Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) and National Achievement Surveys (NAS): a comparison

Organisation(s): Assessment Survey Evaluation Research (India)

Date: 2017

Pages: 6 p.


Two large scale nationwide learning assessments are currently conducted in India at the elementary stage. Pratham/ASER Centre's Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) has been brought out annually since 2005, with the exception of 2015. The National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) has conducted National Achievement Surveys (NAS) periodically since 2001 for grades III, V and VIII. These two sources are frequently cited in discussions on learning outcomes in India. Although both ASER and NAS are large scale assessments of learning, they are not designed for the same purpose. As a result, they are different in terms of sampling, test design and content, methodology and time frame of assessment. Results of ASER and NAS are computed, reported, and disseminated very differently. Since estimates generated by ASER and NAS surveys neither cover the same populations nor assess the same content, their results are not comparable. However, it is worth highlighting one significant common finding: both ASER and NAS data indicate a trend of declining learning levels in language and mathematics among children in Std V. This note summarizes major differences between ASER and NAS. It is based on ASER 2005-2016 and a set of NAS documents pertaining to elementary education.

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