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Simpler license exams sought

TWO lawmakers have filed a resolution urging the Professional Regulation Commission (PRC) to deliver all future licensure examinations via individual appointment and computerized adaptive testing (CAT) in a workstation at a secure facility.

In House Resolution (HR) No. 1325, Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr. and Surigao del Norte Rep. Francisco Jose ‘Bingo’ Matugas II cited the administration of the NCLEX – America’s licensure examination for nurses – as the best new template for all future professional eligibility tests in the Philippines.

They pointed out that the NCLEX is efficiently and tightly conducted hrough a simple three-step process:

. The candidate submits online an application for licensure/registration;

. The candidate pays the testing fee online and books an ppointment online with a selected testing center; and

. On the appointed date and time, the candidate proceeds to the esignated center for biometric ID verification right before taking he examination in a delivery workstation watched by cameras.

In 2019 alone, a total of 316,074 U.S. and foreign-educated nurses, including 12,786 Filipinos, took the NCLEX by individual appointment in various testing locations around the world, one of which is in Makati.

The NCLEX is delivered via CAT. Every time an examinee answers an item, the computer estimates the examinee’s ability based on all the previous answers and the difficulty of those items.

The computer then selects the next item that the examinee should have a 50 percent chance of answering correctly.

“Our proposal is consistent with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive, made during his fifth State of the Nation Address, for all government agencies to digitize and adopt paperless transactions to avoid large gatherings and public queueing,” Campos and Matugas said.

The PRC has for years been conducting large-scale licensure testing for various professions annually or semi-annually.

In these examinations, candidates congregate by the hundreds in regional centers to simultaneously take mostly paper-and-pencil tests delivered through booklets.

On account of the COVID-19 pandemic, the PRC has cancelled several examinations scheduled this year.

In their resolution, Campos and Matugas noted that delays in the delivery of eligibility tests have held up the licensing of many Filipino professionals, including new doctors, nurses and medical technologists badly needed to help the government fight the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The holdups have also stalled the licensing and gainful employment here at home and abroad of Filipino professionals such as architects, engineers and teachers,” the lawmakers said.

Campos and Matugas strongly urged the PRC to prepare so that future licensure examinations, where possible, may be delivered in the same manner as the NCLEX.