Monday, November 10, 2014

Poor performance in the BLEPP 2014, whose fault?

(Note: The article below was submitted to us by one of our readers. A reflection and constructive feedback to schools, department heads and teachers offering course in Psychology. We hope you can share your sentiments and feedback if you resonate or dissent/disagree to the article contributor.)

"The board exam performance of our school says a lot about their Psychology program," my friend who is currently working in the Middle East told me. He has a point. After all, he graduated in one of the best schools in the Philippines - a school that enjoys a passing rate of 80%-96% on a yearly basis and always included among the  top 10 schools of good performance in most licensure examinations. Both of us graduated from the same school,  known as "Home of the Topnotchers" in our city. But the passing rate of the Psychology graduates who took the BLEPP 2014 is such an eye sore compared to the glorious passing records that other programs or courses enjoy.

I rationalized "first time pa naman kasi, nasa establishing at transition stage pa lang." But then, after seeing the national passing rate of 39%, and comparing and contrasting the passing rates of other colleges, I know that something is not right. 

After much thought, I decided to write a list of the things that the various Psychology Departments here in the Philippines should improve on. This is based on my personal experiences and observations of the various schools I've visited and attended. It is also informed by anecdotes and experiences of my friends who are Psychology graduates from other schools. I am not fond of sugar-coating since it does not lead to  improvement. So, here it goes:

1. Lack of regular and competent instructors to teach the fundamental Psychology subjects

Our batch from our school struggled on fundamental Psychology and other important subjects (namely Statistics). Teachers were either part-time, always late or  absent, or too incompetent or too lazy to teach. My close friend from another colleges also said the same thing of their teachers.  She said that their teacher in Abnormal Psychology would even ask them what their topic when they have class. What also affected us is that some teachers were forced to teach subjects they  have no interest or no strong knowledge or background to begin with.  And it negatively affected the way they taught the subject. In the end, we learned almost nothing about the subjects except for the personality quirks, nuances, and life stories of our teachers.

2. Reading fundamental Psychology books are not encouraged or properly utilized.

Some students have stated that they were not properly taught on how to use the DSM (!) in their college years. Other students would say that they would buy books, yet end up not using it. Some would not use books, and instead, resort to photocopies, powerpoint slides, and handouts given to them.

3. Too much focus on the Clinical aspect of Psychology, less focus on the other fields of Psychology

Many Psychology students are confident in the field of Abnormal Psychology, but struggle in understanding the concepts and terminologies in I/O Psychology, Psychological Assessment, and etc. Many graduates desire to work in the clinical setting, but ended up working in the I/O field. However, their knowledge in the I/O field of Psychology is not as strong compared to their knowledge in the clinical field.

4. Lack of practical application training in Psychological Assessment

Some schools offer Psych Assessment for one semester only, while other schools offer it for two semesters. Psych Assessment is a wide field and one semester is not enough to learn the theoretical and practical implications of Psychological tests. Many students know the value of reliability and validity of tests, yet still 
struggle on making psychological reports, interpreting and correlating different results from different tests, and on administering exams to a group.

5. Review centers are helpful, but are more beneficial if the Psychology graduate has a strong conceptual knowledge and application to begin with.

Many students enrolled themselves in review centers, paid fees, yet failed. Review centers reinforce, enhance and strengthen knowledge in Psychology, but can be rendered useless if the graduate has a weak knowledge base to begin with.

I hope Psychology Department heads and teachers who read this piece would make ways to improve their Psychology Programs in their respective schools. I would also hope that students and graduates who would take the BLEPP 2015 would improve their knowledge and skills in Psychology to better prepare themselves in the exam and in their career.

Thank you guys and God bless.

- The French Baker

In the Philippines there are only three universities that are considered Center of Excellence for their Psychology Program and one university as Center for Development.

From the above list of universities categorized as Centers of Excellence and Development for their Psychology Program, the following schools produced students who made it to top 10 highest places in the exam:

1) Ateneo de Davao University
2) Saint Paul University - Tuguegarao
3) Manila Tytana Colleges
4) Trinity University of Asia
5) Mirriam College
6) Laguna College
7) Saint Louis University
8) Centro Escolar University
9) Canossa College
10) University of the Philippines - Angeles City

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