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The Changing Dynamics of the Assessment In Distance Mode of School Education

Dynamics of the Assessment In Distance Mode Schooling

The assessment ensures the learning outcome of instructional activity. The importance of assessment must not be limited to grading students rather it should be used for the process of input for the learner. Before talking about the areas/functions of assessment I would like to share what assessment is and its functions. Assessing activity differs in each activity. However, in classroom assessment we have been discussing two types of assessment, they are: formative and summative. There are several frameworks for assessment and there can be a brand new framework when teachers develop a new technique for students' evaluation in this pandemic situation. The super-difficult situation of classroom teaching or schooling students in distance mode is a great opportunity for the teachers to develop a new concept for evaluation which can be a good reference for complete digital schooling. The condition of schooling around the world is not similar. However, the ultimate future of education is digital schooling. Whatever the situation/mode of schooling, the assessment is the backbone of every learning activity. The mode of schooling can be changed with the pace of the time but the term assessment will be an integral part of the teaching-learning activity. In this concept, the little attempt in conceptualizing assessment in distance mode of assessment can be a giant step for the entire education system.

Developing the concept of assessment in distance mode of schooling is relative and it has a great impact on the level of learner technological availability and digital literacy of students/parents. The status of technological development and technological knowledge of schooling variables (teachers, school, and techno-geography) are affecting factors of the assessment framework. Regular schooling and teaching-learning system in Nepal has its own importance however the changing dynamics of schooling and assessment systems have triggered the mind of teachers and policymakers and are thinking about alternative assessment.  It took a long time to understand the assessment we were doing in our classroom teaching can be used as a tool for our summative assessment (the concept of Continuous Assessment System; CAS). Traditionally, continuous assessment was used as a teaching-learning activity. However, it was hidden within an activity. Here I mean to say, the assessment we understand today has been used in our education system but it is not taken as a concrete tool to motivate a learner for new knowledge. In the historical context of Nepal, National Education Commission Report 2049 BS stressed the need to introduce a comprehensive and regular evaluation scheme for proper judgment of students learning and for quality improvement in education but it did not materialize in the Nepalese context. Six years later the High-Level National Education Commission 2055 BS blamed the existing evaluation system for creating serious educational wastage at the school level due to the directive examination system. The commission stressed 'the main reason for student's dropouts and class reputation has been the annual examination system for students' promotion. The byproduct of those studies and report the Tents Plan (2002-2007) stated to introduce a continuous assessment system (CAS) and it was targeted for liberal promotion policy. All the above studies and reports reveal the essence of evaluation and the dynamic concepts of evaluation.

The blended form of summative and formative assessment has developed a new system in classroom assessment which we understand as a continuous assessment system (CAS) The super-difficult situation for academics created by the corona outbreak has enlightened the scholar, teachers, or the academic institutions and they are talking about the dynamics of assessment. They are talking about alternative methods of evaluation.

Continuous Assessment in Distance Mode

Distance mode of education is the one and the only solution to Corona's pandemic. Regular schooling is out of imagination due to the spreading nature of Corona. The pandemic situation triggered our minds to think about possible similar and different situations in the future. The importance of homeschooling and distance mode of schooling has increased among academicians and even among the citizens. Different learning management systems have been introduced. Similarly, the tools for teaching learning and assessment are burning issues. Higher personal effort and financial investment along with rigorous training for the teachers and educators has somehow identified the basic essence of technology in the distance mode of education.

In this situation, content delivery via virtual teaching has raised questions on the quality of education and the outcome of the prescribed curriculum. If we highlight the basic points of the existing curriculum and schooling system, there will be hundreds of issues. Since the starting of the new academic year, many institutions and teachers along with parents invested money, mind, and time to upgrade with the situation. On the other hand, convincing parents for private institutions and citizens for the government is a challenging job for both parties. The long struggle of teachers who have been running online classes has now troubled the term 'first term exam'.  The question I want to raise here is 'Is it necessary? Why can't we change the term exam into assessment? The answer to my question for myself is another question, why we don’t think about alternative assessment, continuous assessment, and so on.

If we talk about the principle of continuous assessment there are some points that need to be revised to meet the middle point of regular schooling and distance mode of schooling. Here what I am highlighting is parental involvement in students' evaluation. Parents are struggling to manage all the necessary things for distance mode of education. Managing devices, network and other resources are parental responsibility. Even some parents need support to complete assignments. In order to guide their children for different factors of virtual schooling, the guardians of parents are learning the content along with the student's behavior.   In a way, guardians or parents are the strong variables for the distance mode of basic level schooling. In this context parents or guardians should be involved in the assessment of the students. Along with the parental involvement in continuous assessment we can highlight different aspects and are open to discussion. 

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