Exams set to return for Class 5, Class 8: NAS report, recent board results reveal students aren't learning much
The no-detention policy for students between Class 5 and Class 8 is likely to be scrapped soon with the National Achievement Survey (NAS) revealing lack of exams impacting students' performances severely
The no-detention policy for students between Class 5 and Class 8 is likely to be scrapped soon with the National Achievement Survey (NAS) for Class 10 revealing lack of exams impacting students' performances severely. The survey criticised the no-exam policy of the Right to Education Act, stating that Class 10 students of state boards are struggling to get even 40 percent of the answers right in subjects like Mathematics, Social Science, Science, and English.
The NAS survey, which was carried out on 5 February, also found that "Class 10 students were performing worse than classes 3, 5 and 8 students — evidence of the problem of poor learning being simply moved up the chain to higher classes," a Times of India report said.
The report further added that "if 64 percent of Class 3 students of the state, CBSE and ICSE boards answered a Mathematics question right, the score was down to less than 40 percent for all state boards barring Andhra Pradesh for Class 10. The NAS for junior classes saw the percentage dipping to 54 percentage in Class 5 and 42 percent in Class 8."
Citing the Class 10 NAS survey findings, Hindustan Times said that in schools affiliated to the CBSE, "the average score of a student was 52.31 percent in Mathematics, 51.10 percent in Science, 53.29 percent in Social science, 58.54 percent in English and 62.28 percent in modern Indian languages. Similarly, in schools following the ICSE board, the average score of a student was 51.09 percent in Mathematics, 53.52 percent in Science, 51.15 percent in Social Science, 70.38 percent in English and 54.28 percent in modern Indian languages."
Class 10 students in Bihar performed worst in English with an average score of 28.95 percent, followed by Madhya Pradesh (29.65 percent) and Chhattisgarh (30.17 percent), the report added.
The NAS assessment report is likely to bring about a change in the no-detention policy of the Right to Education Act, which graduates students from Class 5 to 8 despite performing poorly in academics.
Union Minister of HRD Prakash Javadekar had already said hinted the government's support towards bringing about a change in the RTE Act. In fact, earlier this month, Javadekar had talked about a Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) meeting, where education ministers from 25 states had demanded a change in the policy to promote all students till Class 8, seeking detention in Class 5 and Class 8.
The current NAS report is likely to strengthen the case of 25 states seeking removal of the no-detention policy.
The NAS survey involved a sample of 15 lakh students and used competency-based test questions developed to reflect the learning outcomes which were recently incorporated in the central rules for RTE Act by the Government of India.
The recent results of Class 10 examinations, NAS revelations, when compared to the recent outcomes of some state board results, puts forth an even more disappointing image of students abilities in state board government and government-aided schools.
That only 51.47 percent students (overall) passed the Gujarat State Education Board SSC (Class 10) examinations, the results of which were declared on Monday, is likely to strengthen the cause to end the no-detention policy. Nearly half of the 11 lakh students who appeared in the Gujarat Board Class 10 exams failed to qualify.
Meanwhile, according to another Times of India report, even as CBSE Class 12 results showed a record number of students scoring above 90 percent marks, the pass percentage in the Patna region (Bihar and Jharkhand) witnessed a sharp dip of 4.06 percent from last year’s 74.60 percent.
According to teachers in the region, the no-detention policy, which allows even weaker students to qualify to the next class, is one of the reasons behind the fall in passing percentage. “The central government is planning to amend the RTE Act to allow states to conduct examinations in classes 5 and 8 and detain students if their performance is poor. Due to the no-detention policy, even weak students with poor basic concept advance to higher classes,” Rajiv Ranjan Sinha, principal of Baldwin Academy and CBSE city coordinator, said, according to the report.
However, as Firstpost writer Vivek Kaul pointed out, introducing exams at Class 5 and Class 8 alone won't help improve the situation. "To deliver better learning outcomes what is needed is a radical reorientation of the way things are taught in schools across this country," the author wrote.
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