SRINAGAR: The State Council of Education Research and Training (SCERT), J&K, Thursday conducted an assessment survey of classes 3rd, 5th and 8th aimed at identifying gaps in the students’ learning resulted due the Covid-19 pandemic.
The School Education Department, in both provinces, involved all its offices at the zone and the district level to ensure a smooth conduct of the assessment.
Giving details of the assessment survey, Director SCERT, Prof Veena Pandita said that it was important to identify learning gaps created among our children due to the unfortunate school closures following the Covid-19 pandemic lockdowns.
“This will give us a rough idea of how much damage the Covid pandemic has inflicted upon the education system in J&K,” Prof Pandita said. “Once the gaps are identified, the department will conduct special remedial measures to make up for the loss.”
Although online education, Prof Pandita said, helped to a large extent in mitigating these gaps but the poor internet connectivity and a large section of students without smartphones in most of the parts of Jammu and Kashmir impeded learning, essentially causing more problems than solutions.
“Learning outcomes, which could have been achieved through the real classroom transaction, have not been realized,” Prof Pandita said. “But for the Covid-19 pandemic, we were all set to implement the findings of the National Achievement Survey (NAS)-2017.”
Pertinently, the UT of J&K ranked below the national average in the NAS-2017 assessment survey.
Giving details of the survey, Ghulam Hasan Reshi, Academic Officer, Educational Research Survey and Assessment (ERSA) Wing of the SCERT, Kashmir Division, said the ‘gigantic’ task was pretty challenging.
“We roped in experts available in our own school department, who were earlier a part of many different studies in the J&K, to devise strategies and methodologies on a scientific level,” he said.
Reshi described Hilal Ahmad Wani, a teacher, who works at a High school in Ganderbal, “man behind the mission”.
“Luckily we found this teacher with an amazing skill set in the research field and we could harness his prowess in the survey,” he said.
For Hilal Ahmad Wani, the biggest challenge was to sample the data comprising some three hundred thousand children belonging to the classes 3rd, 4th and 5th.
“To begin with, we collected the UDISE data of all the schools across J&K from SAMAGRA Shiksha,” Wani said. “At least four schools were shortlisted from each zone carefully leaving out those where the number of students was less than seven in each class.”
The next task was to prepare the items to identify the learning gaps and learning levels among the students.
“For classes 3rd and 5th, the assessment was conducted in Language, Mathematics and EVS and for 8th, in Language, Mathematics, Science and Social Science,” Wani said.
Before finalising the sampled list, Wani said, the data was scrutinised by district coordinators multiple times.
“Students were randomly selected with the help of the random table designed by the Government of India National Sample Survey Office,” he said.
Hilal Sultan, a teacher, who is posted at the Directorate of School Education, Kashmir, provided all the technical support including the preparation of OMR sheets.
Academic Officer, Dr Nazneen, said the base reference for learning would be taken as per the NAS 2017 findings.
“After getting the report cards, the learning levels of the students will be identified,” Dr Nazneen said. “The findings will be used as inputs for initiating remedial measures to bridge the gaps which have been potentiated among the students over the lockdown period.”
Senior Academic Officer, SCERT Jammu, Deepak Sharma, oversaw the proceedings of the survey in the Jammu province.
Prof Pandita hailed the efforts of all and sundry involved in the survey. “The survey represented a coordinated effort by all the stakeholders involved in the process,” she said.