Assessment – The Key to School’s Growth

Every time we talk to schools – we ask them “what are your  growth plans”? Most often we get replies such as,

  • In the next 3 years we are planning to expand to 10th grade or we are adding more divisions to a certain grade
  • So far, our school was achieving 80% result. We are now targeting to achieve 100% result.
  • This year we had x number of students in state or national rankings. Next year, we want to double this number.
  • Or we would soon be having this sport facility or a library facility ramped up to this level.

In one way or the other the above points show that the school is doing well and is progressing. But these are the conventional ways of measuring school’s growth. In 21st century, these are not the smartest ways to measure and manage school’s growth.

Then you would ask – why do we say so? Our answer to that is –

  1. 75% of our graduates (irrespective of the courses they graduated in) are unemployable. The reason behind this hard-hitting fact is that our students may know how to score marks; but they do not know how to solve a real-life problem. Universities and colleges cannot address this problem completely
    because by the time student reach graduation it is too late to develop fundamental skills such as the conceptual understanding and problem solving skills. These skills must be developed at the schools. This need is also highlighted by the recent report – Quality Education Study 2013 by Wipro & Education Initiatives Pvt. Ltd. The report states that the best of the best schools in urban India show trends of rote learning.       
  2. We also say that schools need to gear up for the most factual and practical ways of managing their growth. This is because, close to 80 lakhs teachers are employed in the Primary and Secondary sector; but majority of the teachers get feedback on their performance once is 3 years. It is quite uncertain whether this feedback is constructive. It clearly shows that we are not leveraging the skills of this demographic group to the fullest.       
  3. We are not managing our schools well because we do not know whether the investment school made in certain facility or infrastructure is giving the right returns on investment. We do not know whether this investment is contributing to the school brand or quality of education.
You may argue that there is CCE (Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation). But much of the CCE is subjective. A lot can be achieved to if it the CCE is more factual and data-based. While implementing CCE, many schools are facing challenges. Some of these challenges are:

  • Some schools do not know what to assess ·        
  • Some schools know what to assess; but do not know how to assess it
  • Some schools prefer freedom to decide their own way of assessing
  • Some schools also find it difficult to engage teachers to be part of CCE (Ref: News)
In such cases, school is completely at dead end to manage its quality, meet compliance requirements of respective boards, and satisfy parents’ expectations.

There are other set of schools, mostly the IB schools, who implement CCE in a must better way than other schools (of CBSE and ICSE boards). But there again, the assessment is based on subjective understanding of teachers about student’s performance. A more fact-based approach can make CCE in such schools much better.

The biggest gap in the CCE approach is that it focuses only on the growth of students and ignores the growth of schools and the teachers. As a result, CCE does not offer much to schools and the teachers and thus does not motivate them. 

Assessment Must Focus on Growth of Student, School, & Teachers

When it comes to growth, school has three pillars of growth – the school itself, teachers, and students. Each of these pillars is inter-dependent for growth. So focusing only on student assessment is not enough.

Assessment for students’ growth

School needs assessment which provides holistic, factual, and scientific assessment of students. The data coming from a scientific assessment can help the schools to have more objective dialog with parents. It would also help parents to objectively understand their pupil’s strengths and development areas. Such data help teachers to provide personalized instruction to each student without being burdened by the
details.

Assessment for teachers’ growth

Teachers and school need an assessment that focuses on teacher’s growth and development. Such an assessment must precisely indicate the strengths of a teacher so that the teacher can develop them further. The assessment must recommend the relevant trainings to teachers. It makes sense to send a teacher to a specific training which the teacher needs than sending a batch of teachers to the same training. Such an approach helps school to utilize the funds wisely and motivates teachers.

Assessment for school’s growth

A right investment is the one that gives right results in the optimum cost. Schools need assessment that focuses on growth of school and gives right results on its investment of funds and efforts in various initiatives. No assessment focuses on this aspect of school’s growth. Schools find it hard to know whether
the funds & efforts invested in various resources are giving them the right results. More importantly, which resources are performing and which resources are overheads. This gap stops school from performing efficiently.

About myNalanda’s Assessment Solution

myNalanda’s assessment solution is scientifically-developed and data-driven assessment that supports individual school’s pedagogy. It can be easily customized to your school’s environment. It provides personalized insights into the growth of school, teachers, and students. It helps you to manage your funds wisely by clearly showing which of your investments are giving you the right results. myNalanda’s assessment solution improves school-parents dialog and the school’s brand. Based on the assessment findings, school can prepare a 5-year road map for its growth and set itself on a growth path.

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