Higher education in India

Education is needed in every aspect of human life. The development and exchange speed is so high in the communication world that every individual and society attempts to adapt itself. The education nowadays has passed over its traditional methods and is moving towards the virtual and electronic learning. In this kind of education, the educational activities are taken via electronic tools.

Now the learning methods have changed, which is based on applying Educational CDs, the educational quality is very important. That is because the people who are exposed to this system are experiencing a new method instead of the traditional ways and they are expecting the same feedback. This method has brought up opportunities for those who are not able to take advantage of the traditional method.

Assessing the quality of education brings to the fore a number of issues. One issue that emerges when assessing any form of quality education is defining what counts as quality. Another issue involves who the quality is intended for – the users, audience or stakeholders? A further issue is the form of assessment used, who conducts the measurement and the assessment, and what the results are used for. Measuring education quality is complex and involves an understanding of the history of science, the development of information and web technologies, the increasing importance of the knowledge-based economy, the rise of global science, and the corresponding increasing imperative field by higher education institutions and governments to find ways of measuring and benchmarking education quality.

Institutions may implement schemes or evaluation mechanisms to identify and promote good teaching practices. The institutional environment of higher education institutions can also lead to enhancement of quality of the teaching in higher education through various means. Higher education is becoming a major driver of economic competitiveness in an increasingly knowledge-driven global economy. The imperative for countries to improve employment skills calls for quality teaching within educational institutions.

Institutions want to be recognized as providers of good quality higher education. They understand that competing on the basis of research only is not sufficient to ensure the reputation of the university. As such, they want to find new ways of demonstrating performance. They respond to students demand for valuable teaching: students want to ensure that their education will lead to jobs and will give them the skills needed in the society of today and tomorrow. Mobility of students and growth of fees increase the consideration given by students to the quality of the teaching.

Assessment is a central element in the overall quality of teaching and learning in higher education. Well-designed assessment sets clear expectations, establishes a reasonable workload and provides opportunities for students to self-monitor, rehearse, practice and receive feedback. Assessment is an integral component of a coherent educational experience.

The relationship between assessment practices and the overall quality of teaching and learning is often underestimated, yet assessment requirements and the clarity of assessment criteria and standards significantly influence the effectiveness of student learning. Carefully designed assessment contributes directly to the way students approach their study and therefore contributes indirectly, but powerfully, to the quality of their learning.

Higher Education

Higher education is an educational level which is offered after school education (primary, secondary and senior secondary). Higher education consists of education which is offered at colleges, universities, institute of technology, vocational institutes, career colleges etc. Higher education compromises of teaching, social involvement of universities, research works and many others. A large number of institutes offer higher education courses at different levels and subjects. Higher education degree is offered after one to five or ten years of study at different educational institutes in India.

The structure of higher education in India follows three main levels. These levels are bachelor/undergraduate level, master/postgraduate level, and doctoral/pre-doctoral level. All higher education courses are offered in various subjects. Bachelor Degree courses in all areas are offered to those students who have passed 12th level exam from a recognized board or university and three to five years of education. Master Degree or post graduate degree courses are usually two years of education except for some professional courses. Master Degree courses are offered to those students who qualified Bachelor Degree or undergraduate courses. Pre-doctoral course M.Phil (Master of Philosophy) is offered to master degree holders. M.Phil is mainly research based course & lasts for one year. Doctoral Degree (PhD) is three years of study after Master degree and two years of study after M.Phil.

Figure 4.1 Structure of higher education in India

Higher education Courses in India

• ANM (Auxiliary Nurse Midwife)

• B Com (Bachelor of Commerce)

• B Ed (Bachelor of Education)

• B Sc (Bachelor of Science)

• B Sc (Nursing)

• B Tech (Bachelor of Technology)

• B. Pharm (Bachelor of Pharmacy)

• B.Arch (Bachelor of Architecture)

• BE (Bachelor of Engineering)

• BA (Bachelor of Arts)

• BA LLB (Bachelor of Law)

• BAMS (Bachelor of Ayurvedic Medicine)

• BBA (Bachelor of Business Administration)

• BCA (Bachelor of Computer Applications)

• BDS (Bachelor of Dental Surgery)

• BHM (Bachelor’s of Hotel Management)

• BHMS (Bachelor of Homoeopathic Medicine and Surgery)

• D Ed (Diploma in Education)

• D. Pharm (Diploma in Pharmacy)

• GNM (General Nursing & Midwifery)

• JBT (Junior Basic Training)

• LLB (Bachelor of Laws)

• LLM (Master of Laws)

• M A (Master of Arts)

• M Com (Master of Commerce)

• M Ed (Master of Education)

• M Sc (Master of Science)

• M Tech (Master of Technology)

• M. Pharm (Master of Pharmacy)

• MBA (Master of Business Administration)

• MBBS (Bachelor of Medicine & Bachelor of Surgery)

• MCA (Master of Computer Applications)

• MD (Doctor of Medicine)

• MDS (Master of Dental Surgery)

• ME (Master of Engineering)

• MS (Master of Surgery)

• NTT (Nursery Teacher Training)

• PG Diploma in Medicine

• PGDM (Post Graduate Diploma in Management)

• M.Phil (Master of Philosophy)

• Ph.D. (Doctoral Degree)

Higher education means different things to different people in a society full of diversity, opinions and ideologies. Different views from different people are expected. What is higher in higher education? We should ask ourselves when we discuss and learn more about quality in higher education, we will agree as a teacher of higher education that it is not just about the higher level of educational structure in the country. Higher education in terms of the level includes teaching learning of college and university by which students attain higher educational qualification. Higher education gives in depth understanding and knowledge so as to make students move towards new boundaries of knowledge in different walks of life. It is about gaining more and more knowledge which develops the ability in student to question and find truth and makes them able to judge on existing issues. It not only makes the intellectual powers of the individual wider within a narrow specialization but also gives them a broader perspective of the world around. There are four predominant concepts of higher education according to Ronald Barnett (1992):

• Higher education as the production of qualified human resources. Higher education in this view, can be considered as a process in which the students are considered as “products” absorbed in the labor market. Thus, higher education is input to the development and growth of industry and business.

• Higher education as training for a research career. Higher education in this view making of qualified researchers and scientists who would keep on developing the knowledge frontiers. Within this viewpoint quality is more about transmission of the academic rigor and research publications to do quality research.

• Higher education as the efficient management of teaching provision. It is strongly believed that teaching is the main activity of educational institutions. Efficient management of teaching learning provisions by enabling a higher completion rate among the students, improving the quality of teaching, is the focus of higher education institutions.

• Higher education as a matter of extending life chances. Higher education in this view is considered as an opportunity to participate in the development process of the individual through a flexible, continuing education mode.

All these four concepts of higher education are integrated and give an overall picture of what is higher in higher education. We will realize that research, extension and teaching form the three main functions of higher education, after looking at the activities of colleges and universities.

Higher Education role in the Society

It is understood that higher education covers teaching, research and extension. We can list the various roles of higher education in the society if we critically analyze the different concepts of higher education. Higher education supplies the needed human resources in teaching, research, management, planning and design. Economic growth and scientific and technological advancement of a country are dependent on the higher education system. By our world class higher education infrastructure it is possible to develop indigenous technology and capabilities in food security, agriculture and other industrial areas. Higher education allows people to upgrade their skills and knowledge from time to time based on the societal needs and also provides opportunities for lifelong learning.

Following is the list of the roles of the universities or higher education institutions in the modern society by the Kothari Commission (1966).

• To find and grow new knowledge, to engage fearlessly and vigorously in search of truth, and to translate old beliefs and knowledge in the light of new discoveries and needs.

• To find gifted student and help them to develop their potential by improving their physical fitness, to give the right kind of leadership in all walks of life, to develop mind powers and grow right attitudes, moral and interests as well as intellectual values.

• To give the society men and women, having ability in arts, medicine, science, technology and agriculture and various other professions;

• To reduce cultural and social differences by spreading education, and to try to promote social justice and quality;

• To make teachers and the society to take care of students, the values and attitudes required to develop the life of society and individuals.

The report in the 21st Century on education titled “Learning: The Treasure Within” of the UNESCO International Commission which is popularly known as Delors Commission, gave stress on four pillars of education viz. learning to do, learning to be, learning to live together, learning to know. The following specific functions are highlighted in the report of higher education.

• To make students ready for teaching and research

• To give specialized training courses required for social and economic life.

• To serve many aspects of lifelong education in the widest sense to all;

• Through free movement of scientific ideas and persons and internationalization of networking, research, technology, promote international cooperation.

Quality Assurance

Different quality assurance (QA) agencies have different definitions of quality and methodologies they use to assess quality. The meaning and assumptions they give to the quality and quality assurance policies is different. Due to this the methodologies also vary which they use for quality assessment. Some QA agencies look into the ways in which higher education institutions fulfill the objectives they aim to achieve and follow the fitness for purpose definition of quality. In this approach more attention is given on the objectives and goals of higher education institutions and the diversity of institution. Some quality assurance agencies give importance to predetermined sets of standards for the higher education institutions. The focus is compliance to norms.

Some QA agencies aim to check only the minimum requirements for a particular status. Some quality assurance agencies on the other hand, set standards of high quality. In these cases, not just fulfillment of minimum requirements but the frame of reference for assessment is excellence.

By identifying the processes and practices required in quality systems, some quality assurance agencies set standards for quality and then use these as benchmarks for relative judgment. Some QA agencies identify indicators by which systems performance can be measured and in these approaches, the terms indicator of quality and performance indicator are used interchangeably as standards and benchmarks. To refer to different measures, the same term indeed can be used by different bodies. Even having strong internal quality assurance mechanisms, well developed systems depends more on the benchmarks and indicators that higher education institutions set for themselves than on externally set ones. Peer assessment and improvement towards higher levels of performance are central to the quality assurance framework, in those systems. There is a mix of self-improvement and accountability concerns for higher education institutions in emerging systems, quality assurance agencies use both peer review and quantitative indicators carefully.

QA unit can also change. Some quality assurance agencies follow the program approach, others follow the institutional approach. QA must necessarily cover aspects such as students, academic staff, academic programs, internal quality control, research, outreach, organization, management and infrastructure, although the unit of QA might change. For example, the program accreditation of Indonesia‘s National Accreditation Board for Higher Education (BAN-PT); the regional accreditors‘ standards in the United States of America (USA); and the institutional accreditation of the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC) of India all of these cover the above-mentioned areas. The difference lies in the extent and focus of reliance on peer assessment vs. quantitative indicators, as well as in the level of detail the agencies look for.

The judgment of higher education practitioners or the need for quality assurance to use peer assessment is well known. Even of approaches that rely more on quantitative norms and indicators this is true.

Quality in Teaching

We may be having this question in our mind as principals, heads of departments, teachers and policy makers and planners in education that why we should worry about quality? Everyone should be conscious of why we should worry about quality of our institutions, programs and teaching and rather quality should be a bottom-up approach and not just because of the UGC directive that you should think of quality. The reasons to think about quality are:

• Competition: Competition between educational institutions for funds and students will be very important. With the GATS (Global Agreement on Trade in Services) and globalization the increased competition will seize the educational environment. In such a situation, to survive educational institutions will have to worry about their quality.

• Customer satisfaction: The customers of the educational institutions such as parents, sponsoring agencies or students, are now highly conscious of their rights or getting value for their time spent and money. Customers are now demanding for receiving employable skill sets and good quality teaching; due to which now we should be constantly worry about the relevance of our courses as per the requirement of the market.

• Maintaining standards: We as educational institutions are always concerned about setting our own standard and maintaining it continuously every year. Institutions should consciously make efforts to improve quality of the educational facilities and provisions as well as educational transactions.

• Accountability: In terms of the funds (public or private) used on institution, every institution is accountable to its stakeholders. . Concern for quality will inform the stakeholders about taking appropriate decisions and ensure accountability of the funds utilized. Thus we can consider quality as a mechanism of monitoring.

• Improve employee motivation and morale: The motivation and morale of the staff in performing their responsibilities and duties will be improved by our concern for quality as an institution. The internal processes would be systematic helping in developing internal customer satisfaction and making every department complementing each other’s service domain leading to high motivation and morale, if a quality system in in use.

• Prestige, status and Credibility: It will bring in credibility to out institution and individuals if we are concerned about quality, because of consistency leading to prestige, status and brand value.

• Visibility and image: If we maintain quality in our institution we can get merited students from far and near, can have good donations or grants from funding agencies and have employer interest for easy placement of graduate students.

Assessment

The term ‘assessment’ comes from Latin ‘ad sedere’, which means to sit down beside. Thus according to them assessment ‘is primarily concerned with providing guidance and feedback to the learner’. We take a position that this is indeed the main function of assessment. But the original use of this word was quite different. According to The New Shorter Oxford English Dictionary and Chambers Dictionary the sense of ’sit down beside’ derives from the word’s use by the legal profession, meaning to sit down beside judges in a court (Freeman and Lewis 1997). Some five or six hundred years ago, an assessor was a person who advised a judge or magistrate on technical points (compare the word ‘assize’) and these technical points seem largely to have related to fines or taxes. Indeed, the word is till used in relation to income tax (a tax assessment) and various kinds of insurance (assessment of loss).

The main meanings of ‘assess’ have been to

• Fix the amount of tax or fine

• Impose a tax or fine on a person or community

• Estimate the value (property, income and so on) for taxation

• Estimate the worth or extent of, judge or evaluate

The last meaning is closest to the one that is used in education – a meaning associated with the word only since the middle of the twentieth century.

Assessment is formally defined as a measure of performance. In measurable terms, knowledge, skills, attitudes and beliefs, usually educational assessment is the process of documenting. Assessment is a mechanism for providing instructors with data for improving their teaching methods and for guiding and motivating students to be actively involved in their own learning. As such, assessment provides important feedback to both instructors and students. Assessment gives us essential information about what our students are learning and about the extent to which we are meeting our teaching goals. But the true power of assessment comes in using it to give feedback to students. Improving the quality of learning in a course involves not just determining to what extent students have mastered course content at the end of the course; also involves determining to what extent students are mastering content throughout the course. Thus, in addition to providing the instructors with valuable information about our students\’ learning, assessment should assist the students in diagnosing their own learning. That is, assessment should help students “become more effective, self-assessing, self-directed learners.”

There is considerable evidence showing that assessment drives student learning. More than anything else, our assessment tools tell students what we consider to be important. They will learn what we guide them to learn through our assessments. Traditional testing methods have been limited measures of student learning, and equally important, of limited value for guiding student learning. These methods are often inconsistent with the increasing emphasis being placed on the ability of students to think analytically, to understand and communicate at both detailed and “big picture” levels, and to acquire life-long skills that permit continuous adaptation to workplaces that are in constant flux. Moreover, because assessment is in many respects the glue that links the components of a course – its content, instructional methods, and skills development – changes in the structure of a course require coordinated changes in assessment.

Evidence of the extent of students’ learning come their behavior, as used in its broadest sense. The students’ behavior may be specific to a course or more general, or it may encompass a wide range of activities like oral written and practical. What is assessed may be focused on a product (a report, a solution, a software program, physical unit produced), on the process by which a product is created or process alone; or any combination of these. These constitute evidence, in present day parlance, on which judgment may be based.

We can assess only a sample of the behavior as it is impractical to do otherwise. In a course on differential equations it is not possible to set questions on every possible combination of parameters and terms. Given such a practical constraint, we need to sample behavior that is representative of the required performance. The sample should be of sufficient size in order make proper judgment.

When we assess, we make inferences about students’ current and future performance. One type of inference is evaluation, which is an interpretation of assessment in terms of marks, grades (A, B, C etc.) or qualities (very good, good, fair, poor etc.). We use the word test to mean any procedure used to assess the performance described in the objectives.

Assessment is the process of measuring some aspect of a candidate. Assessment is carried out using ‘tests’ and the term Assessment is treated as being equivalent to an ‘Assessment Test’.

An Assessment Test is an organized collection of items that are used to determine the values of the outcomes (e.g., level of mastery) when measuring the performance of a candidate in a particular domain. An Assessment test contains all of the necessary instructions to enable the sequencing of the items and the calculation of the outcome values (e.g., the final test score).

Item is the smallest exchangeable assessment object within. An item is more than a \’Question\’ in that it contains the question and instructions to be presented, the ‘response processing’ to be applied to the candidates response(s) and the Feedback that may be presented.

Reasons for Assessing

Many different purposes underlie assessment, which in practice overlap. The purposes of assessment are selection, certification, describing, aiding learning and improving teaching. Assessment helps in selection, for example when choosing students for a further course or for employment. Assessment in this context is used for prediction, for instance which students will be able to benefit from further study or how the individuals might perform in employment. This is seen mostly in examinations like JEE, CET, GATE and CAT, and in tests associated with campus recruitment. Selection can help the learner make a choice about his career. Selection has historically been linked to the ranking of students and, thus, as presented in a later section, with “norm referenced assessment”. Assessment in this form has been a means of positioning students in order of merit or achievement.

Certification indicates conforming that a student has reached a particular standard. This may be in the form of simple “pass” or “fail” (as the driving test) or “competent” or ‘not yet competent”. Assessment in these and similar circumstances certifies that a particular level of performance has been achieved.

Sometimes the outcome of assessment is a simple statement – a certificate, grade, mark. There is move, in recent times, towards describing what a student has learned or can do in greater detail. This can be done in the form of a profile.

Assessment can be used for learning, serving a very important purpose. Assessment can stimulate learning in many different ways:

1. Prompting or otherwise motivating students.

2. Giving students practice so they can see how well they are achieving learning outcomes.

3. Following the practice with feedback to help students diagnose their strengths and areas that need to improve.

4. Providing information that helps students plan what to do next.

5. Helping students and others concerned with their learning, to track progress.

Assessment information can help a teacher to review the effectiveness of all instructional arrangements. If students regularly find the assignments difficult, it might suggest to the teacher that it is too demanding and he needs to change the instructional methods, revise the competencies, or help the students gain some relevant technical skills. Assessment results can also inform wider institutional decisions regarding which units/modules should be continued to be offered and which staff to recruit.

Modes of Assessment

There are several dimensions or “modes” of assessment. Assessment is often divided for the sake of convenience using the following distinctions:

1. Formative and summative

2. Objective and subjective

3. Referencing (criterion-referenced, norm-referenced, and ipsative)

4. Informal and formal

5. Assessment of product and process

In each mode, it can be seen as operating on a continuum with two extremes, but with most practice operating somewhere in between.

• Summative and formative: For the purpose of considering different objectives for assessment practices, assessment if often divided into two categories summative and formative.

• Summative assessment is reporting learning outcomes to administrators, parents and students and measuring outcomes. It generally occurs at the conclusion of academic year, semester, course or a class, in an educational setting. Summative assessments are used to assign students a course grade in the context of a course. It is also referred to as “assessment of learning” in a learning context.

• Performance-based assessment as it focuses on achievement is similar to summative assessment. A well-defined task is identified and students are asked to create, produce, or do something, often in settings that involve real-world application of knowledge and skills. Proficiency is demonstrated by providing an extended response. Performance formats are further differentiated into products and performances. The performance may result in a product, such as a painting, portfolio, paper, or exhibition, or it may consist of a performance, such as a speech, athletic skill, musical recital, or reading.

• Formative assessment generally is carried out throughout a project or course. In an educational setting, to consider approaches to teaching and next steps for the class and individual learners, formative assessment is used by teachers, and would not necessarily be used for grading purposes. Formative assessment also referred to as “educative assessment” or “assessment for learning” is used to aid learning. Assessment for learning is defined as “all those activities undertaken by teachers and/or students, which provide information to be used as feedback to modify the teaching and learning activities in which they are engaged”. The key features of assessment for learning are:

• High quality interactions: Classroom assessment involves high quality interactions, based on thoughtful questions, careful listening and reflective responses;

• Involving students in their learning: Students and instructors are fully involved in deciding next steps in their learning and identifying who can help.

• Feedback: Students and instructors are given timely feedback about the quality of their work and how to make it better.

• Sharing criteria: Students and instructors are clear about what is learned and what success would be like.

“Diagnostic assessment” is a common form of formative assessment. For the purpose of identifying a suitable program of learning, it measures a student\’s current knowledge and skills. A form of diagnostic assessment is “Self-assessment” which involves students assessing themselves. The assessment which asks to consider themselves in hypothetical future situations to those being assessed is a “Forward-looking assessment”.

• Subjective and objective: Assessment which is either summative or formative is often categorized into subjective or objective. Subjective assessment is a form of questioning which may have more than one correct answer. Objective assessment is a form of questioning which has a single correct answer. Different types of subjective and objective questions are there. In objective, question types include multiple choices, matching questions, multiple response and true/false answers. Whereas subjective question types include essays, creating plans, extended response questions, hypothesizing etc. Objective assessment is well suited to the increasingly popular computerized or online assessment format.

Some have argued that the distinction between objective and subjective assessments is neither useful nor accurate because, in reality, there is no such thing as “objective” assessment. In fact, all assessments are created with inherent biases built into decisions about relevant subject matter and content, as well as cultural biases.

• Referencing: Test results can be compared against an established criterion, or against the performance of other students, or against previous performance. Criterion-referenced assessment, typically using a criterion-referenced test, as the name implies, occurs when candidates are measured against defined (and objective) criteria. Criterion-referenced assessment is often, but not always, used to establish a person’s competence (whether s/he can do something). The best known example of criterion-referenced assessment is the driving test, when learner drivers are measured against a range of explicit criteria (such as “Not endangering other road users”).

• Norm-referenced assessment (colloquially known as “grading on the curve”), typically using a norm-referenced test, is not measured against defined criteria. This type of assessment is relative to the student body undertaking the assessment. It is most appropriate when one wishes to make comparisons across large numbers of students or important decisions regarding student placement and advancement. Norm-referenced measures are designed to compare students (i.e., disperse average student scores along a bell curve, with some students performing very well, most performing average, and a few performing poorly). The IQ test is the best known example of norm-referenced assessment. Many entrance tests such as CET, GATE, CAT, SAT and GRE are permitting a fixed proportion of students to pass and are norm-referenced. This means that depending on the quality of the group, standards may vary from year to year; unless the criteria change criterion referenced assessment does not vary from year to year.

• Ipsative assessment is self-comparison either comparative to other domains within the same student, or in the same domain over time.

• Formal and Informal: Assessment can be either informal or formal. Formal assessment usually involves a written document, such as a paper, test, or quiz. An informal assessment does not contribute to a student’s final grade, whereas a formal assessment is given a numerical grade or score based on student performance. An informal assessment may include inventories, observation, rating scales, checklists, performance and portfolio assessments, peer and self-evaluation, participation, discussion, and rubrics and usually conducted in a more casual manner.

• External and Internal: External assessment is marked by non-biased personnel and is set by the governing body. Students only receive a mark with external assessment, due to which they have no idea how they actually performed or what questions they wrote correctly. Internal assessment is marked and set by the teachers in institution. Feedback regarding the assessment and mark are given to the students.

• Assessment of product and process: Assessment usually focuses on an end product, such as an essay, a case study, solution to clearly stated problem etc. Sometimes, however, there may be no product to assess or the process itself may be object of assessment, such as the way an engineer establishes the needs of customer for a service or software. In some cases, the product may not tell us all we need to know. For example, a student’s lab report (a product) may seem excellent, yet the student ‘may have taken three times as long as the rest, set fire to the bench, fiddled results, and be incapable of undertaking the procedure un supervised. Assessing process also enables both the teacher and student to monitor the quality of learning and to take action as necessary, thus helping students develop more effective approaches to learning. Brown et. al. (1994) offered some useful suggestions on how a teacher can extend the assessment of products so that they also offer means of assessment of the processes that have produced them. Consider the following table.

From assessment of products to assessment of products and processes

Products Products and Processes.

Lab report Instant lab report, written at the time, marked before the student leaves the lab, quick feedback.

Essay Two stage assignment: first, an outline for formative comment; annotated reading list; a viva on process – how the student tackled writing the essay.

Project Supervision meetings to explore the group’s processes

Exam Learning journal of how the student prepared for the exam.

Work placement report Journal discussing critical incidents during the placement.

Team report Observation of the team in action (not necessarily by the tutor); self-report (by individuals or the group); minutes of meeting.

The discussion of modes has established the following being necessary for good practice:

• Clarity of purpose (what is each assessment seeking to achieve?).

• Clarity of expected student outcomes (what student behavior are you looking for?).

• Clarity and appropriateness of assessment methods, instruments and sources

• Availability of guidance for students and tutors (for example, on criteria and procedures).

Standards and Quality

Assessments with a high level of validity and reliability are in general considered as high quality assessments. However, approaches to validity and reliability vary.

Reliability: The consistency of an assessment is the reliability. Assessment which consistently achieves the same results with the same group of students is a reliable assessment. Various factors including too many options within a question paper, ambiguous questions, poorly trained markers and vague marking instructions, affect reliability. The reliability of an assessment traditionally is based on the following:

• Temporal stability: On two or more separate occasions performance on a test is comparable.

• Form equivalence: On different forms of a test based on the same content performance among examinees is equivalent.

• Internal consistency: Across questions responses on a test are consistent.

Validity: An assessment which measures what it is intended to measure is a valid assessment. For example, it would not be valid to assess ability to design a circuit through asking the student to explain the theory of devices used in the circuit. As per the report by Entwistle and Percy (1973), when teachers were asked about the aims of higher education, there was surprising agreement that it existed to promote higher order intellectual activity and outcomes, such as critical or creative thinking and conceptual understanding. However, when the accompanying assessment was scrutinized, this seemed to require merely the detailed and accurate reproduction of course content. The gap between the stated aims and the assessment is the result of assessment not being valid, that is, the assessment is not in alignment with the stated aims. There are several links in the assessment chain (Freeman and Lewis 1998).

• The outcome must be defined and worth achieving (curriculum validity).

• The assessment must seem credible to students and other stakeholders (face validity).

• The performance assessed must be acceptable measure of outcome (valid in the sense of being typical and indicative).

• The assessment must reflect the content and balance of the teaching and learning, not going beyond this –it would not be valid to assess students for example, by having them make an oral presentation if they had not had chance to use this method during the course (content validity).

• The method used must be an appropriate way of assessing the performance.

Most of the discussions about validity till now relate to students’ past performance (retrospective validity). Used widely in education, it may also be called “subject-matter” validity, which predicts the score a student would get on a similar test but with different questions. “Predictive validity” is used widely to select students for future opportunities, such as courses or careers. Generally, performance assessments have higher predictive validity than do paper and pencil tests. It should be noted that retrospective validity is a prior necessity for predictive validity.

Some of the guidelines can be followed to improve the validity of assessment

• Assess important rather than trivial outcomes, even if these are harder to assess.

• Create interesting assessment opportunities that motivate students to give their best.

• Explain why you are assessing and what you are assessing so students are likely to find the experience credible and worthwhile.

• Use appropriate assessment methods, even if this means that there is a greater level of challenge in devising them.

• Assess what you have actually covered in the curriculum.

An assessment with both reliability and validity is a good assessment. In practice, an assessment is rarely totally valid or totally reliable. The less certain we are that we are actually measuring that aspect of attainment, the more reliable is our estimate of what we purport to measure. The dominance of the selection purpose of assessment has meant that more attention has been paid to reliability than validity. Yet in most circumstances, validity is more important of the two. It is sometimes tempting to sacrifice validity for reliability, concentrating only on what we can most easily or consistently measure.

Assessment is a process of determining “what is.” Assessment provides faculty members, administrators, trustees, and others with evidence, numerical or otherwise, from which they can develop useful information about their students, institutions, programs, and courses and also about themselves. This information can help them make effectual decisions about student learning and development, professional effectiveness, and program quality. Evaluation uses information based on the credible evidence generated through assessment to make judgments of relative value: the acceptability of the conditions described through assessment.

The statement “If you don\’t have any goals, you don\’t have anything to assess” expresses the close relationship between goals and effective assessment. It is goal achievement that effective assessment is generally designed to detect. An effective assessment program helps a college\’s or university\’s administrators and faculty members understand the outcomes – the results – their efforts are producing and the specific ways in which these efforts are having their effects.

Conclusion

Education is the basic requirement in every aspect of human life. Higher education has become one of the major drivers of economy of the country. To improve employment skills it is necessary that every student should get a good quality education. Every student has right to demand for valuable and quality teaching which ensures that their education will lead to jobs and will give them the skills required in today’s society. Due to the growth in the fees every student is expecting a good quality of teaching.

To fulfill the students demand for quality education it becomes very necessary to have assessment of quality of teaching on regular basis. A well designed assessment method should be implemented. Carefully designed assessment method can control the quality of the institution

Source: Essay UK - http://www.essay.uk.com/essays/education/higher-education-india/


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