Not wanting to add to the teachers’ burden, the state school education department has scrapped the competency test scheduled in December for Classes 1 to 8 to assess students’ basic skills in mathematics and first language. This means that only two competency tests will be conducted in this academic year, instead of three. Experts said that this will dilute the purpose of the tests which seek to improve the quality of education in schools.
Under the Pragat Shaikshanik Maharashtra programme, the first test, which was a baseline test, was conducted in September for Classes 2 to 8. The second test- a summative test for students from Classes 1 to 8 based on their current syllabus-has now been scrapped. The final test will be conducted as planned in April.
The decision has been taken as schools are busy organising their annual days, sports programmes and other projects in December, announced Vinod Tawde, education minister at the legislative assembly in Nagpur.
“We had received requests from local representatives, teachers and principals’ associations to not conduct the tests in December as it is a busy month for schools and it will add to the teachers’ burden,” Tawde stated in a statement released on Friday.
The second test was earlier expected to be conducted in October but it was delayed to December, because of the delays in holding the first test. The first baseline test was delayed three times, from July to September, as the department had to call for e-tenders to print the question papers to be distributed in schools.
However, experts said that reducing the number of tests will not help in improving learning outcomes. “The government resolution for the tests had stated that there would be a test after every three months to gauge the students’ learning and schools will have to provide remedial teaching based on its results,” said Herambh Kulkarni, a Pune-based educationist.
Kulkarni added that the department did not plan the tests properly, diluting their impact. “The first test was conducted in September but its results have not yet been analysed. Without analysis, the department cannot arrive at any conclusions on the learning outcomes,” said Kulkarni. “The whole process has been conducted in a haphazard manner.”
The idea to hold competency tests was conceived by Tawde in June this year. The objective was to find out the standard of education in schools in Maharashtra and take steps to improve them through training and remedial programmes.