Three global educational nonprofit organizations – Educational Testing Services (ETS), American Institutes for Research (AIR) and the Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER) – have expressed interest in helping establish India’s first national regulatory body for exams and school-level assessments, according to sources.
While ETS is internationally recognized for conducting TOEFL (Test of English as a Foreign Language) and GRE (Graduate Record Examination), which are gateways to higher education in top institutions around the world, AIR and ACER are leading names in behavioral research. – and social science domains and learning assessment studies.
The organizations approached the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT), in response to an Expression of Interest (EoI) for selecting advisory services for the establishment of the proposed regulator PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development). ), which is seen as an instrument to “establish comparative standards and equivalence” between school examination boards and to promote mutual cooperation.
This means that PARAKH is expected to tackle the problem of the differences in scores of students who are affiliated with different boards. It will also not only conduct future rounds of National Achievement Surveys (NAS) and other learning outcomes studies, but also “assess all aspects of the design and implementation of the NAS 2017/2018 and 2021 exercises and identify areas for improvement.”
According to the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, PARAKH will act as a standards body for student assessment and evaluation for all school boards in the country.
Sources told The Indian Express that ETS, ACER and AIR are some of the organizations that responded to the Expression of Interest (EOI) released in August. Based on the responses, the NCERT submitted a Request for Proposal (RFP) for the project on October 19.
ACER, based in Australia, has an Indian wing. It is best known for conducting a series of benchmark tests for learning assessment in English, Mathematics and Science for Classes III-X.
AIR rose to fame in the 1960s after conducting the largest study of its time among US high school students on issues such as racial inequalities and economic mobility.
Among other things, the agency chosen will also help the PARAKH team to “incorporate international evidence to strengthen rating systems in India to cope with Covid-19 and other pandemic situations”.
In addition to NAS and Foundational Learning Study (FLN), PARAKH will also manage India’s participation in international assessments such as the Program for International Student Assessment (PISA), Trends in International Mathematics and Science Study (TIMSS) or Progress in International Reading Literacy Study (PIRLS).
While the NCERT is an autonomous organization under the Ministry of Education, PARAKH will be a constituent body of the council. The consultancy will initially be selected on a three-year contract, renewable each year based on its performance, the RFP said.
According to the key deliverables identified by the NCERT for the proposed body, it will develop and validate assessment standards for all school stages and curricula areas of school education, based on NEP 2020.
“(It will) provide technical guidance and input for boards to design, develop, and implement state-wide systems for measuring student learning in accordance with state and national curriculum standards… Supporting Boards of Examiners with regard to new grading patterns (both for internal and external assessment), evaluation process and practices, result in calculation and compilation, practices after the results and the final examination,” adds the RFP.