NC quiz minister on continuous formative assessment

Staff Reporter

The new continuous formative assessment that the government would implement in classes PP to III besides other benefits would correct the flaws in the continuous assessment, Education Minister Jai Bir Rai said.

He said that the existing system continuous assessment of children’s performance was misused.

“It had changed from formative assessment, which was the initial objective to internal assessment, and then to kidu assessment to help students obtain better marks to for the sole purpose of maintaining the reputation of the respective schools,” he said.

National Council (NC) member from Trashigang, Lhatu said that NC has found that the current continuous formative assessment system has not been effectively implemented in most schools due to various reasons.

“How does the education ministry plan to ensure effective implementation of the new CFA methods?”

The minister said that a previous National Council report also indicated the biases of teachers in the existing assessment. “The ministry acknowledges these flaws in the system,” the minister said.

To correct such flaws in the system, he said that motivating the teachers was important and for that, the government had raised their remuneration.

For a successful CFA, it is important to keep the teacher to student ration as low as possible. “The ideal ratio would be 1:18 but since there is a shortage of trained teachers we are thinking of keeping it at 1:24,” the minister said.

The minister said that if the ratio increased, teachers would resort to team teaching. The ministry is in consultation with the Royal Civil Service Commission on the recruitment of assistant teachers.

The existing system only assesses children through unit tests, and examinations. The CFA will stress more on their attitude and skills development than their cognitive abilities, the minister said.

He said even the teachers would be assessed on their proficiency regularly. “Monitoring and evaluation would be conducted strictly from the beginning. The ministry would conduct an assessment of students every three years,” Lyonpo JB Rai said.

NC member Lhatu also said the government has decided to remove examinations for Classes PP to III from this academic year. As an alternative to examinations, the Royal Education Council has developed a new package of continuous formative assessment.

“A review of Classes III and VI found that the class III year-end assessment was important as it served as a benchmark to measure the student and school achievement. Besides, it helped maintain quality across schools.”

Lhatu asked if the ministry has conducted any study to prove the removal of examinations would be a better option for learning outcome of children from classes PP to III.

The minister said that there was no need to conduct any more research. “There is plenty of research done both within as well as internationally,” the minister said.

He said that it was time to implement the outcomes of the research rather than continuing with more research. “It is not early, if not late to implement CFA.”

The minister cited studies such as PISA D, Human Development Index 2019, REC’s Quality of school education 2009 report, Bhutan Education Blueprint 2014, and Education Without Compromise report 2008, among others to support the ministry’s reform.

“All these studies only point to one thing that CFA should be implemented to bring about quality education,” the ministry said.

The annual education conference this year decided to implement CFA since the curriculum is ready too.

“We now need to train the teachers adequately to properly implement it.”

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