NTA to conduct first-ever aptitude test to map abilities of Indian learners
The National Testing Agency (NTA) has announced the first-ever aptitude test for school students and youth aged between 13 and 25 to assess their conceptual understanding in a scientific manner and help them make better career decisions. The test is part of NTA’s ongoing “exploratory research” to map the “abilities of Indian learners.”
The NTA, an autonomous testing organisation under the ministry of education, will conduct the National Aptitude Test as a pilot project. Candidates for the test have been divided into four age brackets: level 1 (13-15 years), level 2 (16-18 years), level 3 (19-21 years), and level 4 (22-25 years). That means students from class sixth to those who have completed their postgraduate programmes can participate in the national-level test.
The agency is targeting to cover around 5,200 candidates in the first two categories and 5,000 in the third and fourth categories during the pilot.
The NTA has invited online applications from candidates, who would like to take the test. No fees will be charged for participation.
The applications will be available on the NTA website till October 18. According to a notification issued on the website, tests for levels one and two will be conducted on October 23 and for level three and level four a day later.
Officials said the test is in line with the new National Education Policy 2020 that recommends high-level aptitude assessments of students to help them make the right career choices. The test is likely to be conducted annually.
The agency said several concerns have emerged during recent studies. “A) 65% of the jobs our students will be doing in the future do not even exist today. (b) Employers seek abilities like critical thinking, problem solving, innovations and creativity in their human capital but these abilities were deficient in about 70% school pass outs. (C) Considering the skills gap is much evident, including in digital jobs that require graduates with relevant mathematical, science and engineering backgrounds.”
NTA said it believes that the right candidates joining the best institutions will give India demographic dividend. “It envisages that besides acquired knowledge and skills, it should include skills for the future that would be expected in them, say after 5 years. These are technical skills, creativity, emotional intelligence (EQ), analytical thinking, growth mind-set, decision making, interpersonal communication, and adaptability, that have been identified as skills for the future,” the agency said in the notification.
Defining aptitude as an estimate of “what a person is likely to do”, the agency has developed nine domains to assess the candidates. The domains include critical reading ability, numerical ability, abstract reasoning, analytical reasoning, spatial reasoning, verbal ability, finding irregularities, data interpretation, and physical and mechanical analysis.
The test will have 10 multiple-choice questions in each of the domains and candidates will be given two hours to complete it. The language of the examination will be English, and there will be no negative marking.
On October 5, the agency, in a communication to the city coordinators of NTA, said it is committed to providing a platform to the students to assess their aptitude and ability in a more scientific and transparent manner. “The agency is engaged in conducting exploratory research to map the abilities of Indian learners....”
The city coordinators were asked to identify 10 schools, including two government schools, two Kendriya Vidyalaya, four private schools, and two minorities or aided schools, to carry out the pilot project.