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An asset to schools

Schools across Delhi have taken to this unique diagnostic test that is skill based, measures understanding of concepts and provides benchmarking, reports Swaha Sahoo.

delhi Updated: Aug 16, 2008 22:41 IST
Swaha Sahoo

Here’s a test that helps lighten the burden of memorising lessons in school.

Schools across Delhi have taken to this unique diagnostic test that is skill based, measures understanding of concepts and provides benchmarking.

Called ASSET, the test has been devised to fight the system of rote learning and also helped identify areas where teachers are going wrong.

“ASSET helps us make an inventory of the areas we need to focus on. The understanding of each child is mapped and analysed,” said Preeti Chadha, junior headmistress at Tagore International School, Vasant Vihar.

“It tells us that a student is good at Math but is not inclined towards English. Or someone who is doing well in class tests actually has poor concepts,” said Chadha, whose school is among 200 others in Delhi taking the test annually.

More importantly, ASSET points out areas where majority of students are going wrong, thus indicating a lack of understanding in concepts.

“Common wrong answers often indicate underlying misconceptions. So we have teacher sheets where we give feedback to teachers that help in removing misconceptions,” said Sandeep Saha, vice president, marketing of Education Initiatives (EI), the Ahmedabad-based company that devised the test.

If a particular class fails in a certain subject, it can mean that the teacher has been unable to get through to her class, said Chadha. “Teachers also have weak points. After taking the test, we have identified certain teachers and got extra help for them,” Chadha said.

ASSET also patterns the performance of individual students and classes and benchmarks them against a national figure.

“Each class can know where it stands as compared to the school. The test uses as analytical approach and focuses on developing curiosity among children,” said Shyama Chona, principal, DPS, RK Puram.

The company, started by three graduates of IIM Ahmedabad, has covered 2,000 schools all over India. It has also been contacted by one government school examination board to begin discussions on how to improve quality of learning in middle school.

“The tests just confirmed our fear that students can memorise, but don’t understand,” said Saha. “For instance, class III students across schools could not identify a triangle,” he said.

Some schools have now asked EI to send them guidelines on how to take up a particularly challenging topic and on what kinds of questions to ask in exams.

“The tests have helped teachers in taking remedial action. Although we might often be aware of a student’s weak points, it becomes simpler when it’s given in black and white,” said Bharti Sharma, principal, Amity International School, Saket.