Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Friday, May 7, 2010
Friday, April 30, 2010
Much of what I am feeling, and what I want to say now, you can read from that post (Lessons Learned from PhilNITS, May 8, 2009).
I am glad that 5 passed from Davao this time. I am glad that three of them I helped with their review, and of those three two were just third year college Computer Science students of UP Mindanao. But...
I know how to accept failure. Having conducted PhilNITS reviews for several years now, I have had my share of crushed expectations. But for me, believe it or not, more important than the present result is the improvement gained each time. It might take some time, but if I can show improvements every time, however small they may be, time will come when we can consistently produce good results.
The probem is, I am not seeing any improvement in the results from our review program. I would like to think we already covered all bases we can possibly can, but still the result doesn't seem to show any pattern at all, aside from it being consistently low (around 3 passers only everytime). Here are some of the possible causes that prevents us from getting a better performance, and what actions were taken to try to resolve them, or why I believe they should not be a reason for us not to pass the exam:
- Not enough resource/reference materials for review ==> We have gathered around 15 years of past exams (some from translated Japanese exams); received an exam handbook containing almost two hundred past questions with solutions; received a softcopy of the preparation book for IT passport; received a hardcopy of the FE preparation book; received copies of several lecture materials about fundamental IT concepts; and we even use one or two Japanese reviewer books. I usually tell my review participants that we actually have more than enough review materials that we can feasibly comprehend during our limited review time.
- Not enough focus/time is being given for the review ==> Busy with schoolworks (thesis, SP, exams, school activities, etc.) is one the usual excuses. But come to think of it, so are the other students in other schools. Teachers who passed the exams I would think are even busier with their teaching loads, not to mention their having to take care of their family and kids when they get home. As I usually advise my review participants, do not expect to secure 1 hour or longer review periods from your usual schedule, but instead, try to find those packets of time (around 5 to 20 minutes) which I fondly call "nakaw na sandali". These would include lunch breaks, snack breaks, travel time, even CR time. Added up, they amount to almost 2 hours of review per day.
- Lacking of motivation and desire to pass the exam ==> In this trying times wherein even the best graduates find it hard to find a good job, what can be a better motivation than an almost certain job offer if you pass the exam. Don't you think a three-year training in Japan, then going back to Davao and establishing the company here, a good deal? All you have to do is pass the exam, and you are almost certain they will offer you the job. of course not all who take the exam would have the same motivations, but I strongly believe there are quite a few (at least 30%) are highly motivated.
- Fundamental concepts learned at school is not sufficient ==> I can agree that our schools' current curriculum can use some revising/improving, but students from lesser known schools were able to pass the exam. Even older examinees whose curricullum during their generation I suppose is already obsolete by today's standard, are able to pass the exam. And in our review program, we even have a system to identify which are your weak areas, so you can give focus on improving those areas particularly.
- The review program is not very effective ==> Assuming this is true. But still, some students have passed the exam even without the benefit of an organized review, without access to the materials that we have. All they have to rely on are the materials they can freely get from the Web.
- The exam is really impossible to pass ==> This one I cannot accept. If Manila and Cebu can show 10 to 20% passing ratio, I cannot accept that students from Davao cannot do the same, or even better. I simply refuse to believe that students from other cities are much better than ours.
- The format of the recent exam was changed (from previous) without any warning ==> True. It has caught us off-guard and by surprise, and may have even caused unnecessary nervousness during the exam. But the examinees from other cities also experienced the same, but still they managed to pass the exam.
Maybe I have written too much already. Maybe all I really wanted to say is that I do not know what to do anymore to effect an improvement for the next review program. The last few exams seems to show that the result is really unexpected always. Would it be wise to just conduct the review any which way, without much strategy and planning, and just leave the passing or failing of the exam to mere 'chance'?