SBA: A new tool with positive hopes

The new system is expected to empower the teachers while assessing the learning ability, talent among the students
The SCERT in its report has suggested that the assessment process should address the needs of the students and contain a variety of formats to make it interesting and joyful. [Representational Image]
The SCERT in its report has suggested that the assessment process should address the needs of the students and contain a variety of formats to make it interesting and joyful. [Representational Image] File/ GK

The State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) has come up with a new initiative of School Based Assessment (SBA) which is a new tool to evaluate the school children.

The new system will replace the previous time consuming method of holding examinations which would unnecessarily engage the human resource and would make the simple process a complex one. Moreover, the process had made the simple assessment of children a hectic process which would affect the mental health of the students.

The SCERT has initiated the review and revision of assessment process in the light of the recommendations of the National Education Policy– 2020.

The purpose of revising the assessment process is to provide a stress-free learning environment to the students based on their understanding and comprehension.

The SCERT in its report has suggested that the assessment process should address the needs of the students and contain a variety of formats to make it interesting and joyful.

The new SBA suggests that the pedagogy and curriculum are dynamic concepts and it becomes imperative to assimilate and adopt the changing trends.

The new system of assessment has in a way empowered the concerned school teachers instead of making it a lengthy process which would engage the schools and DIETs as well for holding the exams.

The new proposal of SBA, as per the SCERT marks a paradigm shift in evaluating the learning outcome of the children at the primary, elementary and secondary levels. The SCERT has stated that the purpose of SBA is to empower teachers to improve the learning levels of the students. Terming it a decentralized test, the SCERT has stated that a strong and relevant feedback mechanism will be inbuilt allowing the teacher to give immediate and constructive feedback to students.

Under the new system of assessment it is believed to overcome the maladies and shortcomings that had crept in during implementation of Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) causing serious malfunctioning.

The schools will do away with the past practice wherein the question papers of framing question papers by DIETs and other third party. The concerned teacher will be empowered to evaluate the students by applying different tools and techniques. The assessment will be done by activity based learning.

Under the new system, the assessment and evaluation of the student will completely be the responsibility of the concerned teacher to identify the gray areas or any sort of blockade faced by the students.

To make the new system applicable, the SCERT will start a training process for the teachers and train them to assess the students on the basis of their knowledge and other different formats.

The assessment process has been revised and reviewed by the SCERT in line with the recommendations of the NCERT and the NEP-2020.

To implement the new system in schools, the Educational Research Survey and Assessment Division (ERSA) division of the SCERT has come up with a material of its own wherein the examples have been developed to ensure that the child takes keen interest in tackling them.

The department believes that the new system of SBA is a complete shift from the ritual of rote memory that has plagued the creativity of the school children.

While framing the new initiative of SBA, the SCERT has taken care to keep the spirit of NEP-2020 intact which aims to make the child an active participant in the teaching-learning process and not only a passive receiver of knowledge.

While the new system of assessment is yet to be implemented in schools, the need of the hour is that the teachers and other stakeholders share their experiences with SCERT to make this exemplar material more fruitful keeping in view the challenges to implement it in schools.

THE SCERT in its report has further stated that the fundamental purpose of designing and developing examples for SBA was to improve the quality of teaching, learning and assessment by assisting and guiding teachers with the setting and development of standardized SBA tasks and assessment tools.

The new initiative is expected to make the evaluation student friendly instead of putting students to mental depression wherein a student was ranked only through grades he obtains in the tests conducted by the schools. All the other abilities and talent were not counted while evaluation in the previous system of exams.

The new SBA has been introduced to ensure a stress free and quality-oriented education to the children.

Referring to the NEP-2020, the SCERT has stated that the policy has proposed transforming assessment for student development wherein it is envisaged that the aim of assessment in the culture of the schooling system will shift from summative to formative and is more competency-based besides promotes learning and development of our students.

Under the new system the higher-order skills such as analysis, conceptual clarity, critical thinking and creativity of the students will be assessed as well.

The department believes that the primary purpose of assessment will be for learning and help the teacher and student besides the entire schooling system to optimize learning and development for all students.

The contents of the report state that SBA, integrating teaching, learning and assessment is a pressure free environment of assessment involving both students and teachers for improving performance on a continuous basis by providing and using feedback.

“It is a formative assessment and its purpose is not recording and reporting the performances of the students by replacing summative assessment but to empower the school and the teacher by providing some kind of autonomy in the assessment process,” it reads.

The SBA will use different assessment strategies that connect teaching, learning and assessment to real life settings and provides a way to assess and give feedback on activities, surveys, demonstrations, role plays, project works, assignments, presentations, and loud reading.

The report has focused on various methods and pedagogies and has stressed the teachers to understand the salient features of the SBA, which are:

Integrate teaching-learning and assessment

Child-centered and activity based pedagogy

Focus on (learning-outcome based) competency development rather than content memorisation

Promotes higher-order thinking skills

Broadening the scope of assessment by way of including self-assessment, peer-assessment besides teacher assessment

Non-threatening, stress free and enhanced participation/interaction · Focus on assessment of/and/as learning rather than evaluation of achievement

Reposing faith on teacher and the system

Enhancing self confidence in children

The SCERT has developed examples of Languages (English, Urdu and Kashmiri) keeping in view the basic requirements of language learning and its assessment. The examples of Science have been prepared in a manner that they inculcate among the students a scientific attitude by acquiring process skills. Examples in Mathematics have been designed in such a way that it helps a child to understand how the subject is a methodical application of matter.

“The examples aim at making the lives of children and prevent chaos by inculcating a sense of reasoning, creativity, critical thinking, problem-solving ability and even effective communication skills,” the report reads.

After compiling a detailed report on SBA, the SCERT is planning to hold training sessions for all the teachers to get the SBA implemented in schools.

Introduction of SBA is expected to relieve the students from the exam stress and will also pave the way for the more close interaction of teachers with their students.

Let us hope that the teachers adopt the new assessment techniques and improve the overall capabilities of the students which has always remained at the back burner while focus was shifted to the grades instead of the overall development and assessment of the students from their early age. Let SBA bring new hope to the department.

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