From this academic year, schools will be graded on the performance of their students, the education department has announced in a government resolution (GR) on Wednesday. The Maharashtra government will assign grades A, B, C or D to all government approved schools depending on the performance of their students in three State Learning Achievement Survey (SLAS) tests.
Concerns on the falling learning levels of the students since the no-detention policy introduced in 2006, allowing for automatic promotion of students till Class 8, have been rampant in the government. An annual survey by a private organisation found that reading skills of Class 5 students have slipped from 94% to 74% in the last five years, stated the GR.
According to Nand Kumar, principal secretary of the school education department, the schools will have to conduct the tests at their level but will be monitored by the department authorities. “If the difference between the scores given by the schools is more than 10% of the average score, we will look into it,” he said.
However, schools said that this could lead to fudging of marks. “There will be no objectivity to these tests if teachers from the same schools will correct the papers,” said Father Francis Swamy, manager, St Xavier’s School, Fort. “External bodies should hold the test.”
Non-state board schools were opposed to tests as they fear it will add to exam stress of the students. “Schools will pressurise students to perform to get highest ratings,” said Avnita Bir, principal, RA Podar, Santacruz. “This defeats the purpose of the continous comprehensive evaluation (CCE) which we follow to reduce exam stress.”
Other schools said that it will lead to unfair competition among schools. “How can you rate the students of an international school with that of a state board school?” asked Chandrakanta Pathak, principal, HVB Global Academy, Marine Lines. “This will lead to unnecessary labelling of schools.”