In a first, the Maharashtra government will hold a competency test for students of Classes 1 to 8 at the end of July to check the learning level across schools.
The exams come barely a month after Mumbai schools reopened for the new academic year.
Two other tests are scheduled for October this year and April next year. However, city schools are still in the dark over what the tests will be about.
The state school education department will conduct these tests at all government-approved schools. Students will be tested on their reading and writing abilities and understanding of various subjects, but the marks will not be added to their final scores.
The decision to conduct these tests was taken by education minister Vinod Tawde in March to test the learning levels of students. The government believes that these levels are dropping because of the no-detention policy, which allows automatic promotions of students between Class 1 and Class 8.
Nand Kumar, principal secretary, school education and sports department, said the schedule for the tests will be released in a few days. “There will be three such tests. The first one in July, the next one in October and third in April next year,” said Nand Kumar. “A government resolution with the entire schedule and details will be issued shortly.”
Schools, however, have not yet received any communication from the education department about the exams.
“We do not even know whether the plan to conduct these competency tests is still on,” said Rupa Roy, principal, Balmohan Vidya Mandir, Dadar. Schools are also worried that these tests could clash with their first unit tests, which are held at the end of July.
“It would have been better if these tests were held in June instead of July,” said Meenakshi Walke, principal, Indian Education Society’s Sule Guruji School, Dadar. “We have our own internal tests that time.”
In March, Tawde had given a brief outline of the exam. The question papers were to be provided to schools by the government. Based on the results, schools would be given targets to achieve next year. Then an assessment team would meet school authorities and discuss a plan to improve school results.