College of Micronesia Entrance Test

Several students from PICS were rejected and sent home by college personnel. Rumors were the students were late and some didn't have their fees.

Im just wondering what kind of coordination between the state DOE and the college were made to ensure the proper delivery of this effort. And who are the contact persons charged from both the state DOE and college to tend to this matter?? As a disappointed parent I want to know because I want to personally call these people up and give them hell for doing this to our children.

Saddening to see so many students turned away when its evident that the college on a regular basis has fund raisers and activities just to keep it up and running.

Presently the college statistics show a downtrend in enrolment which seriously affects the longevity of the college. So in essence, someone doesnt give a damn about our college and the future generations.

Comments

  • Kaselehlie maing Dearhunter,

    My name is Richard Clark and I work for the Pohnpei Department of Education. I did not personally organize anything regarding the COMET this year, but I will tell you everything I know about our organization of the test this year and who you can contact for more assistance.

    First, my apologies that you and your family had a bad experience this year. We will do everything we can to correct this.

    My understanding is that, in previous years, students took the COMET at their respective high school cafeteria, e.g. the PICS cafeteria. This year, by contrast, we sought to transport students to COM-FSM to take the test onsite. We also sought to provide students with breakfast/snacks, and lunch, though we did not cover the $5 test fee.

    I was advised by TRiO program staff (e.g. Upward Bound Director Diaz Joseph and Student Coordinator Sylvia Elias) that TSP and UB staff met with Jackie Pretrick, PDOE's Scholarship Coordinator, and Diopulos Diopulos, our Student Support Specialist, about PDOE potentially handling the test fee in the future. In internal email discussions amongst PDOE staff, there is a broad agreement that the PDOE will discuss this issue and seek to determine how we can address it in the future. After all, $5 is a significant amount of money to our poorest families and communities. I've heard anecdotes of some high school teachers putting up money to help pay for their students. I can't personally promise any specific solution yet, but I can promise that PDOE is aware of this issue and that our staff want to make parents like yourself satisfied with the services we provide your children.

    I cannot speak with any authority on students arriving late to COM-FSM, but I can tell you that our Auxiliary Services Coordinator is Staylor Elidok, who is in charge of transportation functions at PDOE (including bus schedules and the like). His email address is selidok@pohnpeidoe.fm

    I cannot speak with any authority on how precisely the PDOE will address the test fee in the future, but I can promise you that our Student Support Specialist--Diopulos Diopulos--is invested in student success. I'm not sure he has a PDOE address yet, so realistically you can contact him at diondiop@gmail.com which is functionally his work address.

    I cannot speak with any authority on what role our Scholarship Coordinator, Jackie Pretrick, played in the COMET this year beyond that she was involved in some capacity. You can contact her at jpretrick@pohnpeidoe.fm

    Regarding PICS itself, I cannot speak with any authority on what role our Chief of Secondary Education played in the COMET this year, but our Chief of Secondary is Destry Tom and his email address is dtom@pohnpeidoe.fm

    My own email address, for what it's worth, is rclark@pohnpeidoe.fm

    I'm sorry that I don't know who the best person to contact at COM-FSM regarding the COMET, so I cannot provide you with any COM email addresses.

    My apologies for you and your families' poor experiences. My recommendation is that you write an email to all of the PDOE personnel listed above (including myself), describing the situation you and your family have faced. By ensuring the email goes to many personnel, the email will not be forgotten or put aside.

    You can also call the PDOE office at 320-2103, 2104, or 2105 (maybe 2106 too? but don't quote me on that), and ask for any of the above staff.

    I hope this response helps in some small way, and my apologies again for your family's poor experience with the COMET this year.

    Ni wahu oh karakarak,

    -Richard Clark
  • Appreciate the clear and simple explanation. Thanks for the great work!
  • Two concerns:

    Why is COMET still the standard for COM entry when the rest of the world (at least those students to American colleges) are studying and taking the SAT? Good SAT scores with good GPA can almost get any student with minority background some scholarships to four-year colleges in the U.S. The SAT will also place one well at COM. So SAT will place a student both at American colleges (UOG, UH, etc.). Studying for a lower-standard test only gives us a less rigorous standard and that will translate to lower performance usually. It gives us the mentality of being subject to a lower measurement and that should affect our children's ability to complete with others in the world. It makes sense for SAT to replace COMET because all of our students are going to U.S. colleges eventually (or at least they try). Finding more students to go directly to U.S. colleges allows them to get their 4-year degree faster and not going to COM and using up 3-4 years of Pell Grant on a 2-year degree (not all American college accept COM credits). I do get it when the student is not really ready for colleges or they do not have plans to get 4-year degrees at all but many high school graduates are ready for 4-year colleges but are told through the system (high schools, COMET people, COM, parents, government, etc.) that COM is the only choice to get to 4-year colleges. By then, one has only one year left of Pell Grant and still not a sophomore at U.S. colleges. This translates to running out of financial aid and 2-year degrees become the standard of highest education in the FSM. I encourage most students to take the SAT and to keep your GPA around 3.00 and you should be able to get into many U.S. colleges. Study hard. SAT practice tests are online and one should start studying during junior year.

    Second, it is 2018. What parents doesn't know that the COMET is $5? Or why aren't high school counselors telling kids about this $5? No one can possibly say that they cannot find the money. Drinking sakau is rampant and ability to make $5 from sakau, fish, clams, betlenut, etc, is abundant. Also, show up on time for once. Parents need to be part of the efforts. Don't drink sakau the night before but use the time instead to study with your child.
  • @RichardAndrewClark. Thank you for the transparency but obviously your doing good not being directly involved or have anything to do with the effort in question. Although you mention more than once that you cannot speak with authority, you did provide detailed information on the set up and who is responsible which is very commendable. I bet you none of those people would like to take the blame as it is typically that sh*t rolls down hill concept we are applying here. As for the e-mails, several parents do not have access but will be provided with the names to attempt to contact via telephone or cell.

    @microsprings2014. I agree with the two issues you presented.

    As a consequence of the problem, it is evident that a lack of coordination was the issue. The college switched the testing sites to it's campuses instead of sending out reps to the high schools to proctor the COMET. When doing so, they required those to take the test to be at the campus no later than 08:15. No transportation will be provided by the college, as it appears there was an understanding for the high schools to cover that area. One item overlooked was the time they required the students to be at the test site, coincided with the high school bus service hours to other students not taking the test. This could have been the reason for the large number of late arrivals. COMFSM should have adjusted the time because of their decision to change the test sites. It was a significant move but without regard to a positive outcome.
    "Let's just do it and get it over with."
    To get the colleges views on the issue, I tried calling the VP of Student Services who is the main man in charge of these activities, but ironically, he was off island conducting the tests at the state campuses. Why is it affordable to fly an "official" of the college off island to conduct the tests but not to have a couple of staff delivering it to the high schools here locally??
    Anyways, I agree with the fee but COMFSM should change its policy to an Open Enrolment Policy. I know some people who failed the COMET but were accepted later on at colleges and universities out in the US or elsewhere in the pacific. There are types that are very intelligent but are not tuned to taking tests. Some are just slow but interestingly they pick up later on than their peers and actually exceed them in academics.
    After all, if they can turn away such a number of prospective students, then they don't need the enrolment quota required to keep the college up and running.

    It looks like both State PNIDOE and the College should share the blame. Not the workhorses, The people in charge.



  • Come to CCPI with your brain ready to function.
  • Issue # 2 that microspring2014 brought up is mind boggling to even think about.......in these day and age people want electricity, kerosene, phone card, so they pay for those things as normal, even the poorest of the poorest, its about time, we treat everything else normal.
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