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DOST’s free online reviewer for scholarship exams up

QUEZON CITY — Graduating elementary students wishing to get a scholarship and study at the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) may now access the PSHS Reviewer in preparation for the entrance examination that will be held on September 18, 2013 nationwide.

A free online reviewer was developed for this purpose.

According to Dr. Rowena Cristina L. Guevara, Executive Director of the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST-PCIEERD), the online reviewer is ready and may be accessed via these sites: pshsreviewer.org and pshsreviewer.dost.gov.ph.

Since this is internet-based, it is accessible to any interested party, most especially to those who wish to simulate the examination, or those cannot afford to enroll in private review centers or have no access at all to such reviewers. This is also the official practice test provided by the PSHS.

The DOST continuously encourages students to pursue science and technology (S&T) courses through several means, two of which are the (1) Philippine Science High School (PSHS) system for the high school level and (2) DOST Science Education Institute (SEI) scholarships for the undergraduate level. Both approaches provide scholarship benefits to successful examinees, allowing them to pursue their studies, with strong encouragement to follow the S&T track.

There is high demand for these scholarships and this has even resulted in external parties offering review classes, particularly for the PSHS National Competitive Examination (NCE).

Some schools also offer their students their own review classes to increase their passing rate in the examination. These review classes may provide advantages to the examinees in terms of familiarization with the examination itself (type of questions, format of examination, time restrictions, topics covered, etc.). Assuming all other things being equal, the examinee who has undergone practice tests, either via formal or informal review classes, stands a greater chance of doing better in the examinations versus the examinee who has not undergone any practice test, DOST said in a statement.

Currently, the PSHS NCE examination is paper-based; that is administered throughout the country.

Reviews for the examinations are often provided by private entities, either via dedicated review schools or special review classes in mostly private schools. There are also reviewers that could be purchased from local bookstores which candidates can use in anticipation of the real examination.

The chances of passing the PSHS NCE examination could be improved with better test-taking strategies and practice drills that familiarize examinees with what to expect in the given examination.

The official DOST online reviewer provides a uniform and accessible practice test environment, from which examinees could simulate the actual PSHS examination. The questions were randomly drawn from a pool provided by PSHS and the question grouping, time constraints, and format follow the actual examination.

In developing the software, Dr. Susan P. Festin, the Project Leader, said that they benchmarked against current industry practice for online testing such as SHL (SHL, 2013) and ExamBuilder (ExamBuilder, 2013).

Both are businesses that provide companies with assessment tools across various sectors. SHL provides a portfolio of more than 1000 off-the-shelf assessment tests, while ExamBuilder provides exam authoring, delivery, reporting, and analytics. Both charge fees for this service. ExamBuilder starts at USD 695 for 50 licenses (exam takers) or USD 13.90/examinee. SHL’s pricing depends on the type of assessment that would be acquired.

Dr. Guevara said that the free online reviewer for the SEI examination is also expected to be up in the coming weeks. The DOST-PCIEERD is the monitoring agency for the development of the software programs under its S&T human resource program.

October 23, 2014 07:53:38