With more than 96 percent of children in schools, India is close to achieving universal enrollment in the 6-14 year age group. Unfortunately, this dramatic improvement in access has not led to a commensurate increase in student learning levels. India continues to perform poorly in national and international learning surveys such as ASER and PISA. Addressing this issue first requires regular high-quality assessments to gauge whether educational achievement goals are being met, at a classroom, school, and system level.
In recent years, India has instituted assessments at the classroom level in the form of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE), at the state level in the form of State Learning Achievement Surveys (SLAS), and at the national level in the form of National Assessment Survey (NAS) in order to provide teachers and policymakers with valuable feedback. Several states have also initiated whole-school evaluation efforts to assess performance at a school level. While there has been increased policy intent on the assessment of learning outcomes, ability to successfully implement remains poor. There are significant mindset and capacity barriers in the development of high-quality assessments and the use of assessment data to drive decision-making.
Central Square Foundation believes that our education system should measure learning to set goals and to drive action both in the classroom and at the district and state level. Regular and rigorous assessments can provide a valuable health check of the system and allow educators and policymakers to measure the efficacy of different learning improvement programmes. This feedback loop leads teachers, school principals and administrators to be more responsive and accountable to deliver quality education. In this light, we have published a report providing guidelines for the design, implementation and analysis of state-led large-scale assessments. In addition, we have engaged with governments to help develop a strong vision around their assessment process. We are also working to strengthen the assessment ecosystem by bringing together a network of assessment organisations and researchers to initiate contextual research work and sustained capacity-building initiatives. We hope that classroom and large-scale assessments become an important tool in the education reform movement in India, and ultimately link student outcome data to policy decisions.