India, considered as one of the education hubs of the world, has one of the archaic education policy dating back to the colonial times. Over the years, no significant changes have been enacted in the policy to alter the approach in schools or colleges. Although, education is a key tool for development, however, the process has not seen any amendments over the years. Assessment in schools or colleges can be anything from a mere administrative impediment to a tense, future-determining practise for students, especially in India, where the education process lays a greater emphasis on the examination system.
Assessment is an important component of the education system, which ascertains whether the knowledge imparted has been grasped by the individual or not. However, a significant question which arises from the end of course assessment process (final exams) of India is – What is the real motive behind assessment? To compare the performance of various students or to facilitate their passing, or to assess their proficiency in a particular subject.
The irony, however, is that assessment has become too concentric around the academic activities. Rather than assessing the knowledge domain of the individuals, assessment at the end of course (read as final exams) is used to compare the performance of different individuals and ultimately ranking them according to the results. This not only promotes rot learning but also defeats the complete principle of teaching – “understanding of concepts”.
Purpose of Continuous Assessment
Many believe that the assessment model shouldn’t have to be postponed till the end of course/semester, instead tight, closed feedback/assessments can have two major advantages. One, teachers can make corrections to their teaching techniques in case of unsatisfactory results and two, students can rework on the weak areas before progressing; giving students a continuous stream of opportunities to prove their mastery. Further advantages of the continuous assessment model are:
Mastery of Concepts
The continuous model insures that, assessment is embedded in flow of learning. Currently our examination system is based on testing the seat time instead of the mastery of concepts, however, the continuous model ensures that the progress from one course to the other is based on mastery of concepts. Students who are weak in any particular course can correct their performance in due time before moving on to the higher concepts. The awareness of one’s performance and results insures that the student is aware about the results and can improve their weaker concepts.
Help for Teachers
One of the biggest challenges facing teachers today is the diversity of population in classrooms. Students come from different social, economic, and geographical backgrounds making the classrooms as diverse as they ever have been. Every student has their own weaknesses and strengths, some face difficulty in understanding the language, while others may feel uncomfortable in certain specific courses. This is where continuous assessment plays an important role of helping a teacher juggle easily between managing advanced and struggling students. Through continuous assessment, teachers can ensure that the class progresses as a whole without enforcing a sense of competition amongst the students.
Better management of content
The continuous assessment model ensures that the content creators can easily assess the data of efficacy of learning. It also helps the creators in assessing the learning pattern; consecutively comprehensive changes can be made to the teaching methodology which can further bring in positive changes. It assists teachers in effectively improving the skills by better implementation of resources through content management; for instance, teachers may be able to comprehensively ascertain the relationship between logical skill and language composition.
To conclude, the continuous model of assessment is a guidance oriented, formative, cumulative, and comprehensive form of assessment which is systemic and ensures equality in classroom. This model can effectively uncover interdisciplinary relationship between subjects and allow us to refine our understanding of the concept. This is in stark contrast to the final examination system which is more competition oriented.