Performance of Indian students in NAS: Implications for Quality Improvement

Performance of Indian students in NAS: Implications for Quality Improvement

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Adapting Education: Challenges and Transformations in the Wake of the 2020 National Education Policy and COVID-19

The 2020 National Education Policy stresses the importance of education in realizing human potential, promoting national development, and creating a just society. To achieve these objectives, several initiatives and laws, such as the Right of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act of 2009 and the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan of 2001, have been introduced with access, retention, and quality education as primary goals. However, due to the changing socio-economic context and the COVID-19 pandemic, these goals face various challenges.

The pandemic has disrupted education worldwide, causing a sudden shift to online learning that affects students’ daily routines, leading to a loss of contact with peers, and significantly reducing foundational abilities and curricular knowledge for over a year. Furthermore, this shift has added to the difficulties faced by female students due to gendered behaviors in household chores. The post-pandemic phase has left a lasting impression, necessitating a revision of the school curriculum and pedagogy. The focus has shifted from a teacher-centric approach to a student-centric practice, where teachers facilitate learning and students are seen as partners in the learning process, not just passive recipients of information.

Measuring students’ learning outcomes across India is essential, and the National Achievement Survey 2021 (NAS) plays a crucial role in doing so. The recently released NAS 2021 results indicate mixed performance across grades and subjects. While some areas have seen an improvement in learning outcomes, significant gaps still need addressing to ensure quality education for all students. This article examines the implications of the NAS 2021 results and highlights the areas that require immediate attention for quality improvement. It also delves into the broader context of the Indian education system and the need for systemic changes to enhance students’ learning outcomes.

What is NAS and How is it Helpful in Education?

The Ministry of Education, Government of India, released the NAS report on May 25, 2022, highlighting a significant learning gap among students in the country. The report provides insights into the learning competencies of students and the learning gap in subjects such as language, mathematics, environmental studies (EVS), sciences, social sciences, and English. The study found that as students progress to higher levels, from Class 3 to 5 and from Class 8 to 10, the average performance of students in these subjects decreases. The report also shows a slight dip in the NAS 2021 scores compared to NAS 2017, attributed to the COVID-19 pandemic and the shift from offline to online learning modes.

According to the report, most students found learning at home during the pandemic burdensome due to the heavy workload, but 45% found it enjoyable. Adopting participatory and activity-based teaching practices, such as brainstorming, role-play, and fun games, can provide avenues for better learning.

The report also discusses the importance of trained teachers and reveals that only 52% of teachers have participated in professional development programs. The study found that 65% of teachers were overloaded with work, and the parameters of job satisfaction for teachers need to be rethought. The report emphasizes effective communication between teachers and students to facilitate teaching-learning.

Additionally, the report examines the assessment practices used by teachers, revealing that the least utilized method was portfolio assessment. In contrast, the most frequently used techniques include involving students in individual answering, discussion, practicing reading individually, displaying students’ work, and students asking questions during class. However, there is a contradiction between teachers’ assessment practices and students’ performance scores.

The report assesses parents’ involvement in the learning process, with 87% of schools guiding parents in supporting their children’s learning. However, 25% of schools require parental support in students’ learning.

The report reveals gender-wise performance differences, with girls outperforming boys in most subjects. Regarding location-wise performance, the average achievement scores of schools in rural areas were significantly higher than those in urban areas in Class 3 subjects. Still, the achievement scores of schools in rural areas were significantly below that of schools in urban areas in higher classes. The report suggests that the education system needs to be revisited to address these findings.


It is essential to reflect on and update current practices to meet the present needs of the education system. In light of the National Achievement Survey (NAS) findings, proposed solutions that promote life skills education (LSE) should be adopted, which employs experiential learning methods to help students bridge the learning gap. LSE emphasizes developing students’ competencies to deal with everyday challenges and the four pillars of education, including learning to know, do, live, and be. A learning strategy that helps students internalize life values and apply them to their daily contexts is crucial.

Furthermore, the solutions focus on 21st-century skills such as communication, collaboration, individual learning approaches, individual autonomy, information and communications technology (ICT), and digital literacy. LSE offers an opportunity to achieve overall learning goals and personal well-being. Prioritizing the holistic development of students through activity-based learning and involving stakeholders such as teachers, parents, and community members in LSE-based interventions is necessary.

Gender equality and inclusion must be promoted by revising the curriculum books, rectifying differential treatment based on gender identity, and introducing equitable opportunities and challenges for all students.

The school system must develop measures beyond parent-teacher associations or school management committees to ensure parents’ involvement in their ward’s progress. Strengthening PTAs and implementing community-based interventions and awareness programs can be helpful.

School social work professionals can address emerging education-related challenges by providing expert advice and helping students deal with various issues and problems. Institutionalizing inclusive education for children with disabilities is necessary to ensure proper implementation. Accommodating vulnerable children, foster care, and sponsorship should be provided.


The National Achievement Survey 2021 provides valuable insights into the performance of Indian students and the challenges faced by the education system. By addressing these challenges and implementing practical solutions, India can improve the quality of education and ensure that every student has access to a high-quality learning experience

Read More: What is the achievement of student learning in Indian Schools ?


1. What is the role of National Achievement Survey (NAS) in the improvement of educational practices?

The National Achievement Survey (NAS) is crucial in enhancing educational practices by providing comprehensive data on student performance across various subjects and grade levels. This data informs policymakers, educators, and stakeholders about areas of strength and weakness in the education system, guiding targeted interventions and curriculum adjustments for improvement. Through NAS, educators can identify effective teaching methods and areas needing further attention, fostering continuous improvement in educational practices.

2. What is the importance of NAS exam?

The NAS exam holds significant importance as it comprehensively assesses student learning outcomes across various subjects and grade levels. By offering insights into the strengths and weaknesses of the education system, it informs policy decisions, curriculum development, and instructional strategies, ultimately fostering continuous improvement in educational quality and equity. Moreover, the NAS helps benchmark student performance nationally and internationally, enabling educators and policymakers to track progress over time and make data-driven decisions to enhance the overall quality of education.

3. Who introduced NAS in education?

The National Achievement Survey (NAS) in education was introduced by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) in India. It serves as a tool for assessing students’ learning outcomes across various subjects and grade levels, providing valuable insights into the effectiveness of educational practices and guiding policy decisions for improvement.

4.What is NAS for students?

The National Achievement Survey (NAS) is an evaluation tool to assess students’ proficiency and understanding of various subjects at different grade levels. It provides an opportunity for them to showcase their learning outcomes, identify areas of strength and weakness, and receive feedback on their academic performance. Additionally, NAS helps students understand the importance of standardized assessments in education and encourages them to improve their learning journey continuously.


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