Evaluation Styles in Mumbai Schools Undergo a Sea Change

Hindustan Times (New Delhi, India), September 25, 2015 | Go to article overview

Evaluation Styles in Mumbai Schools Undergo a Sea Change


Mumbai, Sept. 24 -- Sitting in their swanky classrooms, students of RN Podar School, Santacruz stoop over their tablet screens, brows furrowed in concentration as they try to piece together a flow chart using an application on the device. One may be surprised to know these students are not playing a virtual game, but writing a school exam. Not far away, teachers wait by a computer as it generates the questions for a test they plan to administer to the students at the Gundecha Education Academy, Kandivli. The computer software designs the entire question paper by selecting random questions at the click of a button. It also corrects papers.

The entire testing style in schools has undergone a sea change, with schools not restricting themselves to pen-and-paper tests anymore. RN Podar School, for instance, conducts many online tests to make students comfortable with the medium. "Competitive exams such as Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) for admissions to engineering colleges are going online," said Avnita Bir, principal, RN Podar. Besides online tests, Euro School, Thane also tests students on guitar playing, western dance and other extra-curricular activities. "We ask students to select academic, non-academic and co-curricular clubs and they are tested on them," said Rajani Pattabhiraman, school principal.

The transition to new types of assessment has become possible thanks to the Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) pattern introduced by the Union ministry of education in 2010. Schools have to evaluate students on their performance throughout the year and also assess their behaviour, life skills and other areas. "The conventional pen-and-paper testing provides a unilateral analysis of a student's abilities. The CCE, however, is based on the concept of multiple talents," said Neti Srinivasan, COO, Ryan Group of Schools.

An estimated 1,200 schools across the country have started offering ASSET (Assessment of Scholastic Skills through Educational Testing ) conducted by a private company, Educational Initiatives, started by the alumni of IIM-Ahmedabad. It is a skill-based assessment on crucial subjects such as Maths, Science and English.

"Schools are opting for it because unlike regular tests, it measures how well a student has understood concepts and not how much she knows," said Sridhar Rajagopalan, managing director, Educational Initiatives.

Many schools have made these tests compulsory. "All our students from Class 3 to 10 have to appear for this test once a year, over and above other tests," said Seema Buch, principal, Gundecha Academy. VIBGYOR School, Goregaon even has additional tests for pre-school students. "The pre-school bee, tests the language skills such as spelling and vocabulary of the tiny tots," said Shim Matthews, principal of the school.

However, educationists warn schools against conducting too many assessments. "The government has also introduced competency tests for students to identify their learning levels in first language and mathematics," said Basanti Roy, former divisional secretary of the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education. "Schools should be careful not to saddle students with too many tests. They could get wary of appearing for too many tests in a year. …

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