Why are Large Scale Assessments so Important in India?
October 13, 2021
Image by tjevans from Pixabay

The name "Large Scale Assessments" suggests that these assessments are conducted on a large sample size. Researchers draw inferences on areas like policy impact and test accountability in the education field by administering these tests on a significant number of people for data collection purposes.

LSAs have gained traction in the last decade as most countries of the world and education systems are working towards improving academic performances at a policy level. Now, this brings us to a major question - why are Large Scale Assessments important?

In the Indian context, let's paint a picture of the education system. Various bodies at the district, state, and national levels preside over over a million public schools. Let us take for granted that the national education authority has its headquarters in New Delhi. How can officials in Delhi monitor the efficiency of their policy in a district of, let's say, Kerala, which is one of the Southern states in the country? Through Large Scale Assessments of course.

Large Scale Assessments by Class Saathi

LSAs standardize assessments based on specific metrics to measure and collate important information for researchers and policymakers. These assessments, also known as Impact Assessments, typically collect student data in two phases:

  1. Before Policy Implementation.
  2. After Policy Implementation, usually towards the end of an academic year.

The logic is very simple then - what were student performances like before the implementation of the policy and what is it after the implementation of it. Before Large Scale Assessments go live, researchers also conduct pilot tests in smaller groups and draw expected inferences from the test group.

So, if the findings from the LSAs in any district or subgroup are widely deviant, then researchers can also find out what channels in the education ecosystem are not performing their duties properly.

As you can see, it is a method of assessing students with the aim of testing the efficiency of the education system that serves them. How wildly important is that?

India has legislated education as a system that is free and compulsory for all. When the stakes are so high and when 250 million students in India are accessing the public education system, the need for accountability and quality is of top priority.

Let us understand now how LSAs benefit students. The public education system serves students across the country with quality education in a bid to equalise opportunities available to everybody, even in some of the most rural and remote parts of the country.

Our strength lies in the numbers - when there are so many students accessing education in the country, it increases the human resource index, potentially opening up the space to provide professionals with high skill value. This is aspirational of course.

LSAs provide a framework of observation for researchers to enhance the quality of the educational experience and ensure comprehensive coverage of all students under this scheme.

Students feel more empowered and confident when they know there is an authority in charge of guaranteeing them fair and equitable access. These bodies also make it a point to drive reforms and implement changes that can benefit students immediately.

Having said all of that, one thing must be clear to everybody by now - this LSA business is very time intensive and requires a huge human resource capital. People have to manually administer the tests from district to district and the data collation also happens manually.

After collating the reports, another group of professionals analyzes them before sending them to higher authorities. Simply administering and collating the data requires the involvement of three separate groups of professionals.

Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

With the introduction of the National Education Policy 2020, there is a grave need to cast Large Scale Assessments throughout the country. The major challenge lies in accessing human resources during restricted movement due to the pandemic. It is difficult to reach students, schools are not fully functional, and officials have been instructed to stay where they are.

We must also accept that the pandemic has been extremely expensive for the country and has affected all public spending to make matters grimmer. Additionally, it is also important to note that manual data gathering leads to high error counts. How do we ensure that LSAs can happen efficiently through all these challenges?

We at TagHive Inc. have the answer for you! We have built a flexible system that enables the formulation and implementation of Large Scale Assessments. Our platform is content, grade, curriculum and language agnostic. We create fields to accommodate the diverse requirements emerging from the field and we enable the implementation of LSAs in a short period of time.

All students, teachers and school administrators need to do is download our app and log in using the credentials provided to implement the test. Post the implementation, we collate reports and analyses based on the requirements prescribed.

So, what are we offering here? We offer a platform that is fully customizable to fit all the criteria mentioned. We also collate, report and analyse the data coming in to show policymakers, educators and researchers vital information at both macro and micro levels.

We entered the field of LSAs through our partnership with Kaivalya Education Foundation by providing them with a platform to conduct Large Scale Assessments in two phases:

  1. Baseline.
  2. Endline.

Over 10,000 assessments were conducted, analysed and reported on in a matter of months. Find more details on the project here.

Problems will happen regardless of a smooth functioning global environment. As the saying goes, “adversity is the mother of all invention”, and keeping this in mind, we have created technology that surmounts all these challenges and so much more!

Want to conduct Large Scale Assessments by saving time and increasing efficiency? Connect with us for more information, demos or partnership opportunities. Write to us at [email protected]!

FAQ: Large Scale Assessments

What are Large Scale Assessments?

Large Scale Assessments are standardized assessments conducted on a large scale, often at a state or national level, to measure students' academic achievement, progress, and the overall effectiveness of educational systems.
Three important points about large scale assessments:
1. Scope: Large scale assessments are extensive, involving a significant number of participants, such as students, across diverse regions, states, or countries.
2. Purpose: They serve multiple purposes, including measuring educational outcomes, informing policy decisions, assessing program effectiveness, and identifying areas for improvement.
3. Types: Large scale assessments can include standardized tests, surveys, and performance-based evaluations, covering subjects from mathematics and language arts to science and beyond.

How are Large Scale Assessments Administered?

The administration of large scale assessments involves specific processes and considerations to ensure accuracy and reliability.
Three important points about the administration of large scale assessments:
1. Standardization: Assessments are typically standardized, meaning that all participants take the same test under the same conditions to ensure fairness and consistency.
2. Proctoring: Trained proctors or invigilators oversee the testing process to prevent cheating and maintain test security.
3. Logistics: Proper logistics management is crucial to distribute test materials, schedule testing dates, and manage the return of completed assessments.

What is the Purpose of Large Scale Assessments in Education?

Large scale assessments in education serve as valuable tools for improving educational systems and student learning outcomes.
Three important points about the purpose of large scale assessments in education:
1. Accountability: These assessments hold educational institutions, administrators, and teachers accountable for the quality of education they provide by evaluating student performance against predefined standards.
2. Curriculum Development: The data from large scale assessments can inform the development of curricula and teaching methods, helping educators address areas of improvement.
3. Policy Formulation: Government and education officials use assessment results to formulate policies and allocate resources, ensuring the continuous improvement of educational systems.

How is Data from Large Scale Assessments Analysed?

Analyzing the vast amount of data collected from large scale assessments is a complex process that requires specific methodologies.
Three important points about the analysis of data from large scale assessments:
1. Statistical Analysis: Data is subjected to various statistical analyses, including item analysis, factor analysis, and regression analysis, to uncover patterns and relationships.
2. Reporting: The results of large scale assessments are typically presented in detailed reports that include individual and group performance data, as well as interpretations of what the data means for educational stakeholders.
3. Data-Driven Decisions: The insights gained from data analysis guide decision-making, allowing educators, administrators, and policymakers to implement strategies for improvement.

What Challenges and Considerations Arise in Large Scale Assessments?

Challenges include concerns about over testing, pressure on students and teachers, test validity, potential biases, and the time and resources required for test administration.
Five important points about challenges and considerations in large scale assessments:
1. Standardization vs. Individuality: Striking a balance between standardized testing and recognizing the unique needs and abilities of individual students can be challenging.
2. Data Privacy: Safeguarding student data privacy and ensuring the ethical use of assessment results are critical concerns in the digital age.
3. Security: Ensuring the security of assessments, including preventing cheating or unauthorized access to test materials, is a paramount concern.
4. Bias and Fairness: Efforts should be made to minimize bias in assessments to ensure that they are fair and equitable for all test-takers, regardless of their backgrounds.
5. Test Validity: Large scale assessments must be validated to ensure that they accurately measure the intended knowledge or skills and align with the assessment's goals and objectives.

What types of assessments are typically included in Large Scale Assessments?

Large Scale Assessments typically include standardized tests, such as achievement tests, aptitude tests, and high-stakes exams that assess student knowledge and skills in various subjects.

How are the results of Large Scale Assessments used to inform educational policies and practices?

The results of Large Scale Assessments are used to evaluate the effectiveness of curricula, teaching methods, and educational policies. They help policymakers and educators make data-driven decisions to improve the quality of education.

What are the benefits of Large Scale Assessments in education?

Large Scale Assessments provide a systematic way to measure educational outcomes on a broad scale. They help identify achievement gaps, assess the impact of education reforms, and ensure accountability in the education system.

Are Large Scale Assessments the same as standardized testing?

Large Scale Assessments are a type of standardized testing, but they are typically broader in scope, aimed at evaluating educational systems or large groups of students, rather than individual student performance.

How can educators and policymakers use Large Scale Assessment data to improve teaching and learning?

Educators and policymakers can use Large Scale Assessment data to identify areas for improvement, allocate resources effectively, and implement targeted interventions to enhance student learning.

Where can educators and institutions access Large Scale Assessment data and resources?

Large Scale Assessment data and resources are often available through government education agencies, research organizations, and educational data repositories that provide access to relevant data and research findings.

In conclusion, large scale assessments are pivotal tools in education, providing valuable insights into student achievement, educational systems, and policy decisions. While their administration and data analysis are complex processes, they play a crucial role in maintaining accountability, informing policy development, and driving improvements in education. Nevertheless, it is important to acknowledge the challenges and limitations associated with large scale assessments to ensure their responsible and ethical use in the educational landscape.

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