Mid Term Assessment Survey, 2000

Copy Right: DPEP Calling, Volume VI, No. 11, December 2000, Government of India, New Delhi

Executive Summary:

Universalisation of elementary education and eradication of illit­eracy continue to be the priority programmes of all the successive gov­ernments of the post-independent era. Concerted efforts have been made to empower people to create facilities for education, in order to realize the goal of universalisation of elementary edu­cation. Attempts have also been made to serve the unserved by resorting to flexible curriculum, diversified instruc­tional strategy and decentralized plan­ning and management. Besides, a lot of emphasis has been laid upon in re­moving social and gender inequalities that exist within and across the states.

Some of the initiatives launched by the government in the recent past have brought the task of universalizing primary education to the center-stage of educational development in the country. Methodologically, the goal of universalizing primary education, takes into account both the quantitative and qualitative dimensions of basic learning needs. Quantitatively, the country has made phenomenal expan­sion. The number of primary institu­tions has risen to 626, 737, the number of primary school teachers has esca­lated to 1,903,539 and the students’ enrolment in classes I-V has gone up to 110,985,877. In DPEP states, the index of gender equity has been up to 95 and the index of social equity has risen to 95 for scheduled castes and 85 for scheduled tribes. Notwithstanding these remarkable strides, the analyses of students’ performance continue to display results that are not very en­couraging especially the ones at the end of three or four years of primary schooling.

DPEP was launched in the year 1994 to operationalised the directive of the NPE-POA, 1992 to initiate district specific projects. Today, the scheme has been implemented in a phased manner in as many as 242 districts spanning 15 states. Prior to implementing the scheme, the Baseline Assessment Stud­ies (BAS) were carried out in the year 1997 in all the project districts under reference with a view to obtaining the benchmark data in terms of students’ achievement, both in language and mathematics at the end of the initial and the penultimate stages of primary schooling. Subsequently, after 3 years of the implementation of the DPEP interventions, another round of achievement survey, which is popu­larly known as Mid- Term Assessment Survey (MAS) was undertaken in the year 2000 in all those districts.

The MAS aimed at measuring the average performance of students’ achievement on the competency based tests in language and mathematics at the end of both class I and the penultimate class of primary school. The study also made an attempt to make a comparative analysis of stu­dents’ achievement on the BAS tests administered in the year 1997, with that of students’ achievement on the same set of tests re-administered to the students of 10 schools that were randomly selected from amongst the 50 sampled schools taken for MAS, 2000. Besides, the study also attempted to compare the differences in achieve­ment on MAS tests in regard to, gender and different social groups. The study also attempted to study the influence of some intervening variables on stu­dents’ achievement, besides identify­ing the inadequacies and to discovering new areas of operation which were, hitherto, uncovered.

The MAS was carried out in the year 2000 by using a multistage stratified random sampling technique. The tests that have been used under MAS were developed by Ed. CIL and were differ­ent from those used under BAS 1997. The present study makes an attempt to providing an overview of the find­ings that were generated from the data of 8 states. The MAS data covered a sample of 80,906 students, 8003 teach­ers and 2781 schools, spread over 56 districts of 8 DPEP states.

A cursory glance at the average perfor­mance of class I students demonstrated on MAS confirms the predominant influence of contextuality, which pre­vails over the primary school system in the country. This is fairly evident from the ranges of students’ achievement that varies within and across the states.

The average performance of class I students in the state of Assam has ranged from 64.4% to 76.98% in language and from 70.84% to 82.54% in mathematics. In all the six districts of Assam, the students have demon­strated better performance in math­ematics than in language. Of all the districts, Goalpara has taken the lead by crossing 76.98 % mark in language and 82.54% in mathematics. In Haryana, the average performance has varied from 56.62% to 64.87% in language and 56.19% to 66.43% in mathematics. In Karnataka, the average performance has ranged from 42.61 o 59.07% in language and 48.32% 66.56% in mathematics. All districts, except Bidar, have displayed better performance in mathematics than in language. The average performance in Kerala has ranged from 71.66% to 81.25 % in language and 73.02% to 76.06% in mathematics. It is evident from the results that all the districts in Kerala have crossed 70% mark in both the subjects and that two out of three districts have displayed between performance in mathematics than in language.

Madhya Pradesh, the average performance has ranged from 52.48% to 81.83% in language and from 54.91% to 80.44% in mathematics. One of the districts namely Shivpuri has crossed 80 % mark in both the subjects. The average performance in Maharashtra , has ranged from 65.21% to 77.69% in language and 67.49% to 76.35% in mathematics. Districts of Dhule and Beed have captured the top position in language and mathematics respectively.

Tamil Nadu, the achievement in language has ranged from 72.42% to 83..94% and in mathematics, it varied from 74.01% to 80.05%. The district of Prarambalur has taken the lead by crossing 80% marks in both the subjects. Students’ achievement in the state of Uttar Pradesh has ranged from 55.72% to 88.87% in language and from 58.91% to 85.11% in mathematics. In most of the districts the students’ performance in both the subjects has shown an identical pattern of growth .And sequence. The measure of variability across the state has demonstrated greater homogeneity amongst the high performing districts. Achievement scores in all the states, except Assam, have utilized entire range from 0 to 100 percent in both the subjects. However, in Assam, they have ranged from 30 to 100 percent in language and 40 to 100 percent in mathematics. Further, it is also evident that higher ranges have claimed maximum number of cases than the lower ranges, except in the state of Karnataka where the spread of scores has been almost equal over the entire range.

The performance displayed by class I students in both the subjects reveals that out of 56 districts, 4 districts in language and 8 in mathematics have crossed 80 percent mark. Further scru­tiny of the data reveals, that of 56 districts, as many as 41 in language and 48 in mathematics have crossed 60 percent mark.

The average performance of class III students in the state of Assam has ranged from 46.33% to 58.01% in language and 46.07% to 57.27% in mathematics. The district of Karbi Anglong has outscored all other dis­tricts, both in language and math­ematics. In the state of Kerala, the average performance has varied from 54.74% to 59.19% in language and from 50.45% to 56.92% in mathemat­ics. Students’ achievement in the state of Maharashtra has varied from 47.02% to 65.03% in language and from 37.36% to 62.04% in mathematics. The district of Dhule in Maharashtra has out-shined all other districts both in language and mathematics. The mea­sure of variability has demonstrated greater homogeneity in the state of Assam as against Kerala and Maharashtra. While in Kerala and Maharashtra the spread of scores has covered the entire renge, in Assam they have ranged from 20 to 90 per cent in both the subjects. However, the shapes or curves in all the three states have appeared out to be normal in both the subjects.

‘Students’ achievement by class III students in both the subjects reveals that 2 out of 13 districts have crossed 60 percent mark, both in language and mathematics. Further, it shows that out of 13 districts, 11 in language and 9 in mathematics have crossed 50 percent mark. Two districts in Maharashtra has stood even below 40 percent mark in mathematics.

The average performance of class IV students in the state of Haryana has ranged from 45.95% to 50.00% in language and 36.44% to 40.84% in mathematics. Students of Haryana have displayed better performance in lan­guage than in mathematics. The dis­trict of Mahendergarh has outscored the other two districts in both the subjects. In Karnataka, students’ achievement has varied from 32.70% to 46.32% in language and from 26.92% to 55.55% in mathematics. Perfor­mance of 4 districts in language and 5 in mathematics has stood below 40% mark. All the districts have displayed better performance in language than in mathematics, except Mysore. In the state of Madhya Pradesh, the average performance of class IV has varied from 29.39% to 64.38% in language and from 23.84% to 75.11 % in mathemat­ics. The districts of Bhind and Shivpuri have excelled all other districts in language and mathematics respectively.

The average performance of students in the state of Tamil Nadu has ranged from 59.42% to 69.37% in language and from 48.14% to 56.76% in math­ematics. The students of Tamil Nadu having demonstrated better performance in language man in mathematics. 1 he district of Perambalur has outshined the other two districts in both the subjects. In the state of Uttar Pradesh, the average performance has ranged from 41.77% to 70.88% in language and from31. 78% to 60.44% in math­ematics. In 13 out of 15 districts in Uttar Pradesh, the students have por­trayed better performance in language than in mathematics. The measure of variability has demonstrated almost identical pattern across the states be­cause of poorer display of students’ performance in class IV as against class I. The spread of scores in all the five states has covered the entire range in both the subjects. Unlike the rest, only the state of Tamil Nadu and that too only in language has exhibited nega­tively skewed distribution.

The performance of class IV students in both the subjects reveals that out of 43 districts, only 6 in language and 2 in mathematics have crossed 60 per­cent mark. Further analyses of the data indicates that as many as 11 districts in language and 24 in mathematics have stood below 40 percent mark.

A comparative assessment of students’ performance in language in class I on BAS tests administered in 1997 with that of the same test re- administered in 2000 has shown positive trends in 46 out of 56 districts across eight states. Of these 46, as many as 38 districts have registered significant hike in achieve­ment in language. The degree of hike in language achievement in class-I has varied from 25% to 46% in 10 districts, from 10 to 25% in 20 districts and up to 10% in 16 districts. However, in as many as 10 districts, achievement has suffered a decline, of them, 7 districts showing significant, decline that ranged from 1.49% to 28.43%. In mathematics, 51 out of 56 districts have shown positive trends in stu­dents’ achievement. Out of these 51 districts, 49 districts have registered significant hike in mathematics achievement. The hike in achieve­ment ranged from 25% to 47% in 19 districts, from 10% to 25% in 23 districts and up to 10% in 9 districts. The remaining five districts have dis­played negative trends, of them, three districts in Assam and one in Kerala have exhibited significant decline in mathematics achievement.

A comparative analyses of students’ achievement in language in class III on BAS test administered during the ini­tial survey in 1997 with that of the same test re-administered in 2000 has demonstrated significant improvement in 11 out of 13 districts in three states. The hike in achievement varied from 25% to 37.70% in4 districts, from 10% to 25% in2 districts and up to 10% in 5 districts. The rest of the two districts from the state of Assam have displayed negative trends, of them, one showing significant decline in achievement.

In mathematics, 9 out of 13 districts have portrayed positive trends, of them, 8 showing significant improvement. The hike in achievement has ranged from 25% to 31% in 2 districts and up to 10% in 7 districts. The remaining four districts have displayed negative trends, of them, one district each in Assam and Maharashtra have por­trayed significant decline in mathemat­ics achievement.

A comparison of class IV students’ achievement in language indicates that 31 out of 43 districts in five states have demonstrated positive trends, of them, as many as 26 have displayed signifi­cant improvement. The hike in achieve­ment has been noticed up to 31% in one district. Besides, it has ranged from 10% to 25% in 8 districts and up to 10% in 22 districts. Out of the remaining districts, 5 in Karnataka and 7 in Uttar Pradesh have shown significant decline in language achieve­ment. In mathematics, 34 out of 43 districts have registered positive trends, of them, 29 with significant improvement. The hike in achieve­ment varied from 25% to 44% in 2 districts, from 10% to 25% in 9 dis­tricts and up to 10% in 23 districts. Rest of the 9 districts have shown negative trends, of them, 2 districts in Karnataka and 4 in Uttar Pradesh have registered significant decline in mathematics achievement.

It appears from the analyses of results that those districts, where the DPEP interventions have enabled the chil­dren to develop basic competencies to the level where they become compe­tent to handle any kind of test items related to curriculum relevant compe­tencies seem to have out performed their counterparts. Findings of the study also reveal that the performance of students in class I on MAS tests has been better than the performance of students in classes III and IV except in class I language in Kerala. It does signify that the pedagogical renewal process have shown greater impact on the initial stage, than on the penultimate stage of primary school­ing.

The DPEP goal of reducing the differ­ences in achievement between boys and girls in class I has been realized in 49 out of 56 districts in language and in 42 out of 56 districts in mathematics across eight states. In class III, genderwise differences in achievement has been overcome in 11 out of 13 districts in language and in 13 out of 13 in mathematics. Differences in achievement between boys and girls in class IV have been sqeezed to less than five per cent in 41 out of 43 districts in language and in 42 out of In mathematics.

Differences in achievement between urban and rural students have been overcome to the level of the DPEP goal in 25 out of 55 districts both in language and mathematics in class I, in 7 out of 13 districts in language in 6 out of 13 in mathematics in class III and in 23 out of 42 in language and 26 out of 42 in mathematics in class IV

DPEP goal of reducing the differ-s between SC and others and ST others in class I in language has realized in 36 out of 56 and 21 out of 35 districts respectively. In class I Mathematics, the goal has been led in 36 out of 56 districts between SC and Others and in 22 out of 35 between ST and Others.

DPEP goal of reducing the differences among social groups in class III been accomplished in 8 out of 13 distrits between both SC and Others ST and Others. In class III mathematics, the goal has been realized by 9 out of 13 between SC and Others and 7 out of 13 between ST and Others. In class IV language, the DPEP goal has been claimed by 38 out of 43 districts en SC and Others and by 16 out of 22 between ST and Others. In mathematics it has been overcome by 39 out of 43 districts between SC and others and by 17 out of 22 between ST Others.

In all those districts, where the DPEP goals of reducing the gaps in achievement to less than five percent among gender and social groups has not yet been attained, concerted efforts need to be made to realizing the goal. Besides sustained efforts are required to maintain the tempo of progress in high achieving district and spirited inter­vention efforts in low performing districts. Greater emphasis need to be laid on intensive drilling trough continuous and comprehensive evaluation. The data of all those districts that have displayed poor performance, like the class I language data of all the districts of Kerala need to be re-analyzed with a view to finding out the real reasons. Besides, extra drills, supervised study programmes, proliferation of local spe­cific instructional material, purposeful reinforcement and motivation may be made an integral part of teaching-learning process.

The data of all those districts that have displayed exemplary performance may be subjected to re-analysis with a view to finding out positive features of programme implementation so that they may be replicated in other districts as well.

Detailed Study:

District Primary Education Programme (DPEP) was launched in the year 1994 with twin purposes, one, to operationalise decentralized planning and management and two, to acceler­ate the pace of universalisation of primary education in the country. Consciously the districts, wherein the female literacy was lower than the national average and where the total literacy campaign has generated enough demand for the universalisation of elementary education were selected for the implementation of the programme. DPEP, which emphasizes on conceptuality, aims at reducing gender and social disparities that do prevail in the existing system. More specially, the DPEP aims at fulfilling the objectives that are given as under:

  • To reduce differences in enrolment, dropout and learning achievement among gender and social groups to less than five percent;
  • to reduce overall primary dropout rate for all students to less than ten percent;
  • to raise average achievement lev­els by at least 25 percent over measured baseline levels and en­suring achievement of basic lit­eracy and numeracy competencies and a minimum of 40 percent achievement levels in other com­petencies by all primary school children;
  • to provide, according to national norms, access for all children to primary education classes (I-V), i.e. primary schooling wherever possible, or its equivalent non formal education.

DPEP has drawn inspiration and learnt from earlier experiences such as the Bihar Education Project, Uttar Pradesh Basic Education Project, Andhra Pradesh Primary Education Project etc.

Initially, DPEP was introduced in as many as 42 districts spanning over seven DPEP Phase-1 states. Since then, DPEP has traversed a long distance in terms of its coverage. It has embraced more than fifty percent of both stu­dent and teacher population of about 242 districts including the ones that are in the pipeline spanning over fifteen states. It has given fresh impetus to the process of unversalization of primary education in the country by way of creating massive infrastructure, besides the coverage and increase in enrolment and participation.

DPEP has been implemented in a phased manner. During phase-I the scheme was introduced only in 42 districts spanning over seven states. Subsequently, the scheme was extended to 41 expansion districts of these seven states plus 15 districts of Uttar Pradesh under phase-II

Baseline Assessment Studies:

Prior to implementing the DPEP in the expansion districts of phase-I states under phase:-II, the Baseline Assess­ment Studies were carried out in all the 56 project districts inclusive of the 15 districts of the state of Uttar Pradesh in the year 1997. The purpose of this survey was to ascertain the level of students’ achievement both in lan­guage and mathematics at the end of the first year of initial schooling and at the end of the penultimate stage of primary schooling. This study in itself was a very massive exercise covering 2556 schools, 67,656 students, 6535 teachers from amongst as many as 56 districts. It was a unique proposition after the earlier studies on students’ achievement carried out in 1965-66 in mathematics (Kulkarni, 1970), in 1990 both in language and mathematics by the NCERT (Shukia et al, 1994) again in 1994 in the same subjects by the NCERT (Jangira et al, 1995). All these studies created a wealth of data that have been used for designing research based intervention strategies for realiz­ing the goal of universalizing primary education in the project districts.

Mid- Term Assessment Survey:

The DPEP has been in progress in the expansion districts of the states of Assam, Haryana, Kamataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh since 1997. As per the agreement of the World Bank Report No. 13072 Page 42, Para 3.23(1), November, 1994, the assessment studies in all these states are to be carried out in all the project districts during the third and the sixth year of the project. Since the BAS in the districts under reference was carried out in 1997, the second round of assessment survey which is more popu­larly known as Mid- Term Assessment Survey was mounted in all these project districts at the beginning of the current academic session.

The purpose of this exercise is to learn both the adequacies and inadequacies of the programme, besides applying mid-course corrections to realize the desired results. The findings of the study would provide an opportunity to the policy planners to have a relook at the strategies. It would also make it possible to assess the quantum of activities being carried out in different operational areas, highlighting areas that require additional inputs and identifying pockets, hitherto, unknown and unexplored. Moreover, the find­ings of the study would provide point­ers for carrying out mid-course corrections.

The Mid- Term Assessment Survey was undertaken with the focus on the following objectives:

  1. To measure the average perfor­mance of students’ achievement on the newly generated compe­tency based achievement tests in language and mathematics at the end of class I and at the end of penultimate class of primary school­ing.
  2. To compare the average perfor­mance of students’ achievement on the BAS tests administered during the initial survey in 1997 with that of students’ performance on the same tests re-administered during MAS in 2000.
  3. To compare the achievement difference in regard to area, gender and social groups on MAS tests.
  4. To study the effect of variables like , school and teacher on stu­dents’ achievement. The scope, of the present study report encom­passes the first three general ob­jectives in entirety.

Design of the Survey:

Normative correlational survey design was used for conducting the Mid-Term Assessment Survey.

Population:

The MAS was targeted to cover 41 expansion districts of the DPEP Phase-I states covered under DPEP Phase II in the states of Assam, Haryana, Kamataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Tamil Nadu and 15 dis­tricts of Uttar Pradesh.

Time:

The survey work in all the aforesaid states began at the commencement of the current academic session and con­tinued until September,2000.

Tools:

Following tools were employed for conducting the mid-term survey:

  1. Achievement tests, both in lit­eracy and numeracy, for class I students
  2. Achievement tests, both in lan­guage and mathematics, for classes III/IV students
  3. School Record Schedule
  4. Teachers’ Schedule
  5. Student Present Schedule
  6. Field Notes
  7. Training Manual
  8. Field Handbook

It is pertinent to metion here that the achievement tests based on the competencies of classes I, and III/IV ere administered at the beginning of le session on to the students of asses II and IV respectively.

Sampling Design:

Multistage stratifie d random sampling •chnique was employed for the selec-an of various constituents of the (AS.

Target Population:

The target population used in the study are is given as under:

Schools:

All Govt. and Govt. Aided Primary :hools including primary sections (1-/N) attached to upper primary/sec-“idary/senior secondary schools.

Teachers:

All teachers including the Head acher.

Students:

All students at the end of the initial stage of primary schooling.

All students at the end of the penultimate stage of primary schooling (III/IV).

Various steps involved in the selection total number of schools, selection of number of urban and rural schools, lection of blocks, selection of urban areas, selection of schools from rural id urban areas, selection of students and teachers are given as under:

STEP-I

Total number of schools selected for the survey:

‘10% of the total number of government and government aided primary schools including primary sections attached to upper primary/secondary/ senior secondary schools having classes I to IV were selected in each project district, subject to a maximum of 50 schools.

STEP-II

Number of Schools selected from the Urban and Rural Sectors:

The schools decided for the survey under step I were divided proportion­ately on the basis of the total number of urban and rural schools in the district subject to a minimum of 10 schools from the urban area.

STEP-III

Selection of Blocks:

While selecting the blocks, the urban areas, if any, were excluded from the blocks. All blocks were selected if the total number of blocks was up to 4. If the total number of blocks was more than four, two separate lists of tribal and non tribal blocks (arranged alpha­betically) were prepared.

Subsequently, from these two lists, four blocks were selected proportion­ately and randomly with a minimum of one block from the tribal list.

Selection of Urban Areas:

Prior to selecting the urban areas, all the urban areas were arranged alpha­betically. All the urban areas were selected if the total number of urban areas was up to 3.

If the number of urban areas was more than 3 then only 3 areas were ran­domly selected.

STEP-IV

Schools are proportionately selected from each sampled block using the table of random numbers after prepar­ing a list of government and govern­ment aided schools.

Urban Schools:

Schools were proportionately selected from each sampled urban area using the table of random numbers after preparing a list of government and government aided schools.

Besides, a replacement list of 10 schools in the proportion of rural and urban number of sampled schools was also prepared for meeting out any exigen­cies.

STEP-V

Selection of Students Class I:

One section was randomly selected wherever the number of sections was more than one. All the students of this section were selected if the num­ber of students was 20 or less than 20. If the number of students was more than 20, the boys and girls were alternately arranged using the class register and then 20 students were finally selected, using random start.

Classes III/IV:

One section was randomly selected, wherever the number of sections was more than one. All the students of this section were selected if the num­ber of students was 30 or less than 30. In those cases, where the number of students was more than 30, the boys and girls were alternately arranged using the class register and then 30 students were finally selected using random start.

Step-VI

Selection of Teachers:

Five teachers, including the Head Mas­ter/Head Teacher were selected for the study. Of them, one was the head teacher. The second teacher was the one who taught the sampled students of class I. Third teacher was the one who taught the sampled students of Class III/ IV If there were separate teachers teaching language and math­ematics to the students, then both were included in the sample and the fifth teacher was randomly selected from amongst the remaining teachers, preference was given to the lady teacher. In those schools, where the language and the mathematics teacher happens to be the same person, both the fourth and the fifth teachers were randomly selected from amongst the remaining teachers.

Overview of the Tests Used in BAS & MAS:

It may be pertinent to mention here that the tests employed under MAS 2000 were different from those used under BAS 1997 and that these new tests employed under MAS were devel­oped by Ed.CIL. A broad class-wise outline of the tests used under both the BAS and the MAS is given as under:

Class I Language Tests BAS & MAS:

The test in language used under BAS comprised a set of twenty items. Of them, the first set of ten items were devoted to the recognition of alpha­bets and the second set often items to recognition of words. Out of these ten words only one word involved the recognition of more than one Matra. The test required the reading of the alphabet and the words.

The MAS test in language also contained twenty items, but all these items were devoted only to the recog­nition of words. Out of these twenty words, there were as many as ten words having more than one Matra. The test warranted the recognition of the pic­ture and reading of a set of four given words and recognizing the word that would associate with the picture.

Class I Mathematics Tests BAS & MAS:

The mathematics test under BAS consisted of fourteen items based on four competencies. The mode of its conduct was individual administration where the examinee indicated the answer.

The MAS test in mathematics contained twenty items which mea­sured as many as ten competencies, inclusive of the four competencies that were covered under BAS test. The mode of its conduct was also indi­vidual administration, both oral and written.

Class III Language Tests BAS & MAS:

The language test under BAS had forty four items divided into part one, and part two. Under part one there were twenty items of word knowledge, while in part two, there were twenty four items on reading comprehension. It was a group test.

The test under MAS covered sixty five items in language divided into two parts namely part one and part two. Part one had thirty items under word knowledge and part two had thirty five items under reading comprehension.

It may be mentioned here that the words and the passages used under BAS & MAS tests were different.

Class III Mathematics Tests BAS & MAS:

The BAS test in mathematics con­sisted of forty items measuring thirty four competencies, while the MAS test with equal number of items mea­sured only thirty competencies. In the MAS test, of thirty competencies, there were thirteen competencies that were common with the BAS test and the rest were different. The MAS test had items based on four digit numbers.

Class IV Language Tests BAS & MAS:

The language test under BAS com­prised eighty four items broken down into part one and part two. Part one had forty items on word knowledge, while part two had forty four items on reading comprehension.

The MAS test had seventy items split into part one and part two. Part one had thirty five items under word knowl­edge and part two had thirty five items under reading comprehension. The MAS test had a different set of words and comprehension passages from that of the BAS tests.

Class IV Mathematics Tests BAS & MAS:

The mathematics test under BAS had forty items, measuring twenty six com­petencies. The MAS test also had forty items, measuring twenty-five compe­tencies. In the newly constructed MAS test, eighteen competencies were com­mon with that of the BAS test and the rest were different.

Strategy for the Conduct of MAS:

The conduct of the MAS was a shared responsibility between the NCERT and the states. The NCERT, in its role of the nodal agency, developed the design, instruments, framework of data analysis and other complementary Material. Besides, the NCERT took upon itself, the responsibility of conducting the training of Master Trainers of all the districts across the eight states. Master Trainers were identified from amongst the faculty of the DIETs nd the SCERTs. By and large, these master trainers were selected from the reject districts and they were entrusted with the entire responsibility f conducting the training of the Field investigator, besides the collection and scrutiny and batching of the data under the overall supervision of the Principal Investigator. All these steps were meticulously planned and executed with a view to ensuring both the authenticity and the quality of the data.

The NCERT also extended academic assistance to the states on demand. All the documents employed in the conduct of the MAS, except the achievement tests, were developed by the NCERT and presented for clearance store the National Advisory Committee on Survey, constituted by the Department of Education, Govt. of India.

Test Administration:

As mentioned earlier, a set of newly generated competency based achievement tests were employed for assessing students’ performance under the MAS. Since these tests were different from the earlier tests used in the initial survey (BAS), they were used only for assessing the average performance of students and also for finding achievement gaps between gender and social groups in the present context in all schools sampled under MAS. However, in order to ascertaining the hike students’ performance, after a period of three years of DPEP interventions, the same set of tests that were used during the initial survey in the year 1997 were re-administered subsequent to the MAS tests to the stu­dents, randomly selected schools out of the total number of sampled schools in each project district. The initial tests were administered to the same set of students of the ten selected schools, who had already attempted new tests under MAS.

Data Collection:

The data under MAS were collected by the Field Investigators, under the di­rect monitoring of the master trainers and overall guidance of the Principal Investigator in each state.

The batching and the scrutiny of the data were carried out at two levels, one, at the district level, and two, at the state level, before it were subjected to statistical analyses.

The present report is based on the analyses of data comprising 80,906 students, 8192 teachers and 2781 schools spanning over 56 districts across eight states.

Data Analysis:

The data were analysed with a view to assessing the current status of students’ achievement on newly generated com­petency based achievement tests in language and mathematics adminis­tered at two levels namely; at the end of the initial stage and the penultimate stage of primary schooling. The achieve­ment scores obtained on these tests were also used for preparing the ogives.

The data were also subjected to mak­ing a comparison of BAS 1997 results with that of the results obtained on the same tests re-administered in the year 2000. Besides, the data were also analysed to finding out the achievement gaps on MAS tests in respect of gender and social groups.

Keeping in view, the analysis plan and in order to ensure the uniformity and compatibility across the states, a “Framework of Analysis of the Data of Assessment Surveys” was developed by the DPEP Core Resource Group of the NCERT and distributed amongst the states. The framework provided for not only the detailed analysis of the study report, but also guidelines for the chapterisation of the report.

Implications:

The observations regarding the pre­eminence of the element of contextuality during the MAS has been confirmed through the findings of the present study in all the 56 districts spread over 8 states. There are ample evidences of wide variations within the state and also across the states. This obviously warrants district specific edu­cational plans and varied interventions for individual districts to cater to their specific needs.

While referring to class I achievement in language and mathematics, one can find that there are 4 districts in language and 8 districts in mathemat­ics, performing above 80 percent level. On the other hand, there are 15 districts in language and 8 in math­ematics performing below 60 percent level. Concerted efforts may therefore be made to bring these districts to 80 percent level, more so in case of those districts of Karnataka where the achievement level is even below 50 percent. In the remaining districts, where the achievement level is be­tween 60 and 80 percent, the students may be encouraged to push the achievement level to 80 percent by providing enriched supplementary teaching learning material.

In class III, of the 13 districts, Goalpara in Assam, and Dhule in Maharashtra are the districts showing above 60 percent achievement level in both the subjects. With specific inputs, the per­formance may be boosted to 80 percent level. Concerted efforts are needed in case of Bongaigaon in Assam and Jalana in Maharashtra for enhancing their achievement level both in lan­guage and mathematics which is below 50 percent level. Kokrajhar in Assam and Gadchiroli in Maharashtra require special inputs in teaching of mathemat­ics for enhancing the students’ perfor­mance which is again between 50 percent level. In the rest of the dis­tricts, district specific inputs may be provided to expanding the achieve­ment level which is at present between 50 and 60 percent.

In class IV, of the 43 districts, 26 in language and 33 in mathematics have performed below 50 percent level, many of them being even below 40 percent level. All out efforts are needed to design district specific interventions for raising the performance level to at least 60 percent mark. In the longer term, the planning should be such that these districts along with the rest of the districts also reach the 80 percent mark both in language and mathemat­ics.

While comparing the achievement of classes I, III and IV in language and mathematics, on the same set of tests administered during BAS 1997 and MAS 2000, it has been observed that a substantial number of districts have demonstrated significant improvement in achievement. In language 30 dis­tricts in class I, 6 in class III and 9 in class IV have hiked their level of achievement up to 10 percent and above. The number of districts showing an increase of 10 percent and above in mathematics is 42, 2 and 11 for classes I, III and IV respectively. Good efforts put up by these districts require more reinforcement to further the achievement level in these dis­tricts. Rest of the districts, during the remaining 3 years, may be provided with need based district specific inputs so as to attain the DPEP goal of 25% improvement in achievement. In the districts, where the achievement level has shown a decline, research based interventions and re-analyses of the data for finding the hard spots of learning need to be undertaken with a view to rejuvenating them to move forward.

Gende-wise differences in achieve­ment reveal that almost all the districts in class III / IV and most of the districts in class I are having gender-wise parity. This tempo needs to be maintained, while making extra efforts to improving the achievement level during the com­ing years. In the rest of the districts, where the gender-wise differences exist, girl students need to be motivated, encouraged and convinced that they can perform equally well, both in language and mathematics. If need be, parents of these students may be contacted and given certain tips to improving the results.

As compared to gender-wise differences in achievement, area-wise differences are more pronounced in both the subjects in all the classes. It requires concerted efforts to improve the achievement level in rural areas. This problem can be minimized by providing them teaching-learning ma­terial, quoting examples from rural areas, finding out the hard spots of learning, providing remedial teaching through learner-learner interaction and learner material interaction, in addition to usual teacher-learner interaction.

Scrutiny of the performance of SC, ST and others reveals that majority of the districts have attained the DPEP goal for classes I and III/IV in both the subjects. Special efforts may be put up for the improvement of the position of SC and ST students in the districts, where the achievement gaps are more than 5 percent.

While analyzing the gender-wise, area-wise and category-wise achieve­ment differences in classes I, III and IV, the differences are comparatively less pronounced at class III/IV level. This does not mean that the picture at this level is far more satisfactory than the class I level. The differences in achieve­ment at class III/IV level may increase with the general improvement of per­formance in the next 3 years. There­fore, the districts need to put up extra efforts to enhance the achievement level of students of class III and IV and simultaneously ensure that the gaps in achievement are restricted to less than 5 percent level.

The data of all those districts that have displayed exemplary performance may be subjected to re-analysis with a view to finding out positive features of programme implementation so that they may be replicated in other dis­tricts as well.

The state and district personnel re­sponsible for the implementation, of the DPEP programme may organize sharing workshops to disseminate the findings of the Mid-term Assessment Survey up to the grassroots level so that the district specific interventions may be appropriately planned and implemented in individual institu­tions.