Shaken by a series of international as well as domestic studies that have exposed how poorly Indian schools rank on the quality of education being imparted,the Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry is now quietly working on its own learning assessment exam for school-goers.
To be named the Problem Solving Test (PST),this proposal is being given the final touches by the ministry and Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
The CBSE will roll out the exam in December this year. Students of Class IX and Class XI will be asked to appear for this exam in multiple choice question format which will assess their critical thinking and analytical abilities.
The idea is to get a feedback on the effectiveness of pedagogy and to develop a sort of barometer of teacher-student-classroom learning.
There is a lot of reform being initiated in the school sector and it is only logical that we also know where we stand as far as learning levels of students are concerned. The test will be conducted for all CBSE-affiliated schools in Delhi in December this year as a pilot, said a senior official.
The government decision to conduct an in-house test to monitor school education quality follows the findings of the PISA and Annual Status of Education reports that were released earlier this year.
Stung with all-round criticism of the countrys education system,the HRD Ministry ordered a probe into how and why Indian students performed poorly at the PISA an international rating system for schools from 74 economies that tests the learning levels of 15-year-olds.
Indias debut at the PISA saw some 16,000 15-year-olds from schools in Himachal Pradesh and Tamil Nadu taking part. They ranked near the bottom in all categories,outscoring only Kyrgyzstan. In contrast,while school-goers from South Korea and Finland bagged top slots on the rankings,China surprised everyone with its Shanghai schools topping the maths and science rankings.
The Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) 2011,prepared by NGO Pratham,only confirmed that the huge deficit in education quality started right at elementary level.
The report revealed that both reading and arithmetic abilities in schools are on a downslide. The all-India figure for the proportion of children in Class V able to read a Class II text had dropped from 53.7 per cent in 2010 to 48.2 per cent in 2011. Also,a fall in arithmetic abilities was seen across all states.