After being discontinued years ago owing to opposition from schools and parents, the controversial baseline tests — used to assess children’s skills at a significant point in their schooling — are back.
First introduced for primary classes in 2006-07, the tests were abandoned after a stay order from the Bombay high court owing to complaints that they were adding to the workload of both students and teachers.
The State Council of Educational Research and Technology (SCERT) and the Rashtriya Madhyamik Shiksha Abhiyaan (RMSA) have now reintroduced the tests.
But this time around, they will evaluate the learning levels of Class 9 students to check how the no-fail policy is affecting students.
According to the policy, stipulated in the Right to Education Act (2009), schools cannot fail students from Class 1 to Class 8.
“There were fears that schools were not implementing the policy properly. They could be blindly promoting children till Class 8. So, there is a danger that many will fail Class 9 as they have not reached the right level of learning,” said NK Jarag, director of SCERT.
SCERT conducted three hourlong baseline tests for English, Marathi and mathematics in 1,400 government, aided and civic schools on July 26.
Based on the results, the government will design new modules of teaching and assessment.
“Depending on the students’ performance, we will provide training to the teachers,” said Dinkar Patil, joint director of SCERT.
Meanwhile, to ensure that teachers do not oppose these tests like they did the first time around, government has trained students of bachelors of education (B Ed) to conduct these tests and correct the answer sheets.
“All the work is being done by the B Ed students so it will not increase the workload of the teachers. They have been given answer keys for the test,’’ Patil said.