Union Authorities is planning to come up with a ‘benchmark framework’ to assess students on the secondary and higher secondary level in order to have ‘uniformity’ across the state and central boards which at present follows a completely different set up of evaluation, leading to disparity in results.
The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) had conducted a meeting with the representatives of the State boards and State Councils of Educational Research and Training (SCERTs) to discuss regarding the issue and had reached a common point to make an implementation of the plan, as part of which a new assessment regulator is being set up.
PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development) is the proposed regulator, yet to be implemented. It acts as a constituent unit of the NCERT and can even be tasked with holding periodic studying end result exams just like the National Achievement Survey (NAS) and State Achievement Surveys (SAS). The benchmark evaluation framework will work on putting an end to rote studying, as envisaged by the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020. PARAKH, the proposed implementing company, is also a part of the NEP proposal.
During the discussion, it is learnt that most of the states are in line with the NEP proposal of conducting board exams twice a year to help students better their scores. States are also on board regarding a proposal to offer two types of papers on mathematics — a standard exam, and another of high standard. An official from the Ministry of Education said, “It will help reduce the fear of maths among students and encourage learning. We also used the meetings as a sounding board on the NEP proposals to have two sets of question papers for most subjects – one with MCQs (multiple choice questions), and the other descriptive. The response was encouraging.”
Centre had earlier invited bids to establish PARAKH, which it said, will be “setting norms, standards and guidelines for student assessment and evaluation for all recognised school boards of India, encouraging and helping school boards to shift their assessment patterns towards meeting the skill requirements of the 21st century.”
PARAKH aims to develop and implement “technical standards for the design, conduct, analysis and reporting” of tests at all levels of school education.
The Expression of Interest(EOI) team states that, “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 assessment related information and expertise, with a mandate to support learning assessment in all forms, both nationally and where applicable, internationally.”