CLAS Dean Asst. Prof. Darwin Rungduin explains further details about the mandatory written midterm exams during a sit-down interview. Photo by JR Padlan
In the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS) department, it is already typical for major courses to require an output-based product as a midterm requirement for students. With this type of prerequisite, students are able to apply what they have learned by giving products that meet the demands of their professors.
All these changed when professors, even instructors, under CLAS started announcing that the midterm examinations shall now be in a written format. CLAS Dean Asst. Prof. Darwin Rungduin required all CLAS faculty members to administer written examinations during the midterm period, starting this semester.
EXPOUNDING THE PURPOSE
Rungduin said that the reason he demanded for such examinations was because he wanted a balance of content and of practice.
"We cannot just simply require students to do things without theoretical or conceptual handles on such. We cannot require students to swim without teaching them theoretically how to swim," he explained. "It is as same as we cannot require students to come up with a research paper without knowing the concepts underlying the concept of research."
He then reiterated that the students must always be grounded with a high level of appreciation to concepts. "These theories and concepts are the things students will bring with them when they do a practical application," he added, saying that courses that are into productions were not exempted. "The students who are required to do production also must have a full grasp and appreciation of the principles of production. It is not only the technical abilities that we are developing here."
Observing the principle of test development and construction, the dean proposed at least 50-item written examination, saying that the longer the test, the better.
Rungduin even clarified that a longer test doesn't intend to make the examination more difficult for the students but rather to give chances to students who know maybe few.
Moreover, this requirement intends to strengthen the validity and reliability of the assessment given by the professors to their students’ performance. "If students fail, it just a reflection of their actual performance or capability, both of what they know and what they can do," the dean stressed.
The dean then reminded that the creative and critical thinking will always be present, even if the midterm requirement is in a test-form.
STUDENTS' VARYING REACTIONS
As every class was informed by its respective professors and instructors before the midterm period started, the policy required by the dean has received different reactions from the students.
4th year Broadcasting student Oliver Mallari shared his opinion on this matter. "Okay naman siya. Okay siya for the sake of kailangan paminsan-minsan mag-function 'yung mga utak namin sa pag-aaral at pagme-memorize," he said.
However, Mallari said this is only applicable to his subjects like Theology and Media Laws. "Sa field kasi namin, hindi tulad sa business or science-related programs, natututunan 'yung mga bagay through experiences and exposures," he said. “Hindi kami natututo dahil lang nagkabisado kami ng meaning ng television, radio, or kung sino mang tao ang nag-imbento ng mga bagay na 'to.”
For Micha Cabrera, the required written exam is not new anymore since she is currently taking up AB Legal Management that doesn’t require much production. “From the very start talaga, palaging written ang exams namin, and mostly more on essay,” she said.
Likewise, John Renzo Espinosa, a Political Science student, does not see anything wrong with the required midterm examinations. “That’s okay because for me, written exam is one of the good ways to evaluate kung may natututunan ang mga students,” he said.
Even so, he is thinking on how it would be applied in their major subjects like Local Government Code and Administrative Laws.
“For example, our professor requires us to go to our chosen Local Government Units, provincial, city, municipality or barangay and in a way, those kind of requirements boost our speaking skills, how to talk to the governors, mayors, and alike,” he shared.
And with that, Renzo said that after the said immersion, they are going to present to their professors what they have learned, encountered problems, as well as the process and recommendations. “That would serve as our midterm exam,” he said.
In spite of this, students still see this as a preparation to finally apply all the things they have learned to their final examinations, may it be a production or paper work.