No Marks? Experts Explain Report Cards Under New National Education Policy 2020

The redesigned progress reports will be “a holistic, 360-degree, multidimensional report that reflects in great detail the progress and the uniqueness of each learner in the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains”.

The first educational policy of the 21st century has been announced. The National Education Policy 2020 is an ambitious project aiming for sweeping transformational reforms in all levels of education — primary, secondary and higher education institutions. 

The 2020 policy casts aside traditional modes of evaluation brought into being 34 years ago and paves the way forward with a more comprehensive and multidimensional approach to student assessments.

Here is a look at how the year-end report card will change and whether it will resemble the CBSE’s Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation progress card.  

What the National Educational Policy 2020 says:

The redesigned report cards will be “a holistic, 360-degree, multidimensional report that reflects in great detail the progress and the uniqueness of each learner in the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains”.

The progress report will include self-assessment, peer assessment and teacher assessment.

The draft policy states that a national assessment body — The Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development (PARAKH) — will be established. This centre will be responsible for setting standards, norms, and guidelines for the evaluation of students for all recognised school boards.

A CCE Report Card. Source

“Teachers [need] to be prepared for a transformation in the assessment system by the 2022-23 academic session,” states the new NEP 2020.

On the face of it, the guideline seems similar to the descriptive indicators that the CBSE had put in place a few years ago to evaluate the student’s overall performance in an academic year. 

What does it mean?

The system of comprehensive evaluation trained the teachers to keep anecdotal records based on periodic observation to be able to validate a student’s growth in co-scholastic areas. And the resulting grades and descriptive indicators are assigned on the strength of how well the child is able to perform a particular skill.

The students are graded on self-awareness, interpersonal relationships, problem-solving, dealing with stress and creative skills. The NEP 2020 is perhaps aiming to bring scholastic results within the same ambit of assessment.

Preeti Khattri, Principal Sheerwood College, Jhansi (UP), CBSE City Coordinator and District Coordinator of CBSE Training Unit tells The Better India (TBI), “The NEP represents a major breakthrough for our country. Where the prime focus of CCE was less burden on a child by continuous evaluation, this new policy focuses on the overall growth with educational liberty. It removes the parochial vision of Macaulay’s education policy. The main task of schools will be to educate parents to come out of the orthodox number race and understand real progress. Using AI Software, the parents will be able to make appropriate career choices for their ward.”

Preeti Khattri, Principal Sheerwood College, Jhansi (UP), CBSE City Coordinator and District Coordinator of CBSE Training Unit 

Throwing light on the kind of assessment cards we may expect under the NEP, she says, “The report cards will reflect the skills of students in an easy, simple and comprehensible manner.”

It can be safely said that the report cards will not be about numbers/grades anymore. The cards are now going to make way for progress books, with complete profiles of the students, their strengths and the areas where they have to work on. 

Talking about the extra efforts teachers have to put in while making such profiles, Rumana Parvez, Academic Coordinator of Sheerwood College, Jhansi, and an educator with more than 15 years of experience, says, “According to me, report cards are the most non-productive work done by a teacher. Digitising the lengthy process of making such comprehensive and detailed progress reports and working more on the syllabus of the students would be a better way to go. I personally feel that putting too much effort into something which will just serve as memory is not too practical.”

Raees-ul-Hasan, who has been an educator under the Madhya Pradesh State Board for the past 22 years and is also a state board examiner concurs, “The pattern of report card where long explanations are given can be very confusing to parents in smaller cities. They are used to reports with numbers. One has to think about that too. How will you explain that to parents?”

What do students who received the first CCE comprehensive progress report say?

Anuja Bose, who completed her tenth in 2009 from Kolkata, says, “My parents were a bit confused. Honestly, at first, it wasn’t very clear to them. I remember I had to explain the entire examination pattern and grading system to them.” 

Anuja who is currently pursuing her higher studies from Lincoln University, New Zealand, adds, “It was kind of complex to them. They were accustomed to simple marks and percentage.”

Oishi Bhattacharyya, who is currently working full time as a software developer for Locusnine Innovations is from the same batch as Anuja’s, tells TBI, “If a student’s performance on subjects is being evaluated, then numbers would be enough in report cards. No flowery details. But obviously there’s more to a child’s development than simple test scores. In those segments, I believe a more subjective explanation is better.”

Progress reports are an indication of a learner’s proficiency level for a particular academic year. Sadly, these cards are forgotten soon. Thus, the overhauling of the evaluation system and assessment parameters should be inclusive of all stakeholders who are directly involved in it — teachers who make them, parents who have to understand them and children who are being evaluated.

(Edited by Sruthi Radhakrishnan)

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