COMPARING THE DIFFICULTY LEVEL OF ASSET HINDI PAPERS WITH THE TEXTBOOKS

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Hindi is being taught in schools all across the country. As already mentioned in one of our previous posts- http://blog.ei-india.com/2015/04/are-kids-from-non-hindi-speaking-regions-really-bad-in-hindi/ , ‘…one’s competency of Hindi as a language is not influenced by whether it is your mother tongue or not’. To study this in a more structured manner, we did a Hindi textbook analysis in which we randomly picked some of the Hindi textbooks from some commonly used publishers, which are being used in schools (CBSE & ICSE) from most of the regions of India. We then, tried to compare them with our ASSET Hindi papers.

To give a brief detail about ASSET Hindi, it is a diagnostic test which is being taken by schools, teaching Hindi only as the Second Language, from classes- 4 to 8. Usually, while preparing the ASSET papers of a certain class level, we test topics and concepts of lower class levels, i.e. ASSET paper of class-4 will be majorly based on topics and concepts covered upto class-3. For more details about ASSET, please refer to — http://www.ei-india.com/asset/ .

While this has not been an exhaustive study, we tried to cover the prominent and commonly used textbooks. And we found out that though all these textbooks largely follow the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) guidelines, the level of words and language used seemed to be on a higher side at some places. Also, the passages used in the ASSET Hindi papers are not very difficult and are very much in accordance with the class levels.

This table gives a comparison between the analyzed textbooks and the ASSET Hindi papers, based on the following criteria:

Criteria In School Textbooks In ASSET Hindi Paper Length of Poems/Passages In Poems– no. of lines approx. 12–20 (in class-3) to 18–40 lines (in class-7). In stories, passages etc.– approx. 350–600 words (in class-3) to 600–950 words (in class-7) In Poems- no. of lines approx. 10–15 (in class-4) to 16–25 lines (in class-8). In Stories, Passages etc.– no. of words 130–150 words (in class-4) to 250–350 words (in class-8) Skills Covered Oral and written expression, creative writing, word vocabulary, recall, Grammar topics, understanding and formation of sentences, Poetic skills including knowledge of rhyming words (समान तुक वाले शब्द), idioms and many more Dictionary skills (varnamala & shabdkosh-kram), spellings, word vocabulary, comprehension of passages and poems, grammar topics, analysis and inferences and idioms-phrases Word-level Many words looked difficult and age-inappropriate, especially in junior classes (upto class-5). Few examples- चौकसी, अनशन, कोंपल (in class-3); कलरव, तिरस्कार, पुलकित (in class-4); अभयारण्य, अगाध, परिचायक (in class-5); अमरत्व, रुदन, नयनाभिराम (in class-6); विक्षोभ, जिरह, विहान (in class-7). These words are too difficult for their respective classes. We try using simple and age-appropriate words and language. We give meanings to all the difficult words which come in the text. Language Difficulty It is mostly appropriate for the respective classes. However, a few chapters on biographies, information, discoveries, etc., did look a bit difficult. According to the class-level. Some passages may look a bit difficult depending on the topic/context.

  • In school textbooks, some complex muhavras/kahaavat have been introduced right from class-3, whereas in ASSET Hindi, we have this skill only from class-6. Some examples of such muhavras from these textbooks- पेट में बल पड़ना, कूप-मंडूक होना (class-3); पिंड छुड़ाना (class-4); कोयले की खान में हीरा, काटो तो खून नहीं (class-6); खून सवार होना, ताँता बंधना (class-7).
  • Not much focus was seen on Spelling Exercises in the textbooks. It’s a huge issue among school children and teachers themselves agree that spelling practice gets missed out in schools. We, in ASSET, definitely ask at least 2–3 questions on spellings.
  • Dictionary Skill has been touched upon very briefly in class-3 textbooks. In classes-5 and 6, there’s a note on Shabdkosh usage and continuing with this, there’s a brief exercise in class-6. But still, there’re not enough exercises on this topic in all the textbooks. Whereas, in ASSET, we ask वर्णमाला-क्रम questions in classes-4 & 5 and questions on शब्दकोश-क्रम only after class-6 (one question in each class).

In future, we are planning to do this kind of analysis with more textbooks from different schools affiliated to various boards, across different zones.

By Swati Jha — Educational Specialist (Member of Test Development Team)

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Originally published at blog.ei-india.com on May 21, 2015.

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