Framed Boundaries

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Before sharing my experience I would like to give brief on background.

The Large Scale Assessments carried out by Education Initiatives Pvt. Ltd. (EI) are targeted to bring out learning strengths and gaps through various assessments. In those assessments, the tools that are used are different than the regular high stake examinations students appear for. The items there are more conceptual. The concepts tested are in alignment with their state curriculum.

On field, when these tests are conducted, I am one of the field members to monitor and scrutinize the processes. During this visit I meet teachers, student, principals and parents if they available in school during this time. These meetings are always very insightful. All these people share their own view points about educational system, educational practices, the positive things and negative things about our system etc.

One thing which remains static in these visits is the demand to obtain the question papers :)I invariably ask them why do they need the papers and the answer is also almost tape recorded. “This paper style and questions are new for our children. We will make them practice for next year so that they can easily answer them”.

Depending on the project requirements, some clients do allow schools to get these papers. This time when I went to the schools during testing, I decided to find out what were they doing with these papers. What I saw was eye opening. Teachers were trying not to teach concepts to make students understand and learn better, they were making students practice (rote learn) the types and tricks of questions so that they can answer them better. They made students solve the papers 5–6 times.

The whole purpose of these assessments is to find out and encourage students to learn concepts rather than opt for rote learning. By practicing again and again, students only memorise the answers, which serve no purpose towards learning with understanding.

This attitude to adhere to the framed boundaries of rote learning will have to change if we wish to promote learning by understanding in our society. With a hope to ultimately see learning happening, we continue to march in that direction.

By Dhrumit Vyas — Sr Executive (Member of Large Scale Assessment)

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Originally published at blog.ei-india.com on October 27, 2015.

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