CASE Studies

case studies Excutive Summary
Note: This is an excerpt from the report for public view and is just a glimpse of the study.

India has one of the world's largest education systems, including 1.3 million schools, 30,000 colleges and 542 universities. The Indian education industry is worth USD80 billion and is growing consistently by more than 13 % per annum.

India has the world's largest population in the age bracket 5 to 24 years of about 450 million. It is expected to grow continuously even as the world's working population ages and diminishes. This phenomenon will make India a supplier of workforce to the entire world. In the wake of this reality, the Indian education system needs to be able to produce a workforce,who is truly competitive globally and thus reap its demographic dividend.

India has seen a surge in per child allocation from Rs 2,004 in 2009-2010 to Rs 4,269 (213%) in 2011-2012. But, are children learning better than before? Are teachers teaching any better? The results unveiled in the PISA? report spread over 74 countries including the Plus nations (10 countries were added to the original 64), the two Indian states (Tamil Nadu and Himachal Pradesh) came up 72nd and 73rd out of 74 in both reading and Math. This is just one of the several indicators which reflects the ineffectiveness of our K12 education system.

An augmented challenge facing our education system is that despite huge number of graduates and postgraduates being churned out, the workforce is not employment ready. For India to move ahead on the path of globalization, it perhaps needs to overhaul its education system, with K12 being at the core. This Learnmile study focuses on unearthing the current prevailing gaps in teaching and learning and recommends solutions focused on improving teaching and learning effectiveness in K12.

Assessment Framework

The end goal perhaps has the key to understanding all things in between, especially execution. From the recent seen shift in the approach of CBSE, assessment framework perhaps is the key to understanding what works and what doesn't. Continuous & Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) is the recently formulated assessment framework for CBSE and reflects the change in philosophy for the largest schooling board in India. The research hence uses the assessment framework as a key point of reference. It was implemented in the second half of 2009 and has seen several modifications since then.

The assessment framework promises to offer the following benefits:

•  Help in development of cognitive, psychomotor and affective skills of learners

•  Lay emphasis on thought process over memorization

•  Encourage learning through a variety of teaching aids and techniques

•  Recognize and encourage specific abilities of students, who do not excel in academics but perform well in co-scholastic areas

•  Develop teaching - learning strategies on the basis of regular diagnosis followed by remedial instruction for students and hence make it more learner centric

The assessment framework divides the academic session into two terms. Each term comprises of one Summative Assessment (SAs) and two Formative Assessments (FAs). Formative assessments refer to projects, small worksheets, group discussions and practical activities. Summative assessments refer to examinations.

The introduction of CCE has improved the learning ability of the students however more needs to be done before CCE will be able to meet its desired objectives. Our research suggests severe gaps acrossvarious stages, process and levels - starting from teacher orientation till implementation of CCE in the classroom and beyond. Refer E1.

As evident from the exhibit E1, schools have invested in the infrastructure for CCE, including digital aids for the teachers. It also seemsthat investment has been made in orienting teachers to the CCE framework. Despite some big investments made by stakeholders, the objectives remain unmet. Details of some of the challenges faced are:

Gaps in the implementation of the assessment framework

Teacher is the fulcrum to the successful implementation of the assessment framework. An aligned and motivated teacher is the key success factor in smooth implementation of an assessment framework. However, teachers today face maximum challenge in its implementation. Some of the key challenges are:

Lack of orientation:

There is considerable misalignment of teachers' goals with respect to the objectives of assessment framework, especially CCE. Class participation and overall development seems to be the priority for teachers across classes, subjects and geographies whereas CCE is believed to reduce the stress of students and emphasize on daily evaluation . Further, teachers aren't able to identify the true objectives of CCE, which include learner centric pedagogy and holistic development of students. Misalignment of objectives is of the highest degree in Chennai, who believe CCE's goal is to improve the grades of below average students.

Lack of adequate training :

There are not enough training sessions conducted, with maximum number of trainings been five and a large number of teachers are missing out on most of the trainings conducted. Teachers, particularly in Delhi, primary classes and ICSE boards recorded very poor response in terms of attendance.

The effectiveness of the trainings is also perceived to be average across all teachers due to absence of a feedback window and a training audit, especially in State board schools. Teachers of English, Mathematics, State and ICSE board feel that the time given for implementation was not adequate.Refer E3.

Teachers are not comfortable with assessment tools:

Teachers across are not very confident about the tools of daily evaluation, number of unit tests conducted and rubrics. On the other hand, teachers are comfortable using various tools and techniques for concept understanding

Lack of flexibility for teachers

Teachers are challenged with the rigidity in terms of pace and coverage of syllabus. They face lack of school and parental support,as both insist on day-to-day syllabus completion. This results in lesser space for teachers so as to be flexible in implementing CCE. Over worked teachers struggle with fostering creativity inside the classroom

There are three major challenges that teachers face in fostering creativity - (a) Teachers are sometime forced to use digital aids like smart boards. It hampers the teacher's flexibility to foster creativity in the classroom. (b) There is a pressure on teachers to maintain records on a daily, weekly and monthly basis. This impacts their ability to devote more time towards thinking of novel and innovative ideas to teach. (c) Teachers are over worked in terms of inadequate student: teacher ratio and are over stressed as the time taken for tasks like class preparation, daily assessment and paper work has increased post the implementation of assessment framework. Ideally the teacher: student ratio must be 1:20 or 1:25 for effective CCE implementation whereas currently it is 1:39 on an average across the sample, with highest been in Pune with 1:43. This is heightened with the fact that the time spent by teachers on daily activities has increased - the maximum being for daily assessment.

Support ecosystem and infrastructure

Educational institutions have invested heavily in the infrastructure and made it available to the teachers. Having observed this development, there is still a scope of improvement; in making it available across subjects and grades. Another area of improvement is providing relevant and updated infrastructure, as around 1/4 th of the teachers surveyed said that the infrastructure provided is obsolete. Refer E5.

Consistency & synergy across all teaching, resources, platforms

The bigger challenge faced by the teachers across the country is in integratingdigital aids and books with their curriculum. Experienced teachers face difficulty in handling smart boards. Middle schools face more difficulty to grade students with use of digital tools.

The digital tools were introduced to aid the teachers in imparting more effective education and improving learning for the students. However, the digital tools have been of help at concept introduction stage and for class activities. Refer E6.

These issues have further widened the gap and have rendered the assessment framework ineffective in certain areas. Integrated digital solutions can overcome majority of these challenges and convert them into opportunities for the assessment framework to achieve its objectives and create a positive impact. Some of the key points to focus on are:

•  Digital solutions need to cover various aspects of the teachers preparedness - from orientation, to training going up to automation of assessment that takes the teachers through a complete cycle and also reduces the workload of the teachers

•  The solution needs to be integrated with the real academic sessions. It will ensure that the digital exercise results in reducing the workload, rather than they being used only for ancillary activities or at concept introduction stages

•  The solution designed needs to be developed while working closely with the teachers. It will ensure that they address the real needs of the teachers

•  The solution designed needs to have a strong diagnostics coupled with focused remedial competence in order to bring about holistic development for learners

While we see further improvements in the delivery of the assessment framework, it is perhaps crucial that we create adequate solutions to address the current prevailing gaps in teaching and learning. The study suggests solutions through the MILETREET approach to bridge these gaps, thereby improve teaching and learning effectiveness.


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