To assess students professionally and in a futuristic way, the government’s PARAKH initiative could kick off soon. Global bids were invited on August 12 from consultants to set up the new National Assessment Centre in NCERT.
PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development) was announced under National Education Policy 2020 as a standard-setting body for student assessment. “PARAKH will be a thought leader in the field of learning assessment and be the home of assessment experts who have a deep understanding of education and how children learn. Its team will consist of leading assessment experts with a deep understanding of the education system in India and internationally,” says a document inviting consultants globally to assist the government.
It further says that PARAKH will eventually become the “national single-window source” for all assessment related information and expertise, with a mandate to support learning assessment in all forms, both nationally and where applicable, internationally. “It is expected that PARAKH will be closely working with all the associated organizations like Boards of Assessment (BoAs), SCERTs/SIEs/ States and UTs and international organizations/agencies working in the area of assessment and evaluation,” the document elaborates.
The Consultant’s Job
The government is hiring a consulting agency for this job to seek technical expertise of international standards for improving learning assessments in the country and the expected start date of the assignment is October 1 this year with an expected implementation period of three years.
The consultant will provide academic and technical support to the national level core team of PARAKH, build the capacity of various stakeholders at the national and sub-national levels in conducting learning assessment studies and provide support and strengthen the psychometric analysis and documentation process, including the development of reports.
The Consulting Agency will support the NCERT in PARAKH’s Institutional Set Up, overall staffing, capacity building plan for short- term (three years) and longer-term (five to 10 years), and support NCERT to hire experts and other necessary staff.
The agency will also create a detailed plan for an improved NAS 2024 (National Achievement Survey) national assessment exercise that maintains a link to NAS 2021 so that scores can be compared and support in design, administration, analysis, and reporting for NAS 2024, the document accessed and reviewed by News18 has mentioned.
The consultant will also familiarise the PARAKH team with various international assessment programs like PISA (Program for International Student Assessment), Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS), and Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS), and support PARAKH team in identifying the programs having relevance for India. It will also prepare PARAKH team for participation in one or more international assessments, including by doing pilots or other familiarization exercises like a PISA for Schools.
Importantly, the consultant will also support the PARAKH team to incorporate international evidence to strengthen assessment systems in India to meet Covid-19 and other pandemic situations necessitating remote assessment, with an emphasis on technology-based solutions and use of results for remediation and learning recovery.
What PARAKH will do?
This technical body will undertake the sample-based National Achievement Survey (NAS), guide the State Achievement Survey and monitor achievement of learning outcomes in the country. It will set up norms, standards and guidelines for student assessment and evaluation for all recognised school boards of India.
“PARAKH will encourage and help school boards to shift their assessment patterns towards meeting the skill requirements of the 21st century advising school boards regarding new assessment patterns and latest researches, promote collaboration between school boards and ensure equivalence of academic standards among learners across all school boards,” the document says.
The school-based assessments would be covering all the different stages of school education i.e. the Foundational, Preparatory, Middle and Secondary.
The World Bank supports India’s Ministry of Education via the Strengthening Teaching-Learning and Results for States (STARS) Program to strengthen learning assessment systems. STARS will supply multi-year financing for establishing PARAKH to manage India’s participation in international assessments like PISA, TIMSS and PIRLS and oversee national assessments like the NAS.