A CQA workshop for NORSU North Cluster 1 professors as they review an Education course syllabus using the Beginning Teacher Indicators (BTIs). Photo by NORSU

Negros Oriental State University (NORSU) Vice-President for Academic Affairs Dr. Rosemarie Pinili believes that for students to develop a keen interest in what they study, they should be taught concepts and lessons that are relevant to their future professional lives.

“This is what we offer now at NORSU,” Dr Pinili said. “Instead of giving students purely declarative knowledge, we teach them case-based scenarios and simulations of the real world of work. We make sure that our program objectives really support the future careers of our students.”

Dr. Pinili attributes this academic transformation to the Curriculum Quality Audit (CQA) process that RCTQ introduced to them along with 31 other teacher education institutions (TEIs) in 2017-2018.

Through the CQA process, TEIs learned to revise and align their respective teacher education curricula with the new teacher quality standards triggered by the K to 12 education reform and as set out in the Philippine Professional Standards for Teachers (PPST).

Left photo: Closing Ceremony and Recognition of selected Centers of Excellence (COE) and Centers of Development (COD) in Teacher Education after completing the second batch of Outcome-based Pre-service Teacher Education Program: Curriculum Quality Audit (CQA) Phase 3 at Hotel H2O on August 3, 2018. The Negros Oriental State University was represented by Dr. Rose Marie Pinili, Vice President for Academic Affairs. Right photo: Plaque awarded to NORSU by the Development Academy of the Philippines

With the help of RCTQ’s Australian research partner—the SiMERR National Research Centre—CQA was primarily designed and introduced in the Philippines by RCTQ as a way to help TEIs review and improve their pre-service teacher education curricula and make them outcome-based, among others. NORSU was invited in 2017 as a CQA partner by virtue of its designation as a Center for Development (COD) for Teacher Education in Central Visayas.

An RCTQ team led by then RCTQ Deputy Director Dr. Jennie Jocson helped them audit 15 courses randomly selected from the old teacher education curriculum of CHED as used across the NORSU campuses.

“The result supported the call for constructive alignment of the Vision-Mission of NORSU, CHED’s Policies, Standards, and Procedures (PSG) and other global regulating standards of the programs,” Dr. Estrope said.

Dr. Jennie Jocson at one of the CQA workshops for NORSU in 2018. Photo by NORSU

Beyond improving pre-service teacher education programs, however, NORSU scaled up its application of the CQA to cover not only its teacher education programs but all 75 programs in nine colleges across its nine campuses including those on business management, agriculture, engineering, technology, and nursing, among others.

NORSU’s trailblazing initiative earned them a finalist recognition at the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP) Government Best Practice Recognition 2019 with its practice on Instructional Management: The NORSU Program Standard through Curriculum Quality Audit (NPS through CQA).

“CQA is a meticulous inventory process that we use to develop new programs and re-develop existing program offerings,” said Dr. Cesar Estrope, Director of NORSU Quality Assurance Management Center. “This process enables us to have systematic, standards-based, objective, rigorous, fair, evidence-based, and documented quality assurance mechanism for the programs we offer.”

NORSU used the Beginning Teacher Indicators (BTIs) of the PPST in mapping their teacher education programs from first to fourth years. For other disciplines, they have what they call Program Outcomes and Program Indicators (POPI) Matrices which are based on the CHED PSGs, ASEAN and other international standards, and from benchmarking with best schools. From these, they identified what they coined as Beginning Graduate Indicators (BGI) as basis for curriculum mapping of non-teacher education program offerings.

NORSU CQA specialists Ms. Timmy E. Tulbo and Mr. Ralph Cardeno shared how implementing the CQA for non-education programs was not without challenges.

“We encountered difficulties in making teachers embrace this new approach because teachers in non-education programs are practitioners of their respective disclipines who have limited background in pedagogy,” said Ms Tulbo who works in NORSU Mabinay Campus that offers programs on criminology, computer science, agriculture, and industrial technology.

“With intensive training that made them internalize the importance of crafting syllabi in the language of their respective standards, we were able to pull it off,” Ms. Tulbo said. “Now, there is clear agreement between teachers and students in terms of their respective expectations.” NORSU currently has a total of 25,000 students.

Mr. Cardeno, a faculty member at the College of Arts and Sciences, said that while they had difficulties in the CQA implementation in their college, “we really took time to sit down with our teachers specially those in the mass communication for them to see the value of the process.”

“Now that we have the horizontal and vertical alignment of the content of the syllabi, our intended learning outcomes are more aligned with assessment. Our programs and courses are more organized now.” said Mr. Cardeno.

Dr. Pinili said that the CQA process made them develop standardized syllabi and uniform program indicators across disciplines in all campuses, unlike before “when teachers would just draft their respective syllabi on their own”.

“Although we have yet to see the first graduates of our revised curriculums as we are still in our third year, we are confident of impact of these curriculums to the careers of our future graduates. Looking at our program matrices and syllabi now, we are proud to have developed a NORSU brand of CQA,” Dr. Pinili said.

NORSU is currently sharing this brand by mentoring two other higher education institutions in the region on CQA: the Central Philippines State University, and the Carlos Hilado Memorial State College.

Dr. Jocson, now the Philippine Normal University Vice-President for Academic Affairs, said she is thrilled by how the CQA process has been increasingly replicated by TEIs and other state colleges and universities.

“Addressing quality in education can be done in many ways. CQA helps our students achieve quality learning outcomes by ensuring the relevance of their curriculum through constructive alignment. How NORSU expanded and customized this process to cover other disciplines is simply remarkable,” Dr. Jocson said.

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Negros Oriental State University (NORSU) Vice-President for Academic Affairs Dr. Rosemarie Pinili believes that for students to develop a keen interest in what they study, they should be taught concepts and lessons that are relevant to their future professional lives. 'This is what we offer now at NORSU,' Dr Pinili...