Student Assessment Post COVID-19: What Can Be Done Quickly

Student Assessment Post COVID-19: What Can Be Done Quickly & At Scale

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COVID-19 Impact: Transforming Educational Assessments

With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the education industry was one of the most impacted industries; millions of students from all over the world could not learn in their usual classrooms.  Needless to say, large-scale educational assessment programs like the JEE or NEET also had to be suspended.

We have to acknowledge that the long‐lasting pandemic situation has an unparalleled sway on our education system. While online learning has evolved like never before, large-scale educational assessment programs need to adapt to this new scenario while ensuring the efficiency and effectiveness of the assessment process.

In different disciplines, professionals have conducted wide discussions about school teaching and education assessment, which not only focus on applying education information technologies, but also on reforming assessment theories, examination systems and evaluation techniques.

In the Indian context, it can be stated that the COVID-19 pandemic caused the most significant hindrance to the country’s progress in education and more specifically in the primary education sector, since the passing of the Right to Education Act in 2009.

According to UNESCO, school closures during the pandemic affected around 320 million children in India. The lack of adequate logistics and framework for conducting examinations remotely for students finishing their primary education has resulted in many students not officially completing their high school curriculum and losing time as they seek to pursue higher education.

A National Assessment survey, 2021 was conducted among students of more than one lakh in 720 districts which shows a  decline in the performance of students in all the subjects. According to an ASER report, 90% of children between grades 2-6 have lost at least one language ability and 80% have lost at least one math ability from the previous year.

These circumstances during the pandemic have highlighted the necessity to employ online assessment tools and techniques while eliminating their shortcomings. However, the country’s digital divide was a big blow for underserved students and to the affordable private schools where one out of four parents don’t have smartphones or proper internet access.

School closures during the pandemic affected around 320 million children in India

Also Read: Measures schools need to ensure children are engaged, connected, challenged and happy in classes

Challenges in Assessing Students’ Performance

Many modern education assessment theories and techniques are developed based on the education practices in western countries. However, education in India and other developing countries has its distinct characteristics.

How can students’ performance be accurately assessed? And how can personalized teaching resources be created based on the assessment? Since the schools have already opened  across India, few things need to be done on a large scale:

  • The first thing that needs to be done is a diagnostic assessment to assess a student’s skills like recalling, understanding and applying the learnt concepts. This will serve as the baseline data of the students.
  • Conduct criterion-referenced assessment to measure a student’s performance against a goal, specific objective or standard.
  • Focus on norm-referenced assessment to compare a student’s performance against other students. This will help teachers to identify students who require more support.
  • A blend of formative and summative assessments can be used to test the knowledge, approach, and mind-set of the students.
  • Aptitude assessment test to understand student’s psychological need and their interest in the educational process

These assessments should be different from the earlier ones as the students are back to school after two years. Assessing them with a high level of questioning may demotivate them from learning. These tests are to assess their learning level and not for ranking purposes.

The questions should be framed in such a way as to capture all the possible misconceptions that may occur in the given topic. Also, these should be in multiple choice question (MCQ) format rather than theory which can be assessed in less time and children also won’t feel the stress of attempting any exams.

Once the assessment is done, the teacher should take certain steps based on the evaluation:

  • Remediation should be implemented in the classroom after diagnosis is done. Proper remediation and reorientation of the curriculum could improve the learning gaps among the students.
  • From assessment analysis, an individual student development plan should be made to keep track of every student.
  • Preparing a quarterly/annual plan of action class-wise by considering the current resource and situation.
  • Techniques like adaptive tests, automatic scoring, and online result reporting may be implied for making teachers equipped with technology.
  • Teachers’ autonomy and agency should be considered while designing online assessment tools so that teachers can make adjustments based on the context.

Reopening of the schools after the pandemic has to work on multi-level to assess the level of the students. They need to capture multi aspects of students’ well-being, including socio-emotional needs, engagements, and conditions for learning.

The main reason to administer assessments is to better understand and address the learning gap among the students that have been made worse by the pandemic. A psychological assessment such as an aptitude test can also be done to check the psychological level of the child as students are coming back to school after a long time. If the child is not doing well in the assessments, the teacher with proper guidance and counselling can try to understand the reason and help to overcome any challenges. 


With the deceleration of the pandemic, schools and higher educational institutions have resumed their operations. These assessments will help us understand the impact of covid and the current situation in the schools.

Each child is different and has undergone a different experience through the pandemic. So,  assessing these students will give a clear picture of their current level which will help the teacher to channelize their efforts in the right direction.

Assessment in the long term will provide better learning opportunities for the students. Based on these assessments schools can opt for the right solutions/methodology like intensive bridge courses, remedial education and accelerated learning initiatives inside the classrooms and mitigate the impact caused by the pandemic.

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