6 Ways Examination Reforms are Changing Indian Schools | Varthana

6 Ways Examination and Assessment Reforms are Changing Indian Schools

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While we all understand the crucial role education plays in shaping our lives, the Indian education system has faced significant challenges. The Indian government and institutions have been working to reform the existing education model. However, there are still several issues that need to be addressed, including rote learning, evaluation and examination systems, equal respect for all subjects, better training for educators, introduction of technology, personalized education, and teaching the purpose of education, as highlighted by India Today Web Desk.

Examination Reforms in India

National Education Policy (NEP) 2020:

  • Holistic Assessment: Emphasizes a shift from rote learning to conceptual understanding. Exams will assess higher-order skills such as analysis, critical thinking, and conceptual clarity.
  • Board Exam Reforms: Proposes modular board exams with two opportunities per year to reduce pressure.
  • School Exams: Annual exams only in classes 3, 5, and 8, focusing on foundational literacy and numeracy.

What are Examination and Assessment Reforms?

Among the aforementioned issues, examinations and student assessments play a vital role in determining the quality of education. They should not only assess students’ achievements and grades but also measure whether the desired learning outcomes have been achieved. As a result, reforms in the Indian education and assessment system have been considered in the NEP 2020.


Features of Examination and Assessment in NEP 2020

The examination and assessment reforms in Indian schools aim to make the education system more comprehensive, equitable, and reduce stress among students. These reforms change the way students are evaluated and measured for progress.

The features of examination and assessment considered for reforms by NEP 2020 are:

  • Regular, formative, and competency-based assessments
  • Promotion of learning and development of students
  • Focus on assessment for learning
  • Testing higher-order skills such as analysis, critical thinking, and conceptual clarity
  • Assistance in revising continuous teaching-learning processes to optimize learning throughout the schooling system
  • Establishment of a new National Assessment Centre called PARAKH (Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development)

Also read: How This School Leader is Promoting Quality Education in a Challenging Locale

Importance of Examination and Assessment Reforms?

– Reduces Stress: Moves focus from rote memorisation to conceptual understanding, easing student anxiety.

– Promotes Holistic Development: Evaluates overall student growth, including critical thinking and practical skills.

– Encourages Inclusivity: Adapts to diverse learning needs, supporting all students.

– Provides Constructive Feedback: Offers valuable insights for students and teachers to improve learning outcomes.

– Aligns with Global Standards: Prepares students for international academic and professional environments.

– Enhances Competitiveness: Provides students with the necessary skills for higher education and the workforce.

– Promotes Continuous Learning: Encourages regular study habits and lifelong learning.

How Examination Reforms are Changing Traditional Schooling?

Six ways in which examination and assessment reforms are changing Indian schools:

1. Multiple board exams:

The National Education Policy, 2020 has introduced the provision of conducting board exams twice a year. This enables students to improve their performance and reduces the stress of a single-year-end examination.

2. Reduction in curriculum and elimination of rote learning:

The Policy proposes a reduction in the content and load of the school curriculum and emphasizes the elimination and reduction of rote learning. The curriculum is being restructured to allow for more hands-on project-based learning and the development of critical thinking skills.

3. Competency-based learning:

The focus has shifted from marks-based learning to competency-based learning. There is an emphasis on interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary learning, encouraging students to develop a diverse range of skills and apply them creatively.

4. Emphasis on 21st-century skills:

The NEP highlights the importance of practical learning, with a greater emphasis on experiential and hands-on learning, rather than solely relying on theoretical knowledge.

5. Formative and summative assessment:

Schools are adopting a system of both formative and summative assessments, which enable continuous monitoring and evaluation of students’ progress.

Also read: What school leaders can do to change academic outcomes for kids?

6. Technology-based assessments:

There is an increasing use of technology-based assessments such as online testing, e-portfolios, and adaptive testing. These methods make the assessment process more efficient and accurate:

Change in the Nature of Progress Cards

The progress card will undergo a transformation to become a holistic, comprehensive report that captures the individuality of each learner in various domains such as cognitive, emotional, and psychomotor. It will encompass not only teacher evaluation but also the child’s progress in project- and inquiry-based learning, peer and self-assessments, quizzes, role plays, group projects, portfolios, and more. To actively involve parents in their children’s educational journey, parent-teacher conferences will also supplement the progress card.

National Assessment Centre, PARAKH

PARAKH, known as the Performance Assessment, Review, and Analysis of Knowledge for Holistic Development, has been established as a standard-setting body under the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD). Its objectives include:

  • Defining assessment standards, rules, and norms for students
  • Overseeing the State Achievement Survey (SAS) and conducting the National Achievement Survey (NAS)
  • Tracking the country’s progress towards educational goals
  • Facilitating and supporting school boards in aligning their assessment practices with NEP 2020

Additionally, PARAKH will provide guidance to school boards based on the latest research findings and evaluation trends, as well as foster collaboration among the boards.


Overall, these examination and assessment reforms in Indian schools aim to foster a holistic approach to education, equipping students with a diverse range of skills and practical knowledge to tackle the challenges of the modern world. The reforms will enable students to acquire a broad set of skills, knowledge, and competencies, empowering them for success and fulfillment in their lives.

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1. What changes have been made to the assessment and examination system under the NEP?

Under the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, important changes include introducing holistic assessments focusing on conceptual understanding and critical thinking. Board exams are now modular with two annual opportunities, reducing pressure. School exams occur only in classes 3, 5, and 8 to emphasise foundational learning. Additionally, the policy encourages formative assessments, competency-based learning, and the use of technology in evaluations.

2. What are examination reforms in education?

Examination reforms in education refer to changes in assessment practices to improve how students’ knowledge and skills are evaluated. These reforms focus on reducing stress, encouraging critical thinking, and promoting holistic development. They include methods like continuous assessment, competency-based evaluation, and integrating technology, aiming to create a more effective, inclusive, and comprehensive education system.

3. What are the changes in the school system in India?

Recent changes in India’s school system include implementing the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, which emphasises foundational literacy and numeracy, holistic and multidisciplinary education, and vocational training from an early age. The policy introduces formative assessments, reduces high-stakes exams, and integrates technology in teaching and learning. It also promotes flexible curriculums, experiential learning, and inclusive education to cater to diverse student needs.

4. What are the education reforms in India?

India has embarked on significant education reforms with the National Education Policy 2020, aiming to transform the country into a global knowledge superpower. The policy introduces a new school structure, focusing on foundational literacy and numeracy. It also includes a shift in school management, a new accreditation framework, and the introduction of vocational education from Class 6. These reforms are designed to address challenges such as inadequate infrastructure and low government expenditure on education, aiming to align India’s education system with global standards.

5. What is the new education policy 2024?

The National Education Policy 2024 focuses towards transforming India’s education system. By prioritising foundational literacy, flexible curriculum, vocational education, and technology integration, it seeks to make education more holistic, inclusive, appropriate and relevant to the demands of the 21st century. It is expected that the implementation of NEP 2024 will not only enhance the quality of education but also place India as a global power of knowledge.

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