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NTS-India: A Brief

(A mission to cater to the evaluation requirements of the country for academic auditing and quality maintenance to account for the huge amount of public funds spent on education)

 Operational Strategies
 Advisory Mechanism

Preamble  • operational jurisdictions of existing institutions of assessment, accreditation, evaluation, and examination such as NAAC of the UGC, NBA of the AICTE, NBE of the MCI, Evaluation Units of Universities, Examination Directorates, etc.1, are limited to only specific domains, purposes, and levels of education • but to meet the multiple demands of evaluation (that encompass the entire system of education) being received from various organisations of the country, no comprehensive mechanism is available • in order to fill up this gap, establishment of the National Testing Service or National Evaluation Organisation (as visualised by various Commissions of Education and envisaged under 5.40, 5.41 (Revised para) of NPE / POA 1986, NPE RC 1990 and CABE,1992)2 was proposed during 2004, by the Centre for Testing & Evaluation (CT&E)3, a 2 ½ decades old R&D Unit of the CIIL • accordingly, administrative approval of the competent authority (with the concurrence of Central Planning Commission) has been given to the CT&E to formulate & implement the NTS (or NEO) with effect from 1-07-2006, for the first time in the country.

Objectives  • to enlist the means & ends of education (subject matter, learner growth, and societal needs), in a hierarchical order with reference to all the disciplines, and language & lit., to begin with • to demarcate and distribute them under the seven levels of general education (primary, upper primary, secondary,  higher secondary, graduate, post graduate & research) • to develop an independent, comprehensive, concept based continuum of graded syllabi applicable to all the above levels to systematise teaching, learning, & evaluation process • to evolve a framework for assessing aptitude, achievement, and proficiency as part of assessing the allround growth of an individual (both informatory & extrapolatory) • to prepare tools and scales for collecting, consolidating, and measuring the requisite data / evidences to undertake assessment & evaluation, in language discipline to start with, and for the higher secondary  and degree levels at the first instance • to build up consensus on the materials and methodologies developed for the purpose of standardisation with reference to various regions of the country, and to evolve local, regional, and national  norms • to establish standards / benchmarks for the (1) courses / programmes of study (in terms of content inputs & consequential effects),  (2) institutions / departments involved in imparting them (in terms of their infrastructure & social concern), and (3) individuals status / position at various stages (pre, during, and post stages) of the educational continuum.

Applications : The fulfillment of the above objectives will have a number of applicational values in the entire system of education • ensuring explicit indication of direct utility value (social relevance) for every activity of the educational process (teaching, learning, and evaluation) • determination of level / gradewise quantum of content inputs to avoid duplication and content overlapping across the levels of education • adherence of accountability to all those in the field of education such as teachers, learners, evaluators, policy planners, and decision makers • setting standards / benchmarks for admission, certification, and employment purposes by appropriately covering the entire strata of the country's complexity of education • evolution of a common basis (reference point) for maintaining inter and intra4 level comparability towards establishing equality as enshrined in the constitution • creation of a scientific and comprehensive system of evaluation as a centralized mechanism for wider acceptability and viable decision making •delinking of degrees / certificates from jobs, in order to ensure the purpose of education is capacity building.

Operational Strategies  3 Task Groups viz., Research & Development (with a specialised library), Survey & Documentation (with an electronic information grid), and Consultancy & Training (with a series of training modules & documentary films) are being set up at the NTS headquarters to plan and formulate all the basic frameworks required • 60 Regional Field Units [RFUs] at the first instance, are being established across 18 states5 of the of the country to disseminate information, prepare tools, administer them in the field, collect data, undertake item & test analysis, and to standardise the tools developed for evolving regional norms • a sub-scheme called Grant-in-Aid has been created within NTS to extend financial support to the interested individuals / institutions for taking up short term studies /  programmes on material and manpower development in the area of evaluation • besides, monthly Research Fellowships (45 per annum i.e. 30 doctoral and 15 post doctoral) have also been instituted to encourage the young researchers of various disciplines to take up advanced studies in this inter-disciplinary area of evaluation, as a step to strengthen the future manpower requirements.

Advisory Mechanism   • a provision has been made for soliciting the views of all those associated with the policy making process (both at the centre and states) in order to ensure the inclusion of various needs of the country (which should essentially form the 'content inputs' of education) appropriately, so that the materials and methodologies of evaluation being developed would become meaningful, relevant, and valid • apart from this, a consultancy mechanism has also been created for obtaining advice on academic and other important matters with Vice-Chancellors of Universities, Chiefs of Regulatory Bodies (eg., NCTE), Representatives of the Institutions that conduct Aptitude Tests (eg. IITs), Achievement Tests (eg. CBSE), and Proficiency Tests (eg. UPSC), Subject Experts, Scientists of R & D Organisations, and Senior Officials of the MHRD.

Beneficiaries   • 100s of Professional Institutions including those of national importance to have a re-look at their Admission Tests in the context of their validity in identifying the appropriate aptitude100s of Universities, 1000s of Colleges, and 100000s of Schools across the country to get their Certification Tests restructured in the context of their relevance in covering all the areas of learner growth100s of Recruitment Agencies to review their Employment Tests in the context of their emphasis on performance rather than competence5 million Teachers of different disciplines for acquiring educational insights • 50 million Learners to know their comparative potentials  with reference to the national and regional norms • 30 million NRIs & PIOs6 to get their to get the quantum of expected essentials in the area of learning for availing educational facility in India • 50 million inter-state migrants to continue their academic pursuits in the new locations as per the local or regional norms • various School Boards and UGC will have a scientific basis to recognize the institutions and to determine the quantum of financial support to be extended.
Ultimately, the country will have an Apex Body for academic auditing, accountability, maintenance of comparability in quality, thereby ensuring equality in education as enshrined in the constitution.

NTS evolves National & Regional Norms and establishes Benchmarks/Standards

1. NAAC - National Assessment and Accreditation Council; NBA - National Board of Accreditation; NBE - National Board of Examination; AICTE - All India Council for Technical Education.

2. NPE - National Policy on Education; POA - Programme Of Action; NPE (RC) - National Policy on Education (Ramamoorthy Committee); CABE - Central Advisory Board on Education.

3. The profile of the Centre for Testing & Evaluation may be viewed in its official websites:www.ciil-miles.net and www.ciil-ntsindia.net

4. Inter and intra language comparability (eg. whether Kannada MA is comparable to Kashmiri MA; whether the competence of a Science Graduate of Mysore University is comparable to that of the Madras University; whether the School Final Certificate issued by the NCT of Delhi is comparable to that of A.P. or U.P. State).

5. Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra, Puducherry, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh, Tamilnadu, and West Bengal.

6. NRI-Non-Resident Indian;  PIO-Person of Indian Origin.

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