, teacher-centered instruction paradigm to an

outcomes-based, learner-centered educational paradigm.

University of San Jose-Recoletos school administrators on the other hand

have opted to make the outcomes-based education grading system more

extensive. Last school year 2015-2016, the university bravely reformed its

grading system to Outcome-Based Education (OBE) through the implementation

of FISMO. During the transition stage, the faculties in each department have

undergone seminars and training in cooperation with the faculties in the

education department. The seminars and trainings are lead by Dr. Jestoni Babia

the dean of the college of education and graduate school of education of the

same university. These activities were conducted in order to explain thoroughly

the substance of FISMO and how this more extensive grading system is to be

executed in class.

The teachers of the subjects being offered must assign activities to the

students in line with the five components. Accordingly, the level of difficulty of the

activities administered must be increasing as reflected with the grade percentage

assigned in each component. The implementation of the new grading system has

produced both positive and negative effect to the students. Positive in a way that

the students will be forced to exert effort and understand the subject taken and

negative in a way that the new grading system takes up a lot of time from the

students. Implementing the new grading system is really a brave move thus its

effectiveness as to learning is yet to be known.