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Did recomputation result in injustice?

Did recomputation result in injustice?

By Associate Professor Zenaida Famorca, RN, MPH, University of Santo Tomas

The Philippine Nurse Licensure Examination on June 11 and 12, 2006, was marred by leakage. The Board of Nursing, in Resolution 31, Series of 2006, admitted that this was so, at least in Tests 3 and 5 where 20 and 90 items, respectively, were leaked before June 11.

In the resolution the board decided to invalidate the 20 leaked questions and use the remaining 80 questions as the basis for giving scores in Test 3. The board then said that “since 90 out of the 100 questions in Test 5 were established to be leaked, [it] considered that invalidating the [90 questions] would leave only 10 valid questions which would not be sufficient to determine competency.” To be able to come up with a score in Test 5, the board decided to use a formula, as follows:

S1 + S2 + S3 + S4
Ave. 1 = ——————————————

S1 + S2 + S3 + S4 + S5
Ave. 2 = ———————————————

Ave. 1 + Ave. 2
Final grade of Test 5 = ————————

where S1, S2, S3, S4 and S5 represent the scores in Tests 1, 2, 3, 4, and Test 5 correspondingly.

To determine the final grade in the licensure examination, a simple average of Test 1 to 5 was obtained.

In an article published in a major daily, “So That the Public May Know: The Real Issues on the Leakage on Nursing Examination—The Answer,” the board claims “the computation did not include the leaked questions, they [the beneficiaries of the leakage] lost their undue advantage from the leakage.” In the article the board said “the [Philippine Regulation Commission] invalidated leaked questions and recomputed grades based only on the valid questions.” These statements are inaccurate as can be seen in the formula that used S5 to compute Ave. 2.

Clearly the board treated the leaked examination questions differently. Whereas it invalidated the leaked questions in Test 3, it went on to use the original score in Test 5 as a basis to derive an artificial score for the test. The question is: why treat leaked questions differently? Why nullify the 20 items of Test 3 without nullifying the 90 items of Test 5?

Because only 80 items were used as the basis for the score of Test 3, each item in Test 3 had a greater weight than the questions in the other tests. Look at this in the light of the fact that this score was used to determine the score of Test 5 and again in determining the overall performance of the candidate in the licensure examination.

The five-test nurse licensure examination has a test framework based on 11 nursing competencies that the professional nurse must apply in whatever field of practice she may be. The fields of practice are covered in each of the five tests, with topics designated for each test. Test 1 is on Foundations of Nursing Practice, which covers theories, concepts, principles and processes basic to the practice of nursing, including basic nursing skills in the care of clients across age groups in any setting.

The other tests cover particular client conditions grouped logically according to different areas of nursing practice. To illustrate the relationship between the 11 basic nursing competencies and the body of knowledge, skills and attitudes that the nurse must possess specific to the field of practice she or he may be in, let us consider a major competency: safe and quality nursing care. This means that the professional nurse must be able to provide safe and quality nursing care, for example, to a pregnant woman or to a newborn (topics included in Test 2); to an asthmatic 32-year-old or to a hypertensive 52-year-old (Test 3); to a teenager with chicken pox or to a 44-year-old woman with breast cancer (Test 4); or to an elderly man who had a stroke or a 25-year-old woman with depression (Test 5).

As can be seen in the formula applied by the board, the final score of Test 5 was derived from the scores of Tests 1 to 4 and, partly, from the actual score that the examinee got in Test 5. This is unacceptable, considering that Tests 1 to 4 content areas are different from those of Test 5. This is similar to computing a score for Math based on the scores from say Music, Art, English and Biology. The Test 5 score that appears in the examinee’s record does not reflect her competencies in caring for the man who had a stroke or the woman with depression, as in the example above. In short, the examinee’s score in Test 5 is nothing short of a lie.

The same board resolution states, “The passing rate of the examinees in Test 5 where the leakage was substantial turned out to be lower than the other tests, thus disproving the theory that the leakage was widespread.” Further, it says, “The performance of the regional examination sites did not show remarkable significance in Test 5, thus further making it difficult to determine the widespread impact of the leakage.” Translation: Statistical methods applied by the Professional Regulation Commission failed to show the effect of the leakage on the scores of the examinees and, if one is to look at the scores, one cannot determine who among the examinees benefited from the leakage.

This being so, why did the commission and the board apply the formula to all of the results of Test 5? Application of this score is unjust to the examinees, particularly the honest examinees who got good scores in Test 5 on the basis of their own efforts. In fact, applying this formula may have spelled the difference between passing or failing among those who had borderline grades. It may also have meant the passing of examinees who actually failed to qualify according to law. It is obvious therefore that the commission and the board failed to separate the chaff from the grain, lumping all the board “passers,” both the competent and the incompetent, in one big group. This is surely unfair to the competent examinees.

The Philippine Nursing Law of 2002 has stringent criteria for entry into the nursing profession. It requires an examinee to “obtain a general average of at least 75 percent with a rating of not below 60 percent in any subject. An examinee who obtains an average rating of 75 percent or higher but gets a rating below 60 percent in any subject must take the examination again but only in the subject or subjects where he/she is rated below 60 percent. In order to pass the succeeding examination, an examinee must obtain a rating of at least 75 percent in the subject or subjects repeated.”

Each subject is given due value in the law, thus the legal requirement of an examinee getting a rating of at least 60 percent in each of the subjects. In other words, each subject is discrete from the others.

This law is meant precisely to protect the public against persons who are not qualified to practice nursing. Certainly, many of those who were listed as having passed the June 2006 licensure examination possess the required competencies of a beginning nurse professional. But with the manner by which the commission and the board dealt with the leakage issue, it has failed to discriminate between the competent and the incompetent, at the very least, in the area of nursing practice covered by Test 5. It acted with “compassion” for the examinees in the passing list it published, forgetting that it exists for the protection of the general public. The commission and the board have failed to live up to their raison d’être


Yes, the recomputation in Test 5 resulted in injustice--dahil hindi na dapat ginawa ito. Dapat totally excluded na lang, gaya ng precedent sa 2003 bar exams na totally excluded ang leakage-tainted Mercantile Law at wala ng retake!

... Hindi lang yon 1st poster, nung 1996, meron leakage sa Physical Therapist exam na ang nakinabang ay UST! To make the long story short, hindi sila nagreklamo sa adjustment na ginawa ng PRC which is most likely the same sa ginawa nilang adjustment ngayon kasi UST ang involved nun. Happy sila that time kasi gusto nila matahimik ang leakage at mapapahiya sila.. Ang kkapal nyo UST faculty & administration! No wonder, mga suma cum laude nyo e hindi pumasa!

Yes, there was injustice, to those who might not have passed because of the treatment. Kaya nga pwede ka mag retake VOLUNTARILY!

Yes there was injustice to those who passed, cause they could have gotten higher grades!

But the greatest injustice is when you call these passers incompetent & cheats! Who the hell are you to judge them?

REMEMBER: These 17,000 plus passers, despite a downgrading of their scores, still passed!

REMEMBER: These 17,000 plus passers, are better than the "Cum Laude's " of a supposed to be elite & well educated school being that of UST.

"GREAT INJUSTICE" indeed when MEDIA PEOPLE, authorities, educators & professionals use their POWER & POSITIONS to grandstand, to pursue their malicious intent, to cover -up their failures, to grab power from others "or even to fight for a GOOD CAUSE" by means of sacrificing the rights & liberty of the INNOCENT!

Well said, 11:41 PM poster.


The computation, muddled the whole grading of all those who took the exam. By doing so, as the article mentioned, some of those who passed might have actually failed in a non"treated" computation, in the same way some of those who failed might have actually passed. THRE IS WHERE THE INJUSTICE IS.

Voluntary retake? Bakit ang drug test ba sa LTO voluntary? Ang final exam ba sa school voluntary? The voluntary retake position is actually a none position, showing PRCs desire to take off the heat from their seeming lack of BALLS to take a strong stand to correct a mistake done within their walls!

PRC should be blamed for these!!

Ang hina naman sa arithmetic.

Ang PRC ay may two choices:

Una, retake--42,000 ang uulit ng exam.

Pangalawa, me recomputation pero no retake--25,000 non-passers lang ang uulit.

So, mas mainam ang ginawa ng PRC, nabawasan ng 42% ang uulit ng exam.

Now, yung ang gusto ay 42,000 sa halip na 25,000 lang ang uulit, hindi na justice yan, CRAB MENTALITY na yan!!!

12:03 poster... If you feel that there was injustice that's why you failed or passed with low grades, then take a retest (voluntarily) instead of you trying to ask everybody to retake the test. That's where the selfish moyive of the retake stand is very evident.

Common sense:

Examinee A wants a retake (for whatever personal injustice commited to him/her

Examinee B wants a no-retake (whether he feels there was injustice or not)

If we go for a retake, unfair for examinee B.

If we go for a no-retake, unfair for examinee A.

So how do we compromise since both complains of examinee A & B are valid?

Retake for those who want only is fair enough for both camps unless the pro-retake selfishly wants the passers to go through it all again like them. What for? What does it concern you? Nothing, just being selfish.

If you failed, then a voluntary retake favors you.

If you passed w/ low grades & feel that you could have topped the exams, then a voluntary retake may place you at the top.

If you think some of the passers passed unjustly, then prove it, don't speculate. The burden of proof is on your back. Who are we to judge?

Your a bit right about blaming PRC, but the whole mess is the product of the whole philippine system & Filipino crab mentality.

In fairness to PRC, whether they had fault or not, their decision were sensible & pro-examinee. Otherwise, if they have opted for a retake, they would have been praised by the majority. It only shows they that they chose to be JUST than SELFISH.

If you can't understand this & the whole Philippine politics & justice, your either naive or just a plain crab yourself.

Okay, sa LTO, ang drug test ay hindi voluntary--pero may nag-retake ba dito? Sa totoo nga, baka yung iba, ni walang actual test sa LTO, pero pasado, tulad ng bulag na na-televised na nakakuha ng lisensiya!

Okay, sa school, ang final exam hindi voluntary--pero magbigay ka nga ng kahit isang actual example ng school na out of total students who took the exam, pag may ilang nahuling nag-cheating, ang entire class ay retake ng exam.

Kahit nga UST, inamin sa TV, pag may ilang nandaya sa klase nila, they do not ask the entire class to retake!!!

A recomputation has to be done because the alternative is to have 42,000 retake the exam.

With the recomputation, may ilang adversely affected perhaps, but those who would retake was reduced to 25,000.

Whatever was the rule followed, it was applied to ALL examinees. Those who passed are those with higher grades in all subjects, so what is wrong with that? The recompuation resulted in a more rigid or high-mortality exam--meaning, only the more qualified passed, why quarrel with that?


This whole thing is not a matter of the 42K, 17K who passed and the 24K who did not. It is a question if the computation done for the grade is warranted, kung DAPAT bang nagrecompute. That desision should and could not be based on the "numbers". So hindi po sya matter of arithnetic.

Your reasoning of crab mentality does not hold water. Think of another line of arguement, something more objective and substantive.


Arithmtic is involved, because we have to consider the greatest good for the greatest number--unless we are no longer living in
a democracy.

For as long as the SAME METHODOLOGY IS APPLIED TO ALL, there is nothing wrong. PRC has to deviate from the usual method because there is an emergency, there was cheating. So, what do you want, for PRC to do NOTHING, for PRC not to think at all about the side of innocent examinees, and to simply ask the 42,000 to retake? Lalong palpak yan.

Those who failed under recomputation failed because their grades were not high enough in all subjects compared to passers--that cannot be helped under the circumstances. As stated, what is wrong is for PRC to do NOTHING and simply ask RETAKE of the 42,000 examinees!!!

When you say hindi CRAB MENTALITY yan, what is your substantiation of that gratuitous statement?

So, okay, hindi crab mentality--naghahanap lang ng DAMAY! Ganun din yun!

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