No Written Exams till Class 2 as per Draft NCF Proposals

The draft National Curriculum Framework (NCF) says that explicit tests and exams are not good ways to test children up to the second grade, and that written tests should be used starting in the third grade.

The NCF also says that assessment methods shouldn’t add more work for the child. Children shouldn’t have to worry about tests until they are in the second grade.

The framework that is being made based on the new National Education Policy (NEP) says that observing the child and analyzing artifacts that the child has made as part of their learning experience are two important ways to evaluate a child at the foundational stage.

The draft says that clear tests and exams are not at all good ways to measure learning at the Foundational stage. (preschool to class 2). “Assessment should take into account that children are different and learn in different ways. Children learn and show what they’ve learned in different ways.

There could be many ways to measure if a learning result or competency has been met. The teacher should be able to come up with different ways to test the same learning goal and use each test in the right way.

Evaluation should be able to be recorded and written down. The progress of children should be described and analysed by collecting data in a systematic way. The child shouldn’t have to do anything extra because of the assessment.

“Assessment tools and processes should be made in a way that makes them a natural part of the child’s learning,” the report says.

Describing the assessment for preparatory stage (class 3 to 5), the draft recommends that “written tests should be introduced at this stage”.

There should be a range of ways to test to help people learn. Students can use their work in their portfolios to show how they have grown as a whole. This could also give parents a good idea of how well their kids are learning. Peer and self-evaluations could also be used to help students keep track of how they are doing in school.

It says, “At the end of the preparatory stage, there should be a comprehensive summative assessment of the student’s readiness to enter the middle stage, where several new curriculum areas are introduced.”

Thursday, the education ministry put out a “pre-draft” of the NCF for school education and asked students, parents, teachers, and scholars for their feedback.

The draft put together by a group led by K Kasturirangan, the former head of ISRO, says that the middle stage (classes 6–8) should focus on conceptual thinking and higher-order skills.

“Therefore, projects, debates, presentations, experiments, investigations, role plays, journals, and portfolios should be used to measure learning in the classroom.”

Regular summative tests at this stage will help students put together what they’ve learned at sensible times, like at the end of the year, term, or unit.

“From time to time, summative assessments that include multiple-choice questions and written answers like short and long answers may be used,” it says.

The panel has said that thorough classroom assessments should be used well in the secondary stage (classes 9–12) to help students learn more and get useful feedback. Regular summative tests should be given to keep track of what students have learned in relation to their skills.

Self-evaluation is going to be a big part of how students learn at this point. Students should be able to keep track of what they are learning and use what they find out to change, adapt, and come up with their own ways to learn.

Case-based questions, simulations, and essay-style questions can be used to test competencies in summative assessments.

At this point, students should also be ready to take the board exams and other selection tests in order to get into college and get a job,” the draft says.

Officials from the ministry said that the new NCF-aligned textbooks will be used beginning next year. The Education Ministry has made four NCFs based on the 5-3-3-4 “curriculum and pedagogy” framework that NEP 2020 has suggested for school education.

In October 2022, the ministry started the NCF for the basic stage (NCF-FS) for children ages 3 to 8. In line with this strategy, the next NCF for education in schools is being made.

Some of the suggestions in the pre-draft include changing the board exams for classes 10 and 12, aligning the change from a 10-2 structure to a 5-3-3-4 structure, and putting more emphasis on developmental perspectives that suggest curriculum and teaching changes at different stages, such as foundational, preparatory, middle, and secondary.

The NCF has been revised four times – in 1975, 1988, 2000 and 2005. The new proposed revision will be the fifth of the framework.