“It requires teachers with special training to set question papers. While in school education, the examination pattern is somewhat systematic, it is not so in the case of higher education,” M. Balakumar, Head, National Testing Service-India, Central Institute of Indian Languages, Mysore, said here recently.
The National Testing Service – India (NTS-I), which is constituted under the Central Institute of Indian Languages, Ministry of Human Resource Development, was started in 2008 with a mission to cater to the evaluation requirements of the country for academic auditing, quality maintenance and substance.
Speaking at an orientation meeting of principals / heads of educational institutions affiliated to Bharathiar University at PSG College of Arts and Science, Mr. Balakumar enumerated the objectives behind setting up of NTS-I in 2008.
“It caters to the evaluation requirements of the country in terms of methods, material and manpower in the field of testing and evaluation in general, and language testing and evaluation in particular, taking into account the need and context of our country, and for ensuring quality evaluation in the education system,” he said.
“In almost every examination there is a problem in the setting of question paper or in evaluating them. Whether they are multiple choice questions or subjective questions, some of them turn out to be irrelevant in terms of construction. NTS is taking many steps to rectify this situation,” he added.
Enumerating the steps the organisation was taking, Mr. Balakumar said it was developing basic reference material in the field of testing and evaluation such as GFR – General Frame of Reference – to serve as framework for testing language and literature, and CCGS – Concept based Continuum of Graded Syllabi to compare the effectiveness of the syllabi in vogue in various institutions, besides other reforms.
Though there were three frameworks for testing students – aptitude, achievement, and proficiency – these did not test the real aptitude or proficiency. The organisation was preparing material on testing techniques and also evaluation.
It was functioning through its various Regional Field Units. PSG College of Arts and Science was one such unit which would aid the organisation in data collection, preparation of questions and their field testing, dissemination of findings of NTS, etc.
The field units would also conduct training programmes for faculty in testing and evaluating, the types of questions to be asked, setting the question paper and evaluating it.
G. James Pitchai, Vice-Chancellor of Bharathiar University, and R. Rajendran, Principal of the college, spoke.