The union government will conduct its first country-wide assessment of learning achievements on November 13 in which over 30 lakh school students of Classes III, V and VIII in 35,000 government schools will participate. This will be the world’s largest sample survey of learning outcomes, HRD Minister Prakash Javadekar said in a meeting with state governments on Wednesday.
Learning outcomes are assessment standards which help teachers to understand the learning levels of students in their respective classes individually as well as collectively. Earlier this year, the union government amended Rule 23(2) under the Right to Education (RTE) Act making it compulsory for all state governments to codify expected levels of learning which students in Classes I to VIII should achieve in different subjects.
The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has drafted learning indicators for eight subjects — English, Hindi, Urdu, Mathematics, EVS (Environmental Science), Science and Social Sciences — based on which states can finalise their own indicators.
For instance, as per the NCERT document, learning indicators in writing for a Class I student will assess not just the student’s ability to recognise letters A to Z, but also his/her ability to carry out simple instructions such as ‘shut the door’, ‘bring me the book’. In Class II, a student should be able to compose and write simple, short sentences with space between words. The levels gradually increase so that by Class VIII, a student cannot only read and write, but also use his or her faculties to read between the lines, understand new concepts and explore and read other areas of knowledge.
The learning outcome test on November 13 is being conducted to implement the amendment of Rule 23 (2) of the RTE Act. The National Achievement Survey or NAS, which is being held since 2001, has been tweaked by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to now test a student’s competency instead of her knowledge of the school curriculum. Also, earlier only 4.5 lakh students across Classes III, V and VIII were being assessed through NAS. Starting this year, 30 lakh government school kids will be tested.
“NAS will now produce district-wise comparison within each state as opposed to the state-to-state comparison that it is doing since 2001. The learning outcome test will be administered in 19 languages and the government will propose short, mid-term and long-term interventions including policy changes to the state governments based on the results of this assessment,” NCERT chairman Hrushikesh Senapaty told The Indian Express.
On Wednesday, Javadekar held a meeting with all state government representatives via video conference to brief them about the learning outcome test in November. It will be a pen-and-paper test in which students will have to attempt multiple-choice questions. Students will have to fill in their choices on an OMR (Optical Mark Recognition) sheet which can be scanned for quick processing of results.