As per the initial estimates shared by the Ministry of Education, nearly 96 per cent of schools in 24 states and 92 per cent of students participated in the National Achievement Survey (NAS) conducted across the country on Friday. The survey, which covers government, government-aided and private schools, assesses the competencies of students in the third, fifth, and eighth grades and is conducted every three years.
"National Achievement Survey 2021 has been conducted successfully across the country, with the enthusiastic participation of schools and students. As per initial estimates received from 24 states and UTs so far, nearly 96 per cent schools and 92 per cent of the targeted sampled children participated in the survey," a senior ministry official said. The last survey was conducted in 2017. Though the next was supposed to be undertaken in 2020, it was postponed due to the pandemic.
"NAS 2021 is the first achievement survey after the release of National Education Policy 2020 (NEP). The assessment would be used to benchmark students' learning against criteria such as process skills and learning outcomes. NAS 2021 will infuse the competency-based assessment system over the content and memory-based assessment as envisaged by NEP 2020," the official said.
"Besides student achievement test, pupil questionnaire, teachers' questionnaire and school questionnaire were also obtained to understand the various settings and perspective of students, teachers and schools. This will provide valuable information regarding background, teacher training, rural-urban, effectiveness of online education etc., to comprehend the education system in a comprehensive manner," the official added. The instrument development, testing, finalisation of test items, sampling of schools, etc., were done by the NCERT. However, the actual administration of the test in the sampled schools was done by the CBSE in collaboration with the respective states and union territories.
The survey would further help assess the impact of the pandemic and help take remedial measures to bridge learning interruptions. It would also help identify new learnings.
"The Covid pandemic had forced the closure of schools and interrupted the learning at different levels. There is an urgent need to evaluate children's progress and learning competencies to analyse and examine the health of the education sector for taking necessary action at the district, state and national levels. It is essential to gauge the education system before and after lockdown to evaluate the impact of school closures on students' learning. The assessment focused on students in early grades in core subjects like reading and mathematics, which will give enough space for corrective measures in time," the official said.
District report cards, state and UT reports and a national report would also be prepared on the basis of NAS results.
"NAS will enable states and UTs to identify gaps in learning outcomes and take remedial steps. It will also help in the capacity building for teachers and officials involved in the delivery of education in the country. The result from the assessment would also provide a rich repository of evidences and data points furthering the scope of research and development," the official said.