CBSE evaluation system needs thorough review: Report
The CBSE's Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) system, which entails frequent evaluation of students, needs a "thorough review" in design and appropriateness, as well as in teaching training and implementation, says an impact evaluation report carried out in various government schools in Haryana.
The CCE, which intends to help improve a student's performance by identifying his/her learning difficulties at regular intervals and employing suitable remedial measures, was introduced by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) in 2009 under the Right to Education (RTE) Act.
The evaluation was funded by 3ie, an international organisation which focusses on generating high quality evidence that contributes to effective policies for the poor.
Carried out in 500 government primary and upper primary schools in Haryana, the evaluation intended to quantify the effect of CCE and NGO Pratham's Learning Enhancement Programme (LEP) that provides teachers with the "right tools and space" enabling them to teach according to a child's competency level.
"There are a variety of issues that affect the Indian education system - lack of physical, human resources and financial inputs, lack of teacher accountability, inappropriate pedagogy and curriculum, health, knowledge barriers of students and parents," Shobhini Mukerji, executive director, Abdul Latif Jameel Poverty Action Lab (J-PAL), South Asia, told IANS.
To understand the effectiveness of both the programmes, the Haryana government partnered with research centre J-PAL to conduct a rigorous randomised impact evaluation of both CCE and LEP in two districts - Mahendragarh and Kurukshetra.
The CCE has to be adopted by all Indian states. Haryana introduced the programme in 2011.
The primary schools evaluated were divided into four groups of 100 each. Group one received only CCE treatment, group two received only LEP, group three received both programmes simultaneously and group four received neither. The students were tested on their abilities in basic Hindi and basic math - written and oral.
The 100 upper primary schools surveyed were divided into two lots, one where CCE was in force and other where it wasn't. (The LEP is applicable to only primary schools.)
Sharing the results of the evaluation, Harini Kannan, senior research manager, J-PAL South Asia, said that the LEP demonstrates that government teachers can improve learning outcomes through changes in teaching practices.
"The CCE programme had no significant effect on test scores for students in either primary or upper primary schools. The CCE scheme, in its current form, needs a thorough review in design and appropriateness, as well as in teacher training and implementation," Kannan told IANS.
"LEP on the other hand mitigates the issue of 'teaching to the top of the class' by allowing for grouping of students by ability level and focusses its attention on first ensuring children attain some basic competencies," Mukerji added.
She said that regular evaluation of pupils is essential to teaching, but the "complexity of CCE's evaluation tools and the lack of a clear connection between such evaluations and specific changes in teaching practices appear to have limited the usefulness".
The results of the impact evaluation will be shared at the first international conference on impact evaluation - Making Impact Evaluation Matter - in Manila Sep 1-5 that the Asian Development Bank is hosting.
Apart from Haryana, case studies of Gujarat, West Bengal and Bihar will also be presented and discussed.
(Shweta Sharma can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Posted on 31-08-2014)