SCERT’s 2-Day Workshop Puts NAS-21 Report Card Under Scanner

Discusses ways to close learning gaps and achieve learning goals

By Farooq Shah

SRINAGAR– A two-day workshop organized by the State Council of Educational Research and Training (SCERT), Kashmir, examined district-by-district results from the National Achievement Survey (NAS) 2021 and offered solutions to close any learning gaps that prevented the participating students from achieving the intended learning outcomes.

Experts from the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) were called in to assist the representatives from all 20 districts of the Union Territory in minutely analyzing the reasons for not performing up to the mark in the survey. This is despite the fact that Jammu and Kashmir had registered an impressive performance in the sample-based National Achievement Survey (NAS) conducted by the Ministry of Education for classes 3, 5, 8 and 10 on November 12 of last year.

The survey, which took place in some 720 districts across the country, was a competency-based national-level large-scale assessment that aimed to provide information about students’ learning achievement so that a system-level reflection on the effectiveness of school education in the country could be conducted.

The participants, who were split up into different groups according to their districts, took their time to filter out data by districts from the NAS portal and then individually emphasized the elements while showing their performance through PowerPoint presentations.

Joint Director of SCERT’s Jammu Division, H R Pakhroo, while emphasizing the significance of the workshop, promised that SCERT will provide all possible assistance to achieve the goals of the NAS exercise.

In order to close the learning gaps highlighted by the NAS assessment, Pakhroo declared that “a student would always be at the centre of our attention.”

“To ensure that our children understand the fundamentals of literacy and numeracy from a young age, we need to strengthen the ECCE centres,” he said.

Understanding the results of NAS-2021 at the state and district levels, according to Prof. Indrani Bhaduri, head of the Educational Survey Division at the NCERT, who participated in the workshop via videoconference from New Delhi, is essential for addressing learning gaps and maximizing resources for raising children’s learning levels.

“In order to devise an evidence-based intervention plan, we’re planning to take up the findings with the relevant authorities and other stakeholders,” Prof Indrani said. “Organizing training of teachers to strengthen their capacity to understand survey results at the district level, to identify learning gaps and to co-develop effective pedagogical practice is something we are working on.”

The things that we would be looking at are subject areas across courses, specific learning gaps in terms of poor-performing LOs, and critical contextual problems such a low instructor attendance rate at TDPs (Teaching Development Plan), a severe workload, a lack of washrooms in schools, and insufficient library resources, she added.

Dr. Gulfam, an assistant professor at NCERT, New Delhi, who specializes in large-scale assessment surveys, claimed that the main purpose of the NAS survey activity was to undertake a district-by-district health checkup of the national education scenario.

The development of report cards, he said, used to take a significant amount of time, but with the advent of various modern technologies, it is now possible to lay out data in the shortest amount of time, enabling the policy planners to devise more effective plans.

“The workshop’s major goal was to give the attendees an understanding of the significance of managing data in a more sophisticated way,” Dr Gulfam said, “so that, when they interacted with field teachers, they had a greater understanding of the survey process in their minds.”

This way the objectives of the School Based Assessment (SBA), he said, would be realized in a more effective way.

One of the participants suggested that schools should go for academic audits by external experts periodically in order to ascertain the implementation of different policies, schemes and measures post such surveys.

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