ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Rethinking Assessments in Schools

This article examines the nature of two varied forms of assessments like the continuous comprehensive evaluation and end-of-the-year exams, studies the variations in the principles underlying them and presents a case for an assessment that is more suited to the varied contexts, needs and educational levels of a large majority of Indian children.

Since “assessment reforms” have taken centre stage in the Indian education system, it is important to understand some critical concerns being raised in the debate between the pedagogic efficiency of a traditional one-off, end-of-the-term examination (exemplified in its most extreme and celebrated form in the board exams) and the reformatory, non-threatening and comprehensive school-based, teacher-guided form of assessment (clubbed under the banner of “continuous and comprehensive evaluation” or CCE). While theoretically these two forms of assessment are positioned as being mutually exclusive, in practice it may not be entirely possible to separate their form, nature and purpose in an either-or manner. However, it is also important to understand the fundamental differences in the way they have been conceptualised and not confuse issues of their implementation with the inherent nature of their design and purpose. This article, therefore, attempts to examine the nature of these two varied forms of assessments, study the variations in the principles underlying them, examine the validity of assumptions on which they are based (given above in italics) and present a case for an assessment which is perhaps more suited to the varied contexts, needs and educational levels of a large majority of Indian children.

1 Assessment as Commonly Understood

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