Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation

In August 2009, the Indian parliament enacted the Right to Education (RTE) Act which enshrined education from 6 to 14 years as a ‘right’. The Act additionally mandated a variety of ‘requirements’ relating to infrastructure, Pupil Teacher Ratio (PTR), curriculum, teacher training, inclusionary education, and the focus of this article – a continuous and comprehensive student evaluation system (CCE). The objective of these mandates was ensuring a ‘quality’ education for children.

Reforms in assessments have been extensively deliberated in India. National policies and commissions before Independence, such as the Hartog Committee (1929) and Sargent Plan (1944) as well as those post-independence such as the Mudaliar Commission (1953), Kothari Commission (1964), National Policy on Education (NPE) 1968 and ‘86, Learning Without Burden (1993) and National Curriculum Framework (NCF) 2000 and 2005 have recommended changes in the examination system.

Earthian is a sustainability education program for schools and colleges run by Wipro. For the purposes of this article, we will consider only the school programme going forward.

This is the Editorial of Issue XX (August 2013) of the Learning Curve on the theme of ‘Assessment in School Education’. Editor Prema Raghunath gives an overview of the kinds of articles the Issue carries.

Ask parents of today what they want their children to become when they grow up. Some may respond with the exact name of a profession. From the classic doctor or engineer to the socalled more ‘open-minded’ ones choosing music artiste or sports player! Whatever the profession these parents choose, for most the basic premise is for their children to pursue a livelihood with passion and one that provides for financial sustenance.
There has been a paradigm shift in the way we look at assessments today. The older system (traditional examination system) of assessment and evaluation was mainly based on paperpencil tests and a lot of importance was given to rote learning and memorization. It focused only on measuring the knowledge and understanding level of the child. Marks and ranks which were awarded, pointed out the learning level reached by the child at the end of a semester and his / her position with respect to other peers in his / her class. There was no scope for remediation.
The introduction of Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation [CCE], as part of examination reform in all schools across our vast nation, has made the general buzz around it sound professional with terms like ‘formative’ and ‘summative’ being used comfortably by teachers. This is a welcome development since it is our teachers who actually operationalize this initiative even in remote districts in the country.
These days there has been a lot of debate in schools over Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE). Earlier methods of assessment have been considered by some to be ineffective and that the entire procedure has got entangled in a system of examination upon which everything depends. The earlier systems of assessments were not able to show students in what ways their learning had been instrumental in changing attitudes. Nor were they able to indicate to guardians what their children knew or did not know.

Assessment! When I was a child, it meant examination that comes at the end of three months/ six months and then at the end of a session. I knew that I can’t play during examination time and need to learn what was taught for the last three months. I was aware that once the examination is over, I can again be a free bird! I still remember the joy we had at the end of the last paper of terminal examination. We used to come home dancing, playing ‘holi’ with ink and making airplanes of our question papers!

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