SAFAL: An Assessment Programme for CBSE Students
Measurement of student learning outcomes is important for improving the quality of education. Assessment is the process of gathering and evaluating information on what students know, understand, and can do. This can help students as well as educators, and help them to make an informed decision about the next steps in the education process.
There are two kinds of assessment of students’ learning, used in different contexts and for different purposes. These are:
- Individual assessments for students
- System-level assessments or evaluations for schools, regions, or national education system
Individual assessments for pupils can be formative to give feedback to learners and teachers on their skills and progress, or they can be summative, in the form of final grade examination results. Various large-scale regional, national, and international assessments are used to evaluate the output of a school system. These exams are designed to provide evidence about the levels of student achievement in specific learning domains. To score high marks in the board exams, students work hard throughout the year. They refer to the CBSE Previous Year Question Papers for Class 12, textbooks, notes, sample question papers etc. Therefore, a large-scale assessment system needs to address educational policy issues and priorities.
What is SAFAL?
In view of the New Education Policy 2020, a key focus is on skill-based and competency-based assessment and NIPUN Bharat. So, to improve student learning outcomes in the foundational years, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is planning to introduce a competency-based assessment to assess student learning outcomes on key competencies. The proposed name of the assessment is Structured Assessment for Analyzing Learning (SAFAL). The assessment would be focused on the assessment of core competencies. SAFAL results would provide diagnostic data and insights to each school for promoting the development of students.
Relevant sections from National Education Policy 2020 pertaining to assessments at key stages:
The exams in Grades 3, 5, and 8 will be conducted to track the progress of students throughout the year. The exams will not be conducted at the end of Classes 10 and 12. The purpose of this assessment is to benefit students, teachers, principals, parents, and the whole schooling system. It will help in planning teaching-learning processes and improving the school system. The exam will test the basic learning outcomes and achievement of students. Previously, students were just busy preparing for the board exams with the help of CBSE Previous Year Question Papers for Class 10 and other study material. But SAFAL assessment will assess the knowledge and the core concepts. It will test the knowledge of students in local curricula and at national level. Apart from it, there will be higher-order skill tests. Students will also be tested on whether they know the application in real-life situations or they have just memorized the topics. The Grade 3 exam would test numeracy, basic literacy, and various foundational skills. The results of the school examinations will only be used for the development of the school and education system. The result will also be available for public disclosure so that schools can continuously monitor and improve the school system. The Grade 3 SAFAL results will identify areas of intervention. They can improve numeracy and foundational literacy among students. Thus, they help develop reforms for the NIPUN Bharat Mission.