Academic Performance in the Context of LOCF

Structural Reforms that are needed in the Context of LOCF
Academic Performance in the Context of LOCF

After Curriculum Framework (2005) and Curriculum Framework for TeacherEducation (2009), the University Grants Commission came out with LearningOutcomes Based Curriculum Framework (LOCF) in 2018. The fundamental premise ofthe LOCF is that a graduate at the end should have been able to be employablebased on the updated knowledge, skill set and core values gained during theprogram.  Of late, an attempt has beenmade by the Higher Education Department of J&K to empower institutions ofhigher learning at under graduation level to organise seminars in varioussubjects with due financial support for creating awareness of different aspectsof the LOCF. It is expected that through LOCF, the teachers will be able todevelop the core competencies of the students with due regard to graduateattributes and qualification descriptors. However, we believe that formativeassessment: examination: summative evaluation can play a crucial role in thehigher order abilities, knowledge and skills of the students to achieve thewell-defined outcomes.

Until today, we follow a stereotyped traditional closed book examinationsystem where an examinee is required to rely on his memory to answer thequestions. For that matter, he borrows guide books and yellow notes from themarket to memorize things and eventually reproduce them into his answer sheetwithout understanding philosophical foundation of the concept and theimplications thereof. It is very difficult to afford an examination systemwhere memory is prioritised over mind, book over discourse and information overphilosophy. It is therefore high time to freeze the remote teaching andlearning practices at higher education level to allow students to groom betterskilled humans for the better tomorrow through open book examination system.Accordingly, the LOCF suggests that open book system could be introduced indifferent phases from theoretical and conceptual courses of study tomathematical and computational papers.

Under closed book system, the students are being evaluated through OMRsand shortcuts. The question papers require students to recall a theoreticalapproach from their memory.  We do notsuggest that the memory or OMRs have no value in education but what we aretrying to say is that memorization and shortcut practices can stop studentsfrom free and critical thinking. Not only the open book examination system canbring a new way of evaluation of the students, but the instruction strategiesand relevant pedagogies used by teachers for teaching in classrooms will alsotake a U-turn.  The question papersetting under this system demands proficiency and comprehensive understandingby the faculty where a student is required to use his cognitive abilities andhigher order analytical skills.   Thestudents will be motivated to attend classes knowing the fact that the activelearning in the class cannot be served by the books and study materials attheir disposal.

Efforts should be made to involve students for debates and discussions inthe classroom. Debating academic, social, economic and industrial issues mayhelp students to improve their abstract thinking, reasoning and even publicspeaking and behavioural skills. Unless students are not engaged indiscussions, they cannot deliver their arguments or develop solutions to theproblems. We need to revisit examination centric education system to see thatthe time consumed in the process of assessment, examination, and evaluationdoes not encroach upon the time allotted for teaching learning process to earnrelevant credits under Choice Based Credit System (CBCS). Besides, based onwell-defined learning outcomes, benchmarking evaluation process may prove to bean effective tool for measurement of an academic performance of students. Anevaluator therefore must set prior performance standards for his students tocompare them to the post evaluation performance from them. This exercise willgive teacher a quick pulse of understanding to identify the students' academicstrengths and weaknesses that in turn will help him to adjust his instructionalstrategies and pedagogical approach in and outside the classroom.

In order to draw broader and reasonable conclusions, the overallperformance of students in each subject/program needs to be assessed throughstatistical measures. This will help policy makers to make a comparativeanalysis of the overall academic performance of the institution against itshistorical performance. The whole exercise will give an idea to revisit andimplement new methods in student centric teaching learning process. In recentyears, result performance analysis have played imperative role in education toguide the policy makers to meet the standards of the global curriculum.Furthermore now a days grading of students in terms of value addition is basedon Rubrics and Portfolio Management. A rubric is a guide containing specificcriteria for grading academic papers. It can be shared with students at thebeginning of a task or assignment to help them plan and monitor their workeffectively and efficiently.

The UGC funded HRD Centres need to redefine their role to keep abreast oflatest developments in the context of LOCF. It is vital for them to connectacademic dots to create an interface between higher education and society atlarge. Besides, they need to monitor and evaluate refresher and orientationcourses to ensure sustained human resource development under the watchdog roleplayed by the UGC.

The evaluation process audit will provide an opportunity to the academicgovernance to see if the evaluation processes are serving the purposeeffectively and efficiently intended under LOCF.  Such an exercise will clarify the role andresponsibilities of the teachers as evaluators. Besides, it will help academicplanners and policy makers to explore and implement innovative and transparentevaluation policies and practices leading to accountability in the entirehigher education system.

Conclusion

The paradigm of the LOCF is to make teaching-learning process purposeful.It encourages students what they are expected to gain upon the completion ofthe course. The teachers need to revisit encourage student centric approach oflearning their teaching to respond to the personal and professional needs ofthe students. This in turn demands some serious academic reforms that canrestore an intellectual adventure for both students and teachers. Thereformations are not a choice but a necessity to ensure that the demand forstudents' best fit in the market professionals. The suggestions andrecommendations if taken together will certainly ensure a promising educationsystem with quality outcome. Thus, in nutshell LOCF effects change incurriculum management in totality.

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