In news: Three global educational non-profits — Educational Testing Services (ETS), American Institutes for Research (AIR) and the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) —have expressed interest in helping to set up India’s first national school-level examination and assessment regulator.
- The organisations approached the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), for selecting consulting services to set up the proposed regulator PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development), which is envisaged as an instrument for “establishing comparative measures and equivalence” among school examination boards and promoting collaboration among them.
- ETS is internationally recognised for conducting TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and GRE (Graduate Record Examination), which are gateways to higher education in top institutes worldwide.
- AIR and ACER are leading names in research on behavioural and social science domains and learning assessment studies.
- ACER, which is based in Australia, has an Indian wing. It is primarily known for conducting a set of benchmark tests for learning assessment in English, Mathematics and Science for classes III-X.
- AIR carried a study in the US on racial disparities and economic mobility among others in 1960s.
- While the NCERT is an autonomous organisation under the Ministry of Education, PARAKH will be a constituent body of the council. The consulting firm will initially be selected on a three-year-contract, which will be renewed each year based on its performance, states the RFP.
- NCERT will develop and validate standards of assessment for all school stages and curricular areas of school education, based on NEP 2020.
- It will provide technical guidelines and inputs for boards to design, develop, and implement state-wide systems for measuring student learning aligned with state and national curricular standards
Significance of PARAKH:
- Function as a standard-setting body for student assessment and evaluation for all school boards across the country.
- Address the issue of disparities in scores of students affiliated to different boards.
- Conduct future rounds of National Achievement Surveys (NAS) on learning outcomes and review all aspects of the design and conduct of the NAS exercises and identify areas for improvement.
- Incorporate international evidence to strengthen assessment systems in India to meet Covid-19 and other pandemic situations.
- Manage India’s participation in international assessments like the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), or Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS).
Source: Indian Express