Author(s): Sharma, Priyanka
Pages: p. 6-30
In the new millennium, the Indian education system has experienced a major shift and the issue of the quality of education has taken centre stage in policy discussion fora. Globally, assessment has become an important means of improving the quality of education, both at the systemic level and at the level of individual students. It necessitates innovation, exploration and implementation of world-class assessment standards to augment the efforts aimed at realising quality education and improved learning achievement. School education, being the foundation of the education system of any country, has witnessed the adoption of a number of innovative models of assessment that have the potential to improve the learning levels of students. But the most debated questions are: What is the purpose of assessment? What type of assessment is the most suitable? Standards-based assessment (SBA), a system of referencing students' achievement against predetermined standards, offers a great opportunity to improve classroom practices and to enhance the achievement level of students. It has played a pivotal role in mobilising educational reforms through assessment reforms in a number of systems. It is often argued that standards are limited to measuring the level of achievement or to the assessment of learning. This point, in turn, has implications for system monitoring or evaluation, and has little relevance for classroom practices. This article argues that the practices of SBA, if they were allowed to percolate to the classroom, would facilitate learning and would enable the use of assessment for improving learning.