Can your Class 1 child count objects up to 20 or add and subtract two-digit numbers if she is in Class 2? If she is in Class 6, can she arrange family expenditures of the past six months in tables, pictographs or bar graphs?
Many in Delhi and other metropolitan cities might say ‘yes’, but millions of parents in rural and semi-urban India could have a different answer. These questions are part of ‘learning outcomes’ parameters devised by the NCERT to assess learning levels of Class 1 to 8 students.
The NCERT has sent a final draft of the learning outcomes to all the states for their inputs, following which they will be required to incorporate them into their schools’ teaching methodology.
HRD ministry sources said a number of states were positive about the method and discussions are on to bring them on board as the Centre is hoping to roll it out from the next academic session.
The move is aimed at making a shift from rote learning and to ensure there are clear parameters to judge the performance of students, especially with states being given the mandate to revoke the no-detention policy, under which a student is promoted automatically.
“Rather than concentrating on textbook-based assessment, we want to find the competency levels of students. The learning outcomes have been prepared in a very simple manner so that all stakeholders should be aware what we want to achieve,” said a source.
In 2014, only one-fourth of Class 3 students in rural India could do a two-digit subtraction, according to the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) of non-profit organization Pratham, which depicted a bleak picture of school education in the country.
NCERT will conduct a national assessment survey (NAS) in government and private schools soon to see the level of learning.
The Council used to conduct the survey in select government schools for Classes 3, 5, 8 and 10, but the results were used more as a status report without effecting any change in the way students are taught.
The new NCERT survey will focus on whether students in a particular class can read the time correctly using a clock, estimate the capacity of a container in known units—eg. a bucket containing water is 20-30 times that of a mug—and measure short lengths using non-uniform units like a finger, hand span, length of forearm, and footsteps.
HRD minister Prakash Javadekar had recently said that learning outcomes would become part of the Right to Education too.