NEP-20, envisages a big shift in the way we educate, as quality of learning is the core issue. It emphasizes more on building competencies and 21st century skills. Hence transforming assessment strategies for student development becomes very much essential. Naturally the culture of schooling system will shift from summative and primarily testing on rote memorisation skills to more regular and formative. This also promotes learning and development of students by evaluating higher-order skills such as analysis, critical thinking and conceptual clarity.
NEP – Pedagogy and Assessment
The NEP-20 very much indicated pedagogical changes and strategies to provide quality education which is not only life changing but also mind crafting with character-building experiences. Pedagogical modifications include joyful, engaging, experiential, experimental, interactive, activity based holistic, inclusive, collaborative, creative, communicative and discussion-oriented learning programs along with learner-centric processes, inter and multi-disciplinary approaches and with the focussed base being competency, knowledge, logical and scientific thinking. Strategy shift is towards seminars, quizzes, conferences, field-trips, debates, group-tasking, interviews, dramatization, mind mapping, pictorial stories, graphic reading, image harvesting, reading and reflection etc. Keeping all this in view class room activity and assessment transformation is absolutely essential to optimise the learning feedback. Class room thrust shall be on formative learning, which is an assessment in continuity.
School based assessment (SBA):
Taking clue from the need based on changing pedagogy, we have to transform evaluation process as per NEP-20 to school based evaluation, which is a judicious and the best solution to ease integration of teaching-learning process. SBA facilitates attainment of specified competencies in terms of learning outcomes in a holistic manner through classroom transaction. Assessment is done by school teachers and other members of the system.
Benefits of SBA:
Let us try to list out some of the benefits and of course classroom practitioners can add few more.
- Personalised instruction takes place for alround development of a student.
- Definitely it improves Teacher-Student relationship, for pushing more man-making initiatives.
- Student engages in meta cognition leading to intentional thinking and learning about himself.
- As we already noted the focus is more on competencies rather than content.
- Reposes faith on the teacher and the system.
- Develops positive attitude on learning and assessment.
- Focus is on assessment of and as learning encourages individual, peer, teachers and peer assessment.
- Documentation is reduced to some extent as assessment goes on with learning process.
Salient features of SBA:
All the expectations from NEP-20 are met with this type of assessment as we observe some of the salient features.
- It integrates learning, teaching and assessment.
- This promotes child-centred and activity-based pedagogy and strategies.
- Learning outcome-based competency development with a minimal importance to content memorization.
- Stress free, non-threatening, active and joyful participation can be found, which is otherwise in achievement, evaluation.
- Promotes self-confidence of students.
Assessment strategies and practices:
These are methods used by educators to evaluate students’ progress to plan the content and decide next course of action for improvement by adjusting curriculum schedule. We can not list out all strategies as they are more situation, contextual and based on the nature of the student. To name few viz. observation, interview, portfolio, feedback, simulation, checklist, self-assessment, project work, rating list, pee assessment, pair sharing, group work, assignment, experimentation, focus group discussion, role play, anecdotal record, reflective writing, choral response, computer-based survey and one minute response etc. We can add few more with our experience and wisdom. Teacher should be patient enough to use diverse assessment strategies and practices since each individual is differently efficient and abled, application of mixture of strategies would ensure exact and judicious representation of their competences.
Teachers training and empowerment:
Teacher is the frontline warrior to bring theory, policies and expectations to practice level to the class room. Hence, he should be qualitatively trained with different strategies and practices of school-based assessment. It should be in-depth, intense and exhaustive practical training to equip the educator with proper mindset and tools. Entry and exit assessment of training to assure required professional standards is also essential with periodical updation and upskilling under skillful mentors.
Ensuring impact of assessment on learning:
As there is a paradigm shift towards student centric outcome-based approaches, assessment strategies and practices would definitely impact students learning levels. We also know that assessment is at the heart of the students experience and it defines the actual curriculum, as we can translate assessment record into applicable suggestions for practice to ensure quality in education.
Going for Holistic progress card:
Ultimately, we should go for Holistic progress card to assess Alround development (Sarvangeena Vikasa) and Holistic development (Samagra Vikasa) of a student. It is a wider and larger plan with a detailed output progress card. 360-degree multidimensional assessment mentioning every aspect of his personality, which can include self and peer evaluation as well without ignoring artistic, social, emotional, spiritual and cultural vision. Of course, it is needless to profess that it should be continuous and comprehensive assessment.
In conclusion, our duty is to build NEP-Eligible school, NEP-Competent principal, NEP-Skilled teacher, NEP-Supportive parents, NEP-Active alumnus, NEP-Encouraging Management, NEP-Responsible poorvaacharya along with following school-based assessment. Ultimately our empowerment of teacher should transform him to be the ‘Knowledge-Guide’ from his present role of ‘Knowledge-Bearer’.
D Ramakrishna Rao (Author is a Retired Principal and Akhil Bharatiya President of Vidya Bharati)