National Education Policy (NEP 2020) & Future Exams

National Education Policy (NEP 2020) & Future Exams

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Recently announced National Education Policy (NEP 2020) is hoping to make drastic changes to the way courses are taught and learnings are assessed. It may take several years to have a pan India adoption of the policy, and many more years to reap the benefits of this change.
Questionbang is  primarily a learning assessment platform,  and what may interest readers over here is about the future of learning assessment.

Will there be exams or what will be the nature of future board exams?

Yes, there will be exams, but not as many as what we have today.
Below are some of the key points  from the NEP 2020 document, hope this answers everything related to future of exams:

  • The aim of assessment in the culture of our schooling system will shift from one that is summative and primarily tests rote memorization skills to one that is more regular and formative, is more competency-based, promotes learning and development for our students, and tests higher-order skills, such as analysis, critical thinking, and conceptual clarity.
  • The progress card of all students for school-based assessment, which is communicated by schools to parents, will be completely redesigned by States/UTs under guidance from the proposed National Assessment Centre, NCERT, and SCERTs. The progress card will be a holistic, 360-degree, multidimensional report that reflects in great detail the progress as well as the uniqueness of each learner in the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains. It will include self-assessment and peer assessment, and progress of the child in project-based and inquiry-based learning, quizzes, role plays, group work, portfolios, etc., along with teacher assessment.
  • The holistic progress card  would  provide students with valuable information on their strengths, areas of interest, and needed areas of focus, and to thereby help them make optimal career choices.
  • The current nature of secondary school exams, including Board exams and entrance exams – and the resulting coaching culture of today – are doing much harm, especially at the secondary school level, replacing valuable time for true learning with excessive exam coaching and preparation.
  • While the Board exams for Grades 10 and 12 will be continued, the existing system of Board and entrance examinations shall be reformed to eliminate the need for undertaking coaching classes. To reverse these harmful effects of the current assessment system, Board exams will be redesigned to encourage holistic development; students will be able to choose many of the subjects in which they take Board exams, depending on their individualized interests.
  • Board exams will also be made ‘easier’, in the sense that they will test primarily core capacities/competencies rather than months of coaching and memorization; any student who has been going to and making a basic effort in a school class will be able to pass and do well in the corresponding subject Board Exam without much additional effort. To further eliminate the ‘high stakes’ aspect of Board Exams, all students will be allowed to take Board Exams on up to two occasions during any given school year, one main examination and one for improvement, if desired.
  • In addition to introducing greater flexibility, student choice, and best-of-two attempts, assessments that primarily test core capacities must be the immediate key reforms to all Board exams. Boards may over time also develop further viable models,  so that the pressure from exams is better distributed, less intense, and less high-stakes across the Secondary Stage;
  • All subjects and corresponding assessments, beginning with mathematics, could be offered at two levels, with students doing some of their subjects at the standard level and some at a higher level; and Board exams in certain subjects could be redesigned to have two parts – one part of an objective type with multiple-choice questions and the other of a descriptive type.
  • To track progress throughout the school years, and not just at the end of Grades 10 and 12 – for the benefit of students, parents, teachers, principals, and the entire schooling system – all students will take school examinations in Grades 3, 5, and 8 which will be conducted by the appropriate authority. These examinations would test achievement of basic learning outcomes, through assessment of core concepts and knowledge from the national and local curricula, along with relevant higher-order skills and application of knowledge in real-life situations, rather than rote memorization.
  • The Grade 3 examination, in particular, would test basic literacy, numeracy, and other foundational skills. The results of school examinations will be used only for developmental purposes of the school education system and for continuous monitoring and improvement of the schooling system.
  • The principles for university entrance exams will be similar. The National Testing Agency (NTA) will work to offer a high-quality common aptitude test, as well as specialized common subject exams in the sciences, humanities, languages, arts, and vocational subjects, at least twice every year. Students will be able to choose the subjects for taking the test, and each university will be able to see each student’s individual subject portfolio and admit students into their programmes based on individual interests and talents.
  • The NTA will serve as a premier, expert, autonomous testing organization to conduct entrance examinations for undergraduate and graduate admissions and fellowships in higher education institutions. The high quality, range, and flexibility of the NTA testing services will enable most universities to use these common entrance exams – rather than having hundreds of universities each devising their own entrance exams – thereby drastically reducing the burden on students, universities and colleges, and the entire education system. It will be left up to individual universities and colleges to use NTA assessments for their admissions.