Every year, the Ministry of Education under the Government of India conducts a nationwide survey in various cities and towns of the country. This survey, called the National Achievement Survey, is undertaken amongst Indian students. Its goal is to check and assess students' level of knowledge and how effective the learning process is for them. This survey tries to determine how competent our students are in the various subjects they learn and what is the result and effect on them of the education that they are being imparted.
The NAS is the largest sample-based survey of its kind undertaken in India.
The findings of the National Achievement Survey help compare results across the various spectrum – across different towns and cities, between different student demographics like urban and rural, and also between different schools; government-aided schools like town municipality schools or even premier rural educational institutions like Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas, their urban counterparts, namely public schools like Kendriya Vidyalayas and, finally, the private government-recognized schools too.
The insights and conclusions obtained from this survey carried out across the length and breadth of our country help the authorities higher up to identify areas that need improvement when it comes to the overall education system of the country.
The authority that conducts the National Achievement Survey every year is the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
The Incorporation of NAS
To provide a little background information, the NAS first began in 2001-2002 for different grade levels, particularly grades 3, 5, 8, and sometimes the 10th standard. Though the conducting authority is the CBSE, the National Council of Education, Research and Training (NCERT) designs the framework of the assessment of the National Achievement Survey.
Last year, this survey was conducted on 12 November 2021. Like every year, the 3rd, 5th, 8th and 10th standards are the grades that are assessed as part of this survey.
Objective of NAS
The main objective behind conducting the NAS is to become aware and informed of the extent of learning and knowledge of Indian students across the district, state, and national levels. Not only this, but also identify areas of learning and teaching that can be improved upon, that are lacking somehow and plan further policies and provide teaching input ideas that favor and support such teaching (and, as a result, learning) improvement.
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The NAS seeks information from students about various elements and factors that influence their learning environment and student life. It provides a questionnaire as part of a survey that seeks some standard information from the students. This information is related to factors mentioned above like their school atmosphere, the methods their teachers employ to impart knowledge and education, their home environment, etc. After such information is collected, it simply summarizes the observations and conclusions.
It is important to note that no student or school is given a ranking or score as part of the National Achievement Survey. This survey is simply a means to gather information, find areas where the educational system is lacking and plan further policies that will improve upon it.
The CBSE already determines the schools selected for this survey as part of the Ministry of Education; the NAS is not free for any school to participate in.
The Factors Included in Daily Curriculum
When we talk specifically of what areas or aspects of the daily curriculum the students are tested for; for grades 3 and 5, it is
- Environmental Studies
For grade 8, the subjects tested are:
- Social Science
Lastly, for the 10th standard, they are:
- Social Science
The framework built by the NCERT to assess learning outcomes and the result and effect of education imparted on students carefully considers various factors and parameters. It judges the validity and reliability of the results the survey points to. There are also different parameters used while conducting this survey. These parameters are:
Measurement and comparison of the measurement of student achievement at different levels and among different groups like:
- Overall National Level
- Student Achievement by Gender
- As Per Rural/Urban Groups of Students
- By Social Group
- By School Management – whether the school is government-aided, state government-aided, or a government-recognized private school.
The Output of the Data Collected
So, how does the NAS use the collected information and the resultant insights and conclusions? What exactly does it do with the data?
Firstly, it checks and compares the level of education of different students across different spectra like urban or rural, male or female, student of a government-run or a private school, etc. It analyses this data collected to see if there are some consistent (or irregular) discrepancies or lacunae (areas or aspects of the education process that need change or improvement). Finally, the upcoming policies of the CBSE as part of the Ministry of Education reflect these changes to make the education process more effective, deliverable, and thereby more successful for all students. This survey essentially helps make the teachers and knowledge providers more capable of doing so.
For example, the most recent NAS conducted in November 2021 aspired to understand the consequence of prolonged school closures throughout the nation and their effect on the students' minds.
The National Achievement Survey (NAS), since its inception at the start of this millennium, has been a great tool in the hands of the government to measure the current education levels of Indian school children. It is also an effective means of bringing about positive change in imparting education and identifying and correcting inconsistencies in the teaching process in our nation as a whole.
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