The UNION government plans to come up with a ‘benchmark’ to assess secondary and higher secondary students to achieve ‘uniformity’ between state and central boards which currently follow different assessment standards, leading to wide disparities in the scores.
Over the past few months, the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has held a series of meetings with representatives of state boards and State Councils of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) to reach a common agreement to implement the plan , in the framework of which a new assessment regulator is being created.
The proposed regulator, PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development), which will act as a constituent unit of NCERT, will also be tasked with conducting periodic tests of learning outcomes such as the National Achievement Survey (NAS) and the State. Performance surveys.
The benchmark assessment framework will seek to end the emphasis on rote learning as envisioned in the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. PARAKH, the proposed implementing agency, is also part of the proposal of the NEP.
It is learned that during the discussions, most states approved the NEP’s proposal to conduct board exams twice a year, including one to help students improve their scores. States also agree to the proposal to offer two types of math papers: a standard exam and one to test higher-level proficiency.
“It will help reduce the fear of mathematics among students and encourage learning. We also used the meetings as a sounding board for NEP proposals to have two sets of question papers for most subjects: one with QCM (multiple choice questions) and the other descriptive. The response was encouraging,” said an Education Ministry official.
Earlier this month, the Center invited bids to set up PARAKH, which it said, will “set norms, standards and guidelines for assessment and evaluation of students for all recognized school boards in the India, encouraging and helping school boards to change their assessment patterns to meet them.” the competence requirements of the 21st century”.
The ministry official said PARAKH will help address the problem of students from some state boards being at a disadvantage during college admissions compared to their peers in CBSE schools. It will develop and implement “technical standards for the design, conduct, analysis and reporting” of tests at all levels of school education.
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The Expression of Interest (EOI) submitted by the Center also explains that PARAKH will conduct the sample-based NAS, guide state achievement surveys and monitor the achievement of learning outcomes in the country. If plans are on track, the NAS in 2024 will be led by PARAKH.
“Its (PARAKH) team will consist of leading assessment experts with a deep understanding of the education system in India and internationally. PARAKH will eventually become the national single-window source for all information and knowledge related to assessment, with a mandate to support assessment of learning in all forms, both nationally and, where appropriate, internationally,” states the EOI.