4.1 Assessment: Conventional meaning and constructivist perspective

"To assess" derives from the Latin verb "Assidere", to sit by (originally, as an assistant-judge in the context of taxes). Hence, in "assessment of learning" we "sit with the learner”,  and that implies that it is something that we do with and for our students rather than to them.

In education, the term assessment refers to the wide variety of methods or tools that educators use to evaluate, measure, and document the academic readiness, learning progress, skill acquisition, or educational needs of students.


Assessment is the process of gathering and discussing information from multiple and diverse sources in order to develop a deep understanding of what students know, understand, and can do with their knowledge as a result of their educational experiences; the process culminates when assessment results are used to improve subsequent learning.

Conventionally, education system, particularly school education is guided and controlled by concern for results in examination irrespective of the quality of learning --whether fragile or sustainable. The competition, though artificial, for securing percentage of marks in the final examination creates unusual stress in the students leading often to mental break down and suicides. This must change. Change in the mechanics of examination will be too simplistic a solution, amounting to treating the symptoms, not the disease itself. Examination-stress is directly related to facing the challenge of examination with ‘fragile’ learning due to memorizing huge stock of information. In order to manage the stress factor in examination it will be necessary to ensure sustainable learning.

Instructional processes must be constructivist in its approach. Through constructivism, students will learn to construct their learning according to their own worldview that unfolds over the years of schooling. It is this learning to construct learning that will hold them into the adult life at work and later.

As our focus has been shifted from behaviourist to constructivist approach and our National Curriculum Framework, 2005 has put paramount importance to this new paradigm of assessment from constructivist perspectives, there is an urgent need of bringing about a change in the system of assessment.

Assessment in education is mainly associated with the growth of learning of the students. How much learning experience a student has acquired at a particular point of time against the expected learning outcomes? What are the strengths and weaknesses of a learner in the stipulated area of learning? To what extent the results of assessment can be helpful in strengthening the learning? These are some of the usual questions associated with educational assessment. Usually, the assessment in education is widely used in seeking the answer to the first question and that is concerned with ‘assessment of learning’ which is predominantly useful for teachers in designing the teaching strategies in facilitating the students to learn. But, with shifting of focus from teacher or subject-centered education to the learner and learning-centered education with the pursuance of constructivist approaches, the multifarious utility of assessment has come to fore in recent educational literatures and practices. Besides continuing with assessment of learning, the practices of using assessment for the growth of learning and converting assessment processes as learning processes are being increasingly used in the learning centered classrooms.

In Constructivist perspective learning:

1.     The learning is an active, contextualized process of constructing knowledge rather than acquiring it.

2.      In a constructivist classroom the students are the focus and the teacher a 
facilitator who asks good questions.

3.     Constructivist principles can be applied in the classroom demonstrating how Constructivist teachers pose questions and problems, then guide students to help them find their own answers, using many techniques in the assessment process.

4.     The most important contribution of constructivism may well be a focus on student-centered learning.

5.     The strategies and approaches which can be implemented by teachers when planning constructivist opportunities for the classroom.


4.2 ‘Assessment of Learning’ and ‘Assessment for Learning’: Meaning and difference

The term ‘assessment’ refers to all those activities undertaken by teachers, and by their students in assessing themselves, which provide information to be used as feedback to modify the teaching and learning activities in which they are engaged. 

Assessment for learning will be to determine what your goals will be to build your program and assessment of learning is what the person has learnt until this moment.


Assessment OF Learning

Assessment designed primarily to make judgments about student achievement of knowledge and/or skills at a given point of time.

Assessment FOR Learning

Assessment designed primarily to promote student learning and guide instruction.

Assessment AS Learning

Assessment designed primarily to provide students with the opportunity to reflect on their learning.

Assessment for Learning

In classrooms where assessment for learning is practiced, students know at the outset of a unit of study what they are expected to learn. At the beginning of the unit, the teacher will work with the student to understand what she or he already knows about the topic as well as to identify any gaps or misconceptions. As the unit progresses, the teacher and student work together to assess the student’s knowledge, what she or he needs to learn to improve and extend this knowledge, and how the student can best get to that point (formative assessment). Assessment for learning occurs at all stages of the learning process.

·         comprises two phases—initial or diagnostic assessment and formative assessment

·         assessment can be based on a variety of information sources (e.g., portfolios, works in progress, teacher observation, conversation)

·         verbal or written feedback to the student is primarily descriptive and emphasizes strengths, identifies challenges, and points to next steps

·         as teachers check on understanding they adjust their instruction to keep students on track

·         no grades or scores are given - record-keeping is primarily anecdotal and descriptive

·         occurs throughout the learning process, from the outset of the course of study to the time of summative assessment

Assessment of Learning

Assessment of learning is concerned with assessment of learners’ performance after the completion of a course or more specifically at the end of an instructional unit, term or academic year. It is comprised of one or several combinations of different methods of assessment like oral, written and performance. They provide learners scope to synthesize their learning experiences up to the end of the stipulated period and demonstrate how well they have learned the essential skills, procedures and concepts to which they were exposed during the given instructional period.

Assessment of learning is the most familiar and universally used mode. In spite of being the oldest practiced mode, this very often is teacher-dominated and becomes confined to the norm referenced quantitative approaches neglecting the evaluation of broader aspects of learning. In order to ensure comprehensive, valid and fair assessment of student learning, one need to take all possible precautions, some of which are: 

·        In order to provide an accurate picture of a student’s achievement, one must gather enough evidence to determine “justifiable” grades across all aspects of achievement (Knowledge, Understanding, Thinking, Communication and Application). 

·        Evidence must be gathered using a variety of assessment strategies so that all students can find sufficient scope to demonstrate their learning. 

·        There should be student choice within assessment tools/tasks to address individual needs. 

·        Prior to a final demonstration of learning, practice and feedback for improvement must be provided to the student. 

·        Evaluator’s (teacher’s) professional judgment of on students’ learning achievement should not be based on single incident of evaluation rather on several evaluation events conducted formally and/or informally over a period of time. Assessment of learning should be based on the most consistent and more recent levels of evidence gathered. 

·        “Numerous” and “varied” opportunities contribute to the concept of most consistent as it helps to identify trends in student’s learning. The grade should reflect the development of learning at any point in time.

·        Inconsistencies in student’s performance should be reviewed to determine the reason for their occurrence and whether they impact on the student’s achievement.  Recent evidence should be used when looking for growth over time.

In order to manage the stress factor in examination it is necessary to ensure sustainable learning. To ensure sustainable learning we have to use alternative assessment in our educational institutions. We must no longer treat assessment as fundamentally separate from instruction. Curriculum, instruction, and assessment are to be integrated; the assessment itself should be a valuable learning experience. Learning and evaluation activities are to be blended into a holistic act/task, which demands learners not to select but design and create the task. In this changing scenario, alternative technology mediated procedures such as e-portfolio and rubrics are the need of hour.

4.3 Comparing and contrasting assessment, evaluation, measurement, test and examination


Assessment is a process by which information is obtained relative to some known objective or goal. Assessment is a broad term that includes testing. A test is a special form of assessment. Tests are assessments made under contrived circumstances especially so that they may be administered. In other words, all tests are assessments, but not all assessments are tests. We test at the end of a lesson or unit.

Assessment originated most recently of all of the terms, in 1956. It was, and is, used in education jargon to mean “determination of value.”

 We assess progress at the end of a school year through testing, and we assess verbal and quantitative skills through such instruments as the SAT and GRE. Whether implicit or explicit, assessment is most usefully connected to some goal or objective for which the assessment is designed. A test or assessment yields information relative to an objective or goal. In that sense, we test or assess to determine whether or not an objective or goal has been obtained. Assessment of skill attainment is rather straightforward. Either the skill exists at some acceptable level or it doesn’t. Skills are readily demonstrable. Assessment of understanding is much more difficult and complex. Skills can be practiced; understandings cannot. We can assess a person’s knowledge in a variety of ways, but there is always a leap, an inference that we make about what a person does in relation to what it signifies about what he knows. In the section on this site on behavioral verbs, to assess means To stipulate the conditions by which the behavior specified in an objective may be ascertained. Such stipulations are usually in the form of written descriptions.


Evaluation is perhaps the most complex and least understood of the terms. Inherent in the idea of evaluation is "value." When we evaluate, what we are doing is engaging in some process that is designed to provide information that will help us make a judgment about a given situation.

Evaluation originated in 1755, meaning “action of appraising or valuing.”

It is a technique by which we come to know at what extent the objectives are being achieved.  It is a decision making process which assists to make grade and ranking.

According to Barrow and Mc Gee:  It is the process of education that involves collection of data from the products which can be used for comparison with preconceived criteria to make judgment.

Nature of Evaluation

·        It is systematic process

·        It is a continuous dynamic process Identifies strength and weakness of the program

·        Involves variety of tests and techniques of measurement 

·        Emphasis on the major objective of an educational program 

·        Based upon the data obtained from the test

·        It is a decision making process

Generally, any evaluation process requires information about the situation in question. A situation is an umbrella term that takes into account such ideas as objectives, goals, standards, procedures, and so on. When we evaluate, we are saying that the process will yield information regarding the worthiness, appropriateness, goodness, validity, legality, etc., of something for which a reliable measurement or assessment has been made. For example, I often ask my students if they wanted to determine the temperature of the classroom they would need to get a thermometer and take several readings at different spots, and perhaps average the readings. That is simple measuring. Teachers, in particular, are constantly evaluating students, and such evaluations are usually done in the context of comparisons between what was intended (learning, progress, behavior) and what was obtained.


A test or an examination (or "exam") is an assessment intended to measure a test-takers knowledge, skill, aptitude, or classification in many other topics (e.g., beliefs). In practice, a test may be administered orally, on paper, on a computer, or in a confined area that requires a test taker to physically perform a set of skills. The basic component of a test is an item, which is sometimes colloquially referred to as a "question." Nevertheless, not every item is phrased as a question given that an item may be phrased as a true/false statement or as a task that must be performed (in a performance test). In many formal standardized tests, a test item is often retrievable from an item bank.

Test originated in the 1590s, meaning “trial or examination to determine the correctness of something.”

According to Barrow and McGee: A test is a specific tool or procedure or a technique used to obtained response from the students in order to gain information which provides the basis to make judgment or evaluation regarding some characteristics such as fitness, skill, knowledge and values.

Nature of Test

·        The test is reliable 

·        The test is valid 

·        It is objective 

·        Must accomplish with norms 

·        Should not be expensive

·        Less time consuming

·        Must produce results and its implementation

·        Its feasibility

·        Must have educational values

Test may be called as tool, a question, set of question, an examination which use to measure a particular characteristic of an individual or a group of individuals.  It is something which provides information regarding individual’s ability, knowledge, performance and achievement.
A test may vary in rigor and requirement. For example, in a closed book test, a test taker is often required to rely upon memory to respond to specific items whereas in an open book test, a test taker may use one or more supplementary tools such as a reference book or calculator when responding to an item. A test may be administered formally or informally. An example of an informal test would be a reading test administered by a parent to a child. An example of a formal test would be a final examination administered by a teacher in a classroom or an I.Q. test administered by a psychologist in a clinic. Formal testing often results in a grade or a test score. A test score may be interpreted with regards to a norm or criterion, or occasionally both. The norm may be established independently, or by statistical analysis of a large number of participants. A formal test that is standardized is one that is administered and scored in a consistent manner to ensure legal defensibility. A standardized test with important consequences for the individual test taker is referred to as a high stakes test. Standardized tests are often used in education, professional certification, counseling, psychology, the military, and many other fields.


Examination originated in the 1610s, meaning “test of knowledge.”

Exams and tests are a great way to assess what the students have learned with regards to particular subjects. Exams will show what part of the lesson each student seems to have taken the most interest in and has remembered.

With every pupil being so individual, exams are also a great way for teachers to find out more about the students themselves. The test environment comes with added stress, which allows teachers to work out how their students argue and how they think individually by their works, which is a great attribute for them to keep in mind for future class activities.


Measurement refers to the process by which the attributes or dimensions of some physical object are determined. One exception seems to be in the use of the word measure in determining the IQ of a person. The phrase, "this test measures IQ" is commonly used. Measuring such things as attitudes or preferences also applies. However, when we measure, we generally use some standard instrument to determine how big, tall, heavy, voluminous, hot, cold, fast, or straight something actually is.

It is the collection of information in numeric form  It is the record of performance or the information which is required to make judgment.

According to R.N. Patel:  Measurement is an act or process that involves the assignment of numerical values to whatever is being tested. So it involves the quantity of something.

Nature of Measurement

·        It should be quantitative in nature

·        It must be precise and accurate (instrument)

·        It must be reliable

·        It must be valid

·        It must be objective in nature

Standard instruments refer to instruments such as rulers, scales, thermometers, pressure gauges, etc. We measure to obtain information about what is. Such information may or may not be useful, depending on the accuracy of the instruments we use, and our skill at using them. There are few such instruments in the social sciences that approach the validity and reliability of say a 12" ruler. We measure how big a classroom is in terms of square feet, we measure the temperature of the room by using a thermometer, and we use Ohm meters to determine the voltage, amperage, and resistance in a circuit. In all of these examples, we are not assessing anything; we are simply collecting information relative to some established rule or standard. Assessment is therefore quite different from measurement, and has uses that suggest very different purposes. When used in a learning objective, the definition provided on the ADPRIMA for the behavioral verb measure is: To apply a standard scale or measuring device to an object, series of objects, events, or conditions, according to practices accepted by those who are skilled in the use of the device or scale.
To sum up, we measure distance, we assess learning, and we evaluate results in terms of some set of criteria. These three terms are certainly connected, but it is useful to think of them as separate but connected ideas and processes.

4.4 Formative and summative evaluation, Curriculum Based Measurement

Formative Assessment

 Formative assessment provides feedback and information during the instructional process, while learning is taking place, and while learning is occurring. Formative assessment measures student progress but it can also assess your own progress as an instructor. For example, when implementing a new activity in class, you can, through observation and/or surveying the students, determine whether or not the activity should be used again (or modified). A primary focus of formative assessment is to identify areas that may need improvement. These assessments typically are not graded and act as a gauge to students’ learning progress and to determine teaching effectiveness (implementing appropriate methods and activities).

 In another example, at the end of the third week of the semester, you can informally ask students questions which might be on a future exam to see if they truly understand the material. An exciting and efficient way to survey students’ grasp of knowledge is through the use of clickers. Clickers are interactive devices which can be used to assess students’ current knowledge on specific content. For example, after polling students you see that a large number of students did not correctly answer a question or seem confused about some particular content. At this point in the course you may need to go back and review that material or present it in such a way to make it more understandable to the students. This formative assessment has allowed you to “rethink” and then “redeliver” that material to ensure students are on track. It is good practice to incorporate this type of assessment to “test” students’ knowledge before expecting all of them to do well on an examination.

Types of Formative Assessment 

·        Observations during in-class activities; of students non-verbal feedback during lecture

·        Homework exercises as review for exams and class discussions)

·        Reflections journals that are reviewed periodically during the semester 

·        Question and answer sessions, both formal—planned and  informal—spontaneous 

·        Conferences between the instructor and student at various points in the semester 

·        In-class activities where students informally present their results  

·        Student feedback collected by periodically answering specific  question about the instruction and their self-evaluation of performance and progress

More specifically, formative assessments:

·        help students identify their strengths and weaknesses and target areas that need work

·        help faculty recognize where students are struggling and address problems immediately

Formative assessments are generally low stakes, which means that they have low or no point value. Examples of formative assessments include asking students to:

·        draw a concept map in class to represent their understanding of a topic

·        submit one or two sentences identifying the main point of a lecture

·        turn in a research proposal for early feedback


Summative Assessment

Summative Assessments are given periodically to determine at a particular point in time what students know and do not know. Many associate summative assessments only with standardized tests such as state assessments, but they are also used at and are an important part of district and classroom programs. Summative assessment at the district and classroom level is an accountability measure that is generally used as part of the grading process.

Summative assessment is more product-oriented and assesses the final product, whereas formative assessment focuses on the process toward completing the product. Once the project is completed, no further revisions can be made. If, however, students are allowed to make revisions, the assessment becomes formative, where students can take advantage of the opportunity to improve.

Types of Summative Assessment 

·        Examinations (major, high-stakes exams)

·        Final examination (a truly summative assessment)

·        Term papers (drafts submitted throughout the semester would be  a formative assessment) 

·        Projects (project phases submitted at various completion points could be formatively assessed)

·        Portfolios (could also be assessed during it’s development as a  formative assessment) 

·        Performances 

·        Student evaluation of the course (teaching effectiveness) 

·        Instructor self-evaluation

Summative assessments are often high stakes, which means that they have a high point value. Examples of summative assessments include:

·        a midterm exam

·        a final project

·        a paper

·        a senior recital

Difference between Formative & Summative Evaluation





To monitor learning progress during instruction.

To assess learning progress at the end of teaching.


Ongoing, continuous

At the end of the instructional process.


Feedback to the Teacher and Students

Assigning Grades, & Extent of achievement of jobs.


Teacher made tests & Observational techniques.

Rating scale & Evaluation of Projects


a)    Information for modifying instruction.

b)    Prescribing group of individual remedial work.

a)    Certifying pupil’s mastery of the learning outcome.

b)    Assigning grades.


a)    Information for modifying instruction.

b)    Prescribing group of individual remedial work.

a)    Judging the appropriateness of the course objectives.

b)    Effectiveness of the instruction.


Daily continuous interaction.

Delayed instruction.


Guiding the development process.

Making an overall assessment.


Oral questions and observation.

Terminal Exams. Unit tests. Project Evaluation. Teacher- aid evaluation.



Criterion Referenced and Norm Referenced

When we look at the types of assessment instruments, we can generally classify them into two main groups: Criterion-referenced assessments and norm-referenced assessments.

"Norm-Referenced Assessment:

A norm-referenced test scores a test by comparing a person's performance to others who are similar. You can remember norm-referenced by thinking of the word 'normal.' The object of a norm-referenced test is to compare a person's performance to what is normal for other people like him or her.

Definition: A test or other type of assessment designed to provide a measure of performance that is interpretable in terms of an individual's relative standing in some known group- Gronlund (2000)

Criterion-Referenced Assessment

 Definition: A test or other type of assessment designed to provide a measure of performance that is interpretable in terms of a clearly defined and delimited domain of learning tasks." Gronlund (2000)

A criterion-referenced test is a style of test which uses test scores to generate a statement about the behavior that can be expected of a person with that score. Most tests and quizzes that are written by school teachers can be considered criterion-referenced tests.

There are multiple ways to score a criterion-referenced assessment. These include:

Distinctions between Criterion-referenced and Norm-referenced testing





To determine whether each student has achieved specific skills or concepts.

To find out how much students know before instruction begins and after it has finished.

To rank each student with respect to the
achievement of others in broad areas of knowledge.

To discriminate between high and low achievers.



Measures specific skills which make up a designated curriculum. These skills are identified by teachers and curriculum experts.

Each skill is expressed as an instructional objective.

Measures broad skill areas sampled from a variety of textbooks, syllabi, and the judgments of curriculum experts.


Each skill is tested by at least four items in order to obtain an adequate sample of student
performance and to minimize the effect of guessing.

The items which test any given skill are parallel in difficulty

Each skill is usually tested by less than four items.

Items vary in difficulty.

Items are selected that discriminate between high
and low achievers.



Each individual is compared with a preset standard for acceptable achievement. The performance of other examinees is irrelevant.

A student's score is usually expressed as a percentage.

Student achievement is reported for individual skills.

Each individual is compared with other examinees and assigned a score--usually expressed as a percentile, a grade equivalent 
score, or a stanine.

Student achievement is reported  for broad skill areas, although some norm-referenced tests do report student achievement for individual skills.



4.5 Revisiting key concepts in school evaluation: marks, credit, grading, choice, alternate certifications, transparency, internal-external proportion, improvement option


A score in the form of a number, percentage, or letter that a teacher gives a student’s work. In the education system which is in place in our country today, the evaluation provides an essential yard stick to judge the quality of students. It also provides motivation and a sense of purpose to both teachers and students to achieve defined set of goals. Evaluation of students begins at very early stage. This traditional evaluation process had many negative effects. The biggest drawback is that students, parents and society at large, become too anxious in the race to acquire more and more marks in examinations which leads to an extreme stress. Moreover, though all out efforts are made to enhance the reliability of examination, the human error cannot be avoided.In order to overcome such shortcomings, the government re-modeled the entire evaluation process. In this new system, the students are placed in ability bands that represent range of scores and student’s performance is assessed using conventional numerical marking mode, and the same is later converted into the grades on the basis of the predetermined marks ranges namely, A1, A2 etc. with their equivalent grade points.


It is a unit of academic input measured in terms of the study hours. It reflects the number of ‘Study Hours’ in a particular period of time devoted to various aspects of the teaching -learning process such as attending classes, engaging in assignments, projects, seminars, practical aspects, filed based activities, computer skills, research activities required for the course.

A course credit (often credit hour, or just credit or "unit") is a unit that gives weight to the value, level or time requirements of an academic course taken at a school or other educational institution. Some benefits of academic credit systems:

·        Keep track of student process and determine when he or she has met the requirements for awarding a specific academic degree.

·        Offer a good estimate of the workload of a programme and how it is distributed between the different higher education activities.

·        Some academic credit systems permit students to transfer to different programmes and keep part or all of their previously earned credit points.

·        If a student has not graduated a study programme, but wants to find a job, earned academic credits may be presented to employers as proof of previous studies.

·        Some universities use academic study credits to set programme costs.

Academic credit systems in India

 In India, most engineering colleges follow the course credit system. The number of 'Contact Hours' in a week of a particular course determines its credit value. Typically, courses vary from 2 to 5 credits. The GPA is calculated on a 10-point scale, with weighted average of the grades received in the respective course. The grades awarded are; A+,A,B+,B,C+,C,D & E(Fail). This GPA is also known as CGPA (Cumulative Grade Point Average). The thesis submitted at the end of the four-year degree is generally given 20 credits. On an average, students in India need to complete 195-200 credits after their 4-year engineering course to be awarded the degree B.Tech/B.E. with a summer internship (6 weeks minimum) & a one-year-long thesis project.

Grading system

A grading system in education is a system that is used to assess the educational performance of a child which is entirely based upon points alone. Grading system does not provide an opportunity to make the child to think out of the box or freely develop the thinking about any inkling of an idea or get involved with any of the intellectual speculation. Still, this method is widely regarded in many of the schools across the world and is kept as a strong and a viable medium to adjudge a child’s grasping and reciprocating ability by grading them. The primeval type of appraisal was by the marks where the marks for all the questions were totalled to get grand total marks. There are many types of grading system available now. Right from providing an O grade to A grade, to providing a ‘pass’ or ‘fail’ alone, many standards based grading systems are incorporated in various schools across the globe according to their own needs and desires. There are many people who declare that the grading system is the best and there are also others who say the complete opposite. Well, both the sides have a fair share of arguments to support their views completely.

Advantages of Grading System:

1.     Takes the pressure off from the students at certain levels: In a general grading system as considered above, a student’s real scores and its associated marks are not accounted on the official transcript, which denotes that their GPA will not have an effect on  either a pass or a fail mark category. This spares the students from getting preoccupied and become fussy about getting an elevated letter grade like that of an O, and permitting them to unwind. It still provides the necessary educational prerequisites for them to land themselves comfortably on a good job and also mould themselves to become more responsible citizens in the future. An even better aspect is that they will also receive some credit for the course that they have studied for all these years in the past.

2.     Grading Pattern description: One of the main advantage of this method is that the studious children were clearly discriminated from the average and below average type of students but this led to the development and mounting up of an intense pressure amidst the students. The learning was not thought of a process that is revered to be a fun task, but rather as a hard task which they had to properly deal with in a obedient manner. The advantages of the grading system are that the development of pressure upon the students in terms of studying has appreciably reduced. In case of India the general pattern is as follows A1: 91 to 100, A2 : 81 to 90, B1: 71 to 80, B2: 61 to 70, C1 : 51 to 60, C2 : 41 to 50, D for 33 to 40 and lesser for E’s.

3.     Another advantage that this method has conveyed in the field of education is that it has introduced the notion of measuring the students’ knowledge based on their internal assignments, projects, their answering ability in class and their overall performance in all the major examinations and is not just a solitary examination forced method.
Earlier the marks that were obtained in the exams are the only indicator of whether a child is studying or not. But, this system analyzes whether a child understands the concept or not.

4.     Gives the students an obvious idea about their weaknesses and strengths: Knowing precisely which subject(s) are their weak spots, students can easily decide where to toggle their focal point on. In a grading system where the alphabets are the scales, a grade of C or grade of D is known to speak a lot. So, when the total grades arrive these students can easily get to know their forte.

5.     Make class work easier: Yes..you have read it right. Suppose if a student knows that getting a D is enough to scrape through the class assignments section in the marking division, he or she will only focus on getting a D without any fuss. Of course, getting a higher grade than a D lies with the student’s prerogative only. The point is that the student does not need to toil themselves to achieve the necessary minimum.1

6.     Leads to a better rendezvous of ideas:1 Classes or the courses that are often taught in a classroom medium within the confined premises of a school are highly difficult and are taken in the ultimate sense as getting a pass or a fail in a subject and this builds a sense of responsibility in their minds to work and train hard in their weak spots.

Disadvantages of Grading System:

Also, the following points can be considered as worthy of our importance while considering the disadvantages of grading system. They are,

1.     It doesn’t instil a sense of competition: When all that is required is a mere pass mark, we would neither have the urge to outperform others nor do we want to excel with the overall grades. The A grade speaks a lot about our calibre than a D or a F. With a D or a F, we can be only satisfied that we are okay enough in studies, which will make us go lazy.

2.     Not an accurate representation of the performance and the knowledge gained: As we have said already, passing in an examination cannot be considered as plausible enough to declare that the same student has gained an immense amount of knowledge by these exams. An alphabet cannot explain the inner knowledge gained by a student and there is no easy way of gauging a student’s level of performance and knowledge in the examinations.

3.     It is not an exact scoring system: Suppose, let us consider that the science subject is your weak point and with a tremendous effort, let us say that you got an A or a C for all your attempts, which would have made a vast disparity in your sense of accomplishment. Still, the inner knowledge you have gained via these grades can be nil, as you may have attempted for learning without understanding the concept, with the sole perspective of getting an A or a C.

4.     Lack of incentives: The traditional letter grading system considers that every alphabet is an inducement to perform good or better or the best. Getting a B could kindle the students to put an extra effort to get an A and is a step closer to getting the highest mark in a class. But, the highest rank in class tag is going to do no good for the students. To get the tag, the students will only go for rote learning rather than exploring and explaining the concepts on their own.

Choice-Based Credit System

CBCS gives emphasis on the continuous and comprehensive evaluation. It gives 40% weightage to the internal assessment and remaining 60% to the final exam. Internal evaluation consists of one test for 20 marks, one assignment for 10 marks and 10 marks: 5 marks for the active participation in the class and 5 marks for over all conduct of the learners during class hours. The efficacy of CBCS can be understood by findings of (Kelkar, A.S & Ravishankar, L. 2014) who have conducted a research that revealed, 42% of the teachers agreed that the objective of CBCS was achieved, 39% felt that they were not met and 18% were uncertain. In response to the question whether CBCS emphasizes on only teaching or evaluation, or both, the feedback was mixed – majority (62.5%) felt that the emphasis is on evaluation only, while 20% felt that the emphasis was on teaching only and 15% felt that both teaching and evaluation were given equal weightage in the CBCS system. (Roy, Khanam & Trribeni (2013) found in their study that science background students and boys are having higher level of positive attitude towards CBCS in comparison to Arts and Girls students.

However, there are certain issues which have to be addressed through the merit and demerit of CBCS. These are as follows-

Pros of Choice-Based Credit System

Following points can be said the pros or advantage of credit based choice system. _

·        It can be seen as a major shift from the teacher centre to learner centre education.

·        Learners can offer as many credit as they can cope up the pressure of the examination.

·        It permits learners to choose soft courses of different interdisciplinary and intra disciplinary subjects with the core subjects.

·        It is also helpful to the learners to choose courses and papers as per their choice and interest.

·        It promotes mobility of learners from one institution to another one. _

·        It would take education system as par the global standard

·        It also helps to the learners to pursue their courses at different times. _

·        It helps learners to realize their potentials through the flexibility in offering courses.

·        It has broadened the base of education system. _

·        All round development of learners or multi facets personality of learners can be promoted. Through it.

·        It is also helpful in employment, as knowledge of different soft courses may helpful for that.

·        Stress and anxiety of learners can be reduced through it.

Cons of Choice-Based Credit System

In spite having advantages, following could be the disadvantages of Choice-Based Credit System.

·        It would be to measure or calculate the exact marks.

·        Work load of teachers would be increased a lot.

·        Regular teaching would be affected.

·        Mobility or transferring of students from one institution to another one would be problematic.

·        Maintaining compatibility among main subject’s papers and soft papers would be challenging one.

·        Offering more than one programme of different nature simultaneously would be challenging one.

·        Extra burden would be experience by the institution as CBCS has the flexibility in taking or choosing

Alternative Certification

More and more students are acquiring knowledge and skills outside school, and yet traditional schools still have a virtual monopoly on certifying whether a student’s knowledge is sufficient. Adults and children are taking online courses, working with remote human or computer-based tutors, and participating in online communities with a focus on learning. But if they fail to enroll in a school or college to complete their diploma or degree requirements, these plugged-in learners often receive little credit for their accomplishments.

Alternative schooling certification opportunities will be needed to accommodate the educational needs of its youth because the traditional school system, and particularly the traditional high school, can no longer serve the needs of the students and their family lifestyles common in the 1990s. It has even been suggested that society might want to consider allowing students to drop out and then provide alternative schools for them to complete their schooling

Once available primarily for disruptive students and those at risk for dropping out of a traditional school environment, alternative schools have expanded significantly in function as educators, parents, and wider communities recognize that many children cannot learn effectively in a traditional school environment. For children and adolescents with psychological and behavioral issues, such as personality disorders , substance use and abuse, depression, and violence, alternative schools can provide a safer therapeutic environment and more individualized attention than traditional schools. For children and adolescents with learning disabilities and certain medical conditions, such as attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), dyslexia , and Asperger's syndrome, alternative schools can provide integrated education and clinical services in one place to facilitate learning.


Schools and districts across the country need to collect data about students, including their test scores, grades, credits earned, and other related information, such as demographics, enrollment, discipline, and special education status. Educational agencies and institutions use these data to foster students’ academic achievement by identifying students’ talents and special requirements, monitoring their academic progress, and developing successful teaching and learning strategies. Schools and districts often have legitimate educational reasons to authorize third-parties to access these student data, for purposes such as communicating with parents, improving the effectiveness of education programs, to identify gaps in student services, and reasons as simple as providing secure data storage.

Parents expect their children’s well-being to come first when children attend school. This includes the expectation of respect for students’ privacy and adequate protection of the confidentiality of children’s personal information. To that end, parents expect openness and transparency from schools and districts about their data practices, so that parents can evaluate whether a school’s or district’s protection of children’s personal information meets those expectations.

Consequently, it is important that schools and districts communicate what student information they collect, why they collect it, how they use it, and to whom they disclose it. The U.S. Department of Education (ED or Department) encourages schools and districts to take a proactive approach in communicating with parents, as greater understanding of the schools’ and districts’ data privacy policies and practices will help alleviate confusion and misunderstandings about students’ data use.

Improvement options

The effective monitoring and evaluation of schools is central to the continuous improvement of student learning: Schools need feedback on their performance to help them identify how to improve their practices; and schools should be accountable for their performance.


·        As usual, you get a second chance to improve your marks. 

·        If you are preparing for any competitive exam and thinking to take a drop for that, you will get time to prepare for that as well because improvement exam is conducted next year with the next batch. 

·        Syllabus of CBSE remains the same so you don't have to prepare anything new, just revise and clear your concept on a topic which you have learned already. 


·        If you are planning to increase your marks, you will need to wait for a whole 1 year to appear and give the exam again. 

·        There is no form of assurance that your marks will be increased or not, it depends on you and how you have prepared in one year, but in scenarios where your improvement exam marks are less than your previous one, the best of two will be counted. 


If you manage to score improved marks in all the subjects, then you will no longer need to carry your previous mark sheet or combining both the mark sheet. 


Internal-external proportion

Internal assessment is the process in which the teachers and schools judge the students’ performance on the basis of his performance. Also, this process does not involve any outside person for assessment.

The Need for Internal Assessment

The internal assessment helps to give credit in the final assessment. Also, it reduces the burden and tension related to the final examination. In addition, it acts as a link which provides data related to student’s performance. This gives teachers an opportunity to evaluate the students. Moreover, it helps students in continuous learning.

Principles of Internal Assessment

The subject teacher prepares these assessments. Furthermore, it is continuous and does not replace exams. It is a suitable evaluation technique and tool. Also, they carry a fixed portion of marks for the assessment. Most noteworthy, it gives feedback to teachers so that they can improve their teaching.

On the other hand, it gives students a chance to improve their external assessment grade by seeing internal assessment results. So, that student can improve their learning.

Advantages of Internal Assessment

It reduces the weight age of external assessment. Moreover, students engage themselves in study throughout the year. The students will be more attentive to studying in class. In addition, it reduces the chances of anxiety and nervous breakdown in students.

Disadvantages of internal assessment

There are chances that teacher may misuse it for their own benefit. Also, in the hand of the inexperienced and insincere teacher, it can cause harm to students. Most noteworthy, it will lose its importance due to unfairness, favoring a student, and bias-ness.

External Assessment

Outside persons prepare these assessment methods and they are responsible and involved in it. Besides, it is done to give students the required certificate or degree or diploma for which the student has applied.

Classification of External Assessment

·        The result of the external assessment is classified into various categories.

·        The students who score 33% numbers just pass.

·        Also, the score between 36 to 45% is third division passed.

·        The score of 46 to 59% is second division passed.

·        In addition, the score between 60 to 74% is first division passed.

·        And a score of 75% and above is the distinction. Besides in the case of degree the collective marks are considered.

Advantages of External Assessment

The first advantage of external assessment is that it helps students to know their performance. It also helps them to know their knowledge level. In addition, it encourages them to learn and improve their knowledge and grades. Also, it creates a competitive spirit in students. This spirit pushes them to do their level best. For development, building personality and confidence it is very important.

Disadvantages of External Assessment

There are various disadvantages which can cause harm to student life and her/his career. These include the use of unfair means like talking and cheating in the examination hall. Some students just give a paper to only pass the exam to get average marks. In addition, external assessment only covers a part or partial course of study. Most noteworthy, the result is not accurate as it gives an unreliable result.

The weighting of internal assessment and examination is indicated by a ratio. An internal assessment/final examination ratio of 3:2, for example, indicates that 60% of the paper is internally assessed throughout the semester and 40% is assessed through a final exam.