- Despite the pandemic unleashing in full force, there has been futile debate last month about holding or postponing board examinations instead of exploring alternatives.
- Rather than viewing this unprecedented situation as a unique opportunity for re-imagining educational assessments and evaluations, the government insists on the possibility of holding exams in person and posing a further threat to their lives.
NEED FOR ALTERNATIVE THINKING
- Considering the worldwide crisis, India cannot afford to have gatherings of small/big groups. Instead there is a need to organise the virtual educational committees to rethink approaches on assessing student learning.
- For instance, one of the challenges is deemed as students ‘cheating’ if the exams were to be conducted online. However, if question papers were designed in a way that encouraged students to critically engage with the material, contest perspectives and build opinions, no book would be able to provide all the answers.
- Similarly, in light of the right to education that affirms the importance of formative assessments, teachers could be invited to engage in evaluating student’s performance across the year.
- In order to curb the challenges like, tendency of schools to self-bolster, their performance and grades could be shared across a pool of schools so that teachers can anonymously assess on student performance, until a sense of self-accountability and trust can be cultivated.
- Opening up possibilities of evaluating students on their performance through the year will contribute towards making evaluation and learning much more holistic.
- Further, inviting higher educational institutions to facilitate online entrance exams could be another option.
- Eventually, the goal could be to involve students in self and peer evaluations so that the ability to reflect while participating in learning communities and giving/receiving feedback prepares them for what lies ahead.
- There is a need to redefine student success based on social, emotional and spiritual development benchmarks.
- In this direction the National Curriculum Framework of 2005 have already affirmed the importance of embracing the emotional, social, physical and intellectual growth of children within a framework of human values.
- Viewing this crisis as a signal for urgent change, core issues can be engaged with and re-evaluated to prevent students from being trapped in the current system of cramming, rote learning and anxiety.
- Hence, the government needs to give complete autonomy to educational committees composed of students, teachers, educational leaders, scholars and researchers who can advocate, organise and implement this change nationally and internationally.
- There is a need to raise the quality of educational assessments and evaluations by involving higher educational institutions.