Despite protests over the timing of the second summative assessment tests, which clashes with school examinations, the education department went ahead, conducting the tests in all schools in Maharashtra on April 5.
A compulsory test for two subjects—language and mathematics, it has been introduced for students from classes II-VIII to gauge their learning outcomes, since the RTE Act mandates a ‘No Detention’ policy for these classes.
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However, even as schools geared up for the exams on Tuesday, the day didn’t go off without glitches. For instance, lack of question papers for one. Nandkumar Kakirde, director and secretary of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan said that a lot of time was wasted in photocopying question papers.
“We had at least 300 students who had to take baseline tests, but received only 75-80 question sets. We had to photocopy the rest and a lot of time was wasted,” he said.
Similarly, Bibvewadi’s Vishwakarma Vidyalaya faced a shortage of 50 per cent question papers. “We don’t know if the state government provided adequate number of question papers or whether there was a problem in distribution from the centres appointed by them. We also heard from some official that we were supposed to let them know our capacity in advance, but frankly we had not received any such communication,” said a school official.
“However we didn’t waste time during the exams, since we recieved question papers at least two days in advance and we had made adequate arrangements before the papers started. But we heard from many schools about a similar shortfall they experienced,” the official added.
Meanwhile, Govind Nandede, director of Maharashtra State Council of Education, Research and Training (MSCERT), denied any shortfall. “I have not received any such reports. In fact, we have given at least five per cent extra papers to all schools. I will look into the complaints of these schools. But if you ask me, the tests went off without any hiccups across the state,” he said.
Earlier too, there was some confusion as schools were not sure if they had to conduct their own tests for the same subjects. “Some schools had even prepared their own question papers and some even conducted the tests. But later it became clear that no one was supposed to conduct the tests for these subjects,” said an official. The second and final paper for the summative assessment II tests for mathematics would be conducted on April 6.