THREE global not-for-profit education organizations – Educational Testing Services (ETS), American Institutes for Research (AIR) and the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) – have expressed interest in helping to establish the first national regulator of school-level examinations and assessment in India. , according to sources.
Although ETS is internationally recognized for conducting the TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and GRE (Graduate Record Examination), which are gateways to higher education at top institutes across the world, AIR and ACER are leading names in research in the domains of behavioral sciences and social sciences. and learning assessment studies.
The organizations approached the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), responding to an expression of interest (EoI) to select consultancy services to establish the proposed regulator PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development), which is proposed as an instrument to “establish comparative measures and equivalences” between school examination boards and promote collaboration between them.
This means PARAKH is expected to address the issue of disparities in scores of students affiliated to different boards. In addition, it will not only conduct future rounds of National Achievement Surveys (NAS) and other learning outcomes surveys, but will also “review all aspects of the design and delivery of the 2017/2018 and 2021 NAS exercises and identify areas for improvement”.
In line with the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, PARAKH will function as the regulatory body for student evaluation and assessment for all school boards in the country.
Sources told The Indian Express that ETS, ACER and AIR are among the few organizations that responded to the Expression of Interest (EOI) that was issued in August. Based on the responses, the NCERT issued a request for proposal (RFP) for the project on October 19.
Australia-based ACER has an Indian wing. It is primarily known for conducting a set of benchmark tests for assessment of learning in English, mathematics and science for classes III-X.
AIR rose to prominence in the 1960s after conducting the largest study of its time among US high school students on racial disparities and economic mobility, among other issues.
The agency to be chosen will, among other things, also help the PARAKH team to “incorporate international evidence to strengthen assessment systems in India to deal with Covid-19 and other pandemic situations”.
In addition to having NAS and Fundamental Learning Survey (FLN), PARAKH will also manage India’s participation in international assessments such as the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), the Math Trends Study and international sciences (TIMSS) or progress in the international study of reading literacy. (PIRLS).
While NCERT is an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Education, PARAKH will be a constituent body of the council. The consultancy will be selected initially on a three-year contract, which will be renewed annually based on its performance, the RFP states.
In line with the key delivery areas identified by NCERT for the proposed body, it will develop and validate assessment standards for all school stages and curriculum areas of school education, based on the NEP 2020 .
“(It will provide technical guidance and input for boards to design, develop, and implement statewide systems for measuring student learning aligned with state and national curriculum standards. . . . Support examination boards with respect to new assessment patterns (for both internal and external assessment), assessment process and practices, result in calculation and compilation, post-results practices and the latest research,” the RFP adds.