Wednesday, October 18, 2017

PEPT vs ALS A&E Test: Which Exam Should Homeschoolers Take?

We are at a crossroads on whether Theo should take the Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) or the Alternative Learning System (ALS) Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Test.

This school year, 2017-2018, Theo is technically in 7th grade. Since we are doing independent homeschooling, there is no document to show that he has already graduated from elementary. We do not have a diploma or any kind of tangible proof that Theo is indeed studying and is eligible to move forward to secondary education.

Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT) VS Alternative Learning System (ALS) Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Test
Photo credit: FB / DepEd.Philippines and FB / ALSReviewers
Although I know some independent homeschoolers who just go on without taking assessments such as the PEPT and the A&E Test until they are about to enroll in college, I feel that government (DepEd) accreditation would be beneficial both for Theo and for Papa Bee's peace of mind.

You see, Papa Bee, until now, is not yet 100% convinced that homeschooling is best for Theo. (smile) During countless times, however, Theo has proven to him that he (Theo) is never behind his contemporaries in terms of knowledge, abilities and character. Papa Bong even always asks Theo to edit his Facebook posts and to correct his spelling. There is just, perhaps, a small part of him that could not let go of his preference for traditional schooling.

So, our goal now, is for Theo to take either the PEPT or the A&E Test before the year ends.

Philippine Educational Placement Test (PEPT)

According to DepEd Order No. 55, s. 2016,
The Philippine Education Placement Test (PEPT) is a nationally administered assessment for learners in special circumstances. The result of this assessment will allow these learners to:
  1. access or resume schooling and/or
  2. obtain certification of completion by grade level in the DepEd formal system. Specifically, it aims to fulfill the following purposes:
    1. To establish that students have met learning standards for specific grade levels
    2. To determine the appropriate grade level of learners in special circumstances in the formal school system
    3. To assess competencies in academic areas gained through informal and nonformal means for entry or reentry into formal school
    4. To assess competencies in academic areas for entry or reentry to formal school

Alternative Learning System (ALS) Accreditation and Equivalency (A&E) Test

According to the same DepEd Order,

The Accreditation and Equivalency Tests (A&E Tests) are nationally administered tests that aim to measure the competencies and life skills of those who have not attended or finished the formal elementary or secondary education. These assessments will allow the learners to obtain certification of completion at different exits in Basic Education, which may be used to access further education, job promotion, entry to job training, and employment.

PEPT vs ALS A&E Test

I'll try to list down some of the differences between PEPT and A&E Test.
  • PEPT is administered to all grade/year levels from Grade 1 to Fourth Year high school while ALS A&E Test is administered only to Grade 6 and Fourth Year High School
  • PEPT covers the regular DepEd curriculum which are English, Math, Science and HEKASI for elementary and Araling Panlipunan for high school, while A&E Test covers 21st-century skills based on the Alternative Learning System Strands listed below:
    1. Communication Skills
    2. Critical Thinking and Problem Solving
    3. Sustainable Use of Resources and Productivity
    4. Development of Self and a Sense of Community
    5. Expanding One’s World Vision
  • An ALS A&E Test taker needs to be enrolled in the ALS program and attend sessions conducted by the Mobile Teacher, who assesses the student's performance if he/she is ready to take the test. Walk-in is not allowed in the forthcoming A&E Test (2017). A PEPT taker only needs to go to DepEd, register and submit requirements and take the test on the scheduled date.
  • ALS A&E Test is given only once a year. Unfortunately, 2016 ALS learners were not able to take the test last year because DepEd postponed it. DepEd recently opened registration for the A&E Test which will be held in November, 2017. PEPT, on the other hand, is available at least once a month (walk-in/special administration) at the DepEd main office in Pasig City with a registration fee of Php200.00, and at least once a year (regular administration every November) in district offices with a fee of Php50.00.
  • Passers of the A&E Test are given a certificate/diploma, bearing the Department of Education (DepEd) seal and the signature of the Secretary, certifying their competencies as comparable graduates of the formal school system and are qualified to enroll in secondary and post-secondary schools. A PEPT taker will be given a Certificate of Rating indicating his eligibility to move up to the next grade level, based on his age. Example: A 12-year-old takes Grade 6 level exam. If he passed, the certificate indicates that he has MET the basic requirements for Grade 7.
  • A&E Test result is based on the average of all strands. For the PEPT, just one failed subject means he is NOT eligible to move up to the next grade level. The taker needs to pass ALL subjects in order to get the eligibility to the next level.

Theo might take both PEPT and ALS A&E Test

When Theo turned 12 last May, we decided that he would take the ALS A&E Test instead of the PEPT because of the following reasons:
  • At 12, he is now qualified to take the A&E Test.
  • Passing the test would provide him an Elementary Diploma.
  • I did not feel very confident about how Theo would perform with regards to Filipino and HeKaSi that are both included in PEPT. It gave me the jitters thinking that failing either subject meant he would not be eligible to Grade 7.

I got in touch with ALS teachers here in our town. The first teacher we approached was somewhat indifferent. When I asked for updates or requested for guidelines on how to go about the process of enrolling Theo at ALS so he could take the exam, it was so hard to get any answers from her. For several weeks, I tried to get information from her but I couldn't get any clear response. It was around that time in July when word came out that there might be an ALS A&E Test on October 1 2017 for Luzon learners and on October 8 for Visayas and Mindanao learners. Since it seemed that the teacher was not keen on providing any help, I decided to contact another teacher, who happened to be the ALS mobile teacher.

In contrast, this teacher was very accommodating. She understood our situation as homeschoolers. She accepted Theo to her class. She explained that classes are not regular and she would text us whenever Theo needed to attend. Since we could also review at home, she did not require Theo to attend all classes. We thought it was a perfect scenario and everything seemed to be going well.

Alternative Learning System Class held at a public elementary school in Bulacan

However, several times, classes were postponed. Theo was able to attend one class in August, but after that, we were told that there wouldn't be classes the following week due to teachers' activities. We did not hear from the teacher for more than a month. I thought, perhaps the teacher figured out that Theo might have been too late to complete his 'portfolio.'

DepEd Order No. 55, s. 2016 states that
"A&E final assessment rating shall be determined by 50% written assessment results and 50% portfolio content. The portfolio will contain work samples and projects with corresponding rubrics. Work samples will have a weight of 40% while projects will have a weight of 60%."
I thought, it was alright if we couldn't make it to the ALS A&E Test. After all, it was still the teacher who knew best if the student was ready to take the exam.

So, while waiting for the teacher's updates, I started reviewing Theo for the PEPT using reviewers that we bought, just in case the ALS plan does not work out. Day by day, I was becoming more and more confident with the way Theo was absorbing knowledge in our 'Waterloo,' Filipino and HeKaSi. I told him, just a little more practice and he would be ready for the PEPT.

I continued to check out resources on both ALS and PEPT and found out that an important update from DepEd came out. The ALS A&E Test will be given sometime in November! Whoa! This is what every learner has been waiting for since 2016!

Just when we were almost ready with the PEPT, our very helpful ALS mobile teacher texted to inform me that registration for the ALS A&E Test has been opened and we needed to fill up the registration form and submit the requirements.

So, this was just what we did. Teacher also gave her students (including Theo) a mock exam, which served as her gauge to tell whether a student is ready for the exam or not. Theo passed!

Teacher continues to give us photocopies of reviewers and Theo answers them at home. I send her feedback of Theo's scores and time consumed per subject through Messenger. With regards to my earlier concern, which was the portfolio, DepEd issued a clarification that

"The inclusion of portfolio rating will be implemented only after the guidelines on portfolio assessment are released."

DepEd Asec G.H. Ambat, herself, clarified that for the forthcoming November 2017 A&E Test, portfolio assessment is not applicable, but will be included in the 2018 exam. She also stated that there will be NO ESSAY (yay! - Theo) in the November 2017 test.

Teacher also told us that it would be alright if Theo takes both the ALS A&E Test and the PEPT.

We are getting ready for the November ALS A&E Test and we are also going to register for the PEPT. We just need to make sure that there will be no conflict with regards to the schedule of the exams.

UPDATE: Theo Passed!

I wrote a post about the results of the ALS A&E Test for November 2017 here. Theo got the highest grade in the whole Bulacan (both Elementary and High School) with an overall score of 91.25. Praise God!


  1. Hello! I chanced upon your blog as I was researching on ALS and PEPT for a family member. Did Theo take both ALS A&E Test and the PEPT? How did it go?

    1. Hi! Theo took the ALS A&E Test last November 2017 - (Update on Theo's test result is near the end of that blog post). He passed with flying colors. In fact, according to the ALS teacher, he got the highest grade in the whole Bulacan with an overall score of 91.25. Next year, when Theo is already 14, he will be taking the PEPT as his certification for finishing Grade 8 and eligibility for Grade 9.

  2. Hello.. any update on this? Did Theo take both exams?

    1. Hi! Theo took the ALS A&E Test last November 2017 - (Update on Theo's test result is near the end of that blog post). He passed with flying colors. In fact, according to the ALS teacher, he got the highest grade in the whole Bulacan with an overall score of 91.25. Next year, when Theo is already 14, he will be taking the PEPT as his certification for finishing Grade 8 and eligibility for Grade 9.

  3. Hi! Very helpful blog post. You mentioned that some independent homeschoolers take the exams until they are about to enroll to college. Just to clarify, do they still give PEPT college eligible/qualified to enter first year college certification since there's senior high school now?

  4. I found this blog so helpful. My son is already in Grade 8 when He stop studying here in Saudi Arabia, due to financial difficulties and my unemployment status. He is now 17 years old and still does not want to continue his studies even I found a job. I introduced him the PEPT and it seems my son is excited to take.

  5. Hi! Po asked ko lang pag naka pass ako sa pept test makakuha na ako ng diploma gamitin ko kc for job abroad

  6. Magagamit ko na as diploma pag nakapasa ako sa pept test for job abroad

  7. Can i ask what test should be taken for a 25 years old highschool undergrad to be able to continue study in college?

  8. hello mam, i chanced upon your blog as i was contemplating on whether to enroll my kida right now or just do homeschooling...

    i heard from a co-teacher that there 2 kinds of homeschooling: 1. you need to be enroll in a school accredited by DepEd and 2. i guess is what you did for Theo..

    my question is/are: did you enroll in an accredited homeschooling school or just homeschool him and gave him lessons based on DepEd curriculum?

    thank you in advance for answering my questions..

    i hope to hear how you did it.. i am really thinking of homeschooling my lids... freelance style.. if tou know what i mean😁


About the Author

Our Family | mamagoals.comJust call me MamaFel. I'm from the Philippines and I'm a work-at-home mom, homeschooling my 15-year-old son. I've been married to a faithful husband for 26 years now. This is my story.