Maharashtra adds two more subjects to school competency test | mumbai news | Hindustan Times
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Maharashtra adds two more subjects to school competency test

Mumbai city news: Although the tests started in 2015 by Vinod Tawde, education minister, educators have repeatedly criticised the government for holding them in a haphazard manner.

mumbai Updated: Jul 15, 2017 23:53 IST
Puja Pednekar
Teachers will need to use a mobile application developed by the state to get instant results of the tests.
Teachers will need to use a mobile application developed by the state to get instant results of the tests.(HT file photo)

From this academic year, two more subjects — science and English (third language), for non-English speakers — will be added to the competency tests introduced two years ago to assess pupils from classes 1 to 8 in basic skills. Teachers will need to use a mobile application developed by the state to get instant results of the tests.

In an attempt to iron out the flaws in the implementation of the tests, the state’s school education department passed a government resolution issued on Friday, making several changes to the structure of the exams and increasing supervision.

Although the tests started in 2015 by Vinod Tawde, education minister, educators have repeatedly criticised the government for holding them in a haphazard manner. Schools were found to be sharing the papers with students before the exams and in some areas they were being openly sold in the market.

The government has decided to test students in science and English (third language) as surveys show that students are weak in these subjects. An Annual Status of Education Report (2016) showed that only 62.5% students in class 5 can read. This is much lower than the national average of 47.8%. Similarly, the number of students who can divide was 20.3%, while it was 25. 9% nationally.

“It is necessary to develop students competencies in science and English along with math and other languages,” said said Nand Kumar, principal secretary of the department. “English proficiency is needed in today’s world. Science skills are equally essential,” he added.

Results of the state achievement surveys and competency tests revealed slight improvement in first language and math competencies, language skills improved by 6.08% and numerical skills by 4.02% in the past two years in the tests held in 2016-17 and 2015-2016.

To ensure that schools conduct the tests in a fair manner, the GR has asked that centre heads should be appointed in schools to supervise the exams. A month after the exams, they will randomly test students in the same subjects to see if the scores are accurate. If a difference of more than 20% is recorded, then the teachers will be trained in evaluating students.

Schools, however, are worried this will increase the number of exams in an academic year. “Students will be burdened by the additional exams, it will increase their stress,” said Uday Nare, senior teacher, Hansraj Morarji Public School, Andheri. The department needs to find ways of assessment without adding exams to the calendar, he said.

New subjects from this year

Class 1 and 2---First language and math

Classes 3 to 5—First language, math, and, English (third language)

Classes 6 to 8---First language, math, English (third language), and, science

How schools will be judged

Students scoring above 75% in all the skills will be considered as progressive students

Schools in which all students score above 75% in all skills and bag more than 60% in the tests will be considered as progressive schools.

If all students in a school score:

Above 80% then teachers will receive appreciation letters

Above 60%, they will get motivational letters

Below 40%, cognizance will be taken