Guitar Babe took the ALS A&E exam last Sunday, January 25, 2015. I may have mentioned in the past that she is already in college and is doing very well – she’s on the Dean’s List for the last two trimesters, however she got into her college without the benefit of her high school diploma. “What?! How did that happen???” You may be wondering. So let me back track a bit.
My children have not been enrolled with any homeschool provider for the last two years. Because of this, Guitar Babe does not have a high school transcript / diploma. I found out from a teacher friend of mine about DepEd Alternative Learning System (ALS). ALS allows out-of-school youth 15 years and above and adults who did not have the benefit of studying in a formal high school a chance to earn their high school diploma. This was a God-send to us because it solves our problem of a high school diploma.
At that time, I was not aware that there were already ALS centers near where we live. So I went in search of ALS online. I found ALS Modules in English and Filipino, printed these for ther to study. However, I was a little worried because Guitar Babe was already 18 years old and it was time for her to be in college. One day, I decided to visit a college near our home and inquire. There I explained that my daughter was homeschooled and that she is still working on her ALS diploma. In the meanwhile, would they accept her into their college so she could start earning her college credits. They agreed but with the condition that she can only get her grades from the college when she completes her (ALS) requirements. At this time, she is already at the start of the third trimester of her first year in college. So there, I am sharing this with you as this may be something some of you can do for your college-age children while waiting for the ALS exam and result.
Back to the ALS A&E exam last Sunday. I learned of the date of the exam from another homeschool mom. Immediately I went online and made a search. I saw that the exam last Sunday for NCR was the last and only one for last year. I also found out that DepEd had a site dedicated to the ALS (link above) and that our city has a DepEd ALS site as well. I called up the number on this site and found out the following:
- My daughter can take the exam as a walk-in examinee. Walk-ins are given a slot to take the exam when another registered student did not arrive to take the exam.
- The requirements to take this exam are only three things: a photocopy of her NSO birth certificate, 2 pcs 2×2 ID with nametag and a filled-up application form.
- Walk-ins are given a slot on a first come, first serve basis so we had to be at the exam venue as early as 5:00AM.
The exam is scheduled to be 4.5 hours long and is given in Tagalog. The first part is essay and the second part is multiple choice. The essay part can be answered in Tagalog or English, but not Taglish.
We arrived at the testing center at 5:30AM and there were already a lot of students milling about. Everyone was in a white shirt which concerned me so we decided to go home so Guitar Babe can change into a white shirt. When we got back, a line had already formed for the walk-ins. A nice lady was giving instructions to the walk-ins. She also had control of the line, telling everyone where to line up and to not let anybody cut the line. All of the people from DepEd were very helpful and answered all my questions. The test started for the registered examinees as soon as they arrived. At 8:30 am, they started counting how many slots were still available. They said that there were many examinees who did not come so all of the walk-ins will be accommodated. It’s a good thing that I decided to stay to ensure that Guitar Babe will be given a slot. Because while all the other DepEd staff were strict with the first come, first serve rule, one guy from the DepEd office started pulling examinees from the line and created a second line for them. A lot of people were already complaining that he made others cut the line. Of course this was very frustrating and together with the other teachers and parents, we spoke up and complained. He denied it and tried to fix the mess he created. Finally, all the examinees were inside. I heaved a big sigh of relief.
At noontime, I went back to the testing center and waited for my daughter to finish. Since she went in at 9:20AM, I knew she would maximize the full 4.5 hours alloted to them. I was surprised when she came out after 3 hours but assumed that she must have found the test easy and finished early. However, the first thing she asked me was what time she should have finished it. I said, you should still have about an hour to finish your test. She was a little agitated and said that the proctor asked all of them to turn in their exam booklets even if they were not yet finished. She said that a few of them were asking the proctor to let them finish the exam, but the proctor was firm and insisted that the instructions given to them was that they should be finished by 12:45PM. We went back inside to look for the DepEd staff that I met earlier. Good thing they were all just inside the gate. When my daughter told them what happened and that she wasn’t able to finish the exam, they were aghast and went with my daughter to look for the proctor. They said that the instructions for the walk-ins was that their time should be adjusted according to whatever time they started their test. With their help, my daughter was able to finish her test. Apparently, the proctor did not understand the instructions about the walk ins, as she claimed. It may be that, or she may also be in a hurry to go home since it was a Sunday.
Guitar Babe said that the essay part was very easy for her. The question was “Ano ang epekto ng cellphone sa buhay mo?”. The other questions were also easy. What she found harder were the other Tagalog words that she did not understand. That’s why it was important for her to finish the whole test because there were quite a number of questions where she wasn’t sure if she understood the questions or not.
We’re happy that she was able to take the ALS Accreditation and Equivalency Exam. This is a huge help to her. The results will come out some time in April. In the meanwhile, she’s happily back to her studies in college.
I already registered my other daughter in ALS so she can take the next exam. But that’s for another post. I hope this will help you in making a decision for your own homeschooled high school child.
Some links to check out:
- Department of Education Alternative Learning System
- ALS Reviewers and Sample Essay Questions
- ALS Modules in English and Filipino
- ALS Online Reviewer and Exam Results
- ALS Result
Want to know how Guitar Babe fared in her ALS exam? Read my update next.