West indian culture

One Kind of Capacity and Objectivity Legitimization: Our University Culture Needs Serious Reexamination

From Literature and Writing to Social Sciences, from CBSE class 10 to PG entries at top Indian universities such as DU and JNU and hence up to UGC NET level (an exam which aspiring lecturers must qualify for the post of assistant professor), there has been a systematic and constant attempt to bring about standardization, uniformity and homogeneity of assessment practices across various levels and disciplines of education. This is evident in the increasingly widespread practice of using multiple choice questions in school-level assessment as well as in higher education qualifying examinations where students are encouraged (or pushed) to develop strategies so that they can successfully identify that “one right answer”, that “one right answer”.

Problematize the dominant forms of academic evaluation

Objectivity and uniqueness in the arts and humanities disciplines may be a doomed notion that will undo what is unique and different in these two fields of study – that there is greater room for multiplicity, for diversity, for freedom in the way we approach and create original knowledge based on the free sharing and flow of ideas, and not just absorbing long-standing factual knowledge.

The immediate counterargument that comes here from skeptics (or cynics) is that multiple choice questions are now innovatively designed to test conceptual understanding and logical reasoning through affirmation-based questions and case studies. As analytical as the nature of such multiple choice questions may be, it is always counterproductive if it trains the minds of students to conform and submit to this established way of thinking, this deeply held code of conduct, to this normative enterprise of equating nonconformity with deviance and indiscipline. This is validated by the reality of the design of multiple choice questions in several exams where it is claimed that the questions are intended to test the critical reasoning and analytical thinking skills of the student, albeit on the basis of this only. correct to think rationally and logically.

What so far appears to be problem-focused discourse, cannot be resolved by subjective, question-based assessment, either if it runs the risk of being assessed through an ideologically biased lens or through an ideologically biased lens. lens of “expected conformity” to what the teacher or assessor wants to read. At school and college level, ironically in the humanities and literature realms, we are trained to write responses which, as they say, “the teacher / examiner expects you to do it.” So what is, must we ask, the standard for evaluating performance here? What are the invisible parameters to measure “academic excellence” here?

What so far appears to be problem-focused discourse, cannot be resolved by subjective, question-based assessment, either if it runs the risk of being assessed through an ideologically biased lens or through an ideologically biased lens. lens of “expected conformity” to what the teacher or assessor wants to read. At school and college level, ironically in the humanities and literature realms, we are trained to write responses which, as they say, “the teacher / examiner expects you to.” So what is, must we ask, the standard for evaluating performance here? What are the invisible parameters to measure “academic excellence” here?

As a humanities student, for example, we did not have access to any transparent evaluation criteria. On what set of parameters are our subjective tests evaluated? Conceptual understanding of literary theories? Ability to critically engage and assess existing scholarly literature? Apply theoretical understanding to the context of the question? The ability to strongly support our arguments? And of course, at the summative evaluation level (end of semester exams), we did not have access to any form of detailed feedback from the evaluator of the answer sheet to justify our marks. The blatant lack of transparency and accountability in our evaluation system, however, has often been justified by the deceptive simplicity of arguments based on the grounds of administrative convenience and logistics management.

Read also : NCERT Handbook and Trans-Inclusive and Gender-Sensitive Approaches to Education

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Develop assessment and develop learners

How do we do it from here? The process of creating a comprehensive and inclusive assessment often opens the Pandora’s box of the nature-culture debate. There are generally two cognitive abilities tested in the academic assessment: memory and intelligence. But we have to ask ourselves: how much memory and intelligence are innate and how many of them are acquired? Does factual memory-based assessment create a sustainable and growing, intrinsically motivated learning society, or does it create transient learners anticipating short-term rewards administered from outside?

Delhi Public Schools to Assess Students Up to Grade 8 Based on Worksheets This Year |  Latest Delhi News - Hindustan Times
Do aptitude tests legitimize a particular general aptitude as superior, while delegitimizing and “other” “deviant abilities” as “inferior”? What happens to abilities that are not part of the dominant cultural center and end up being marginalized on the periphery? Image source: Hindustan Times

There is increasing talk of the “Common Aptitude Test” in India, which attempts to simplify the process of admission to university. Terms such as “aptitude test” and “aptitude test” are considered to be the most progressive heirs derived from IQ (intelligence) tests. However, we need to know the real purpose of this simplified entrance test to assess its effectiveness in identifying ability and merit. Do aptitude tests legitimize a particular general aptitude as superior, while delegitimizing and “other” “deviant abilities” as “inferior”? What happens to abilities that are not part of the dominant cultural center and end up being marginalized on the periphery?

Do aptitude tests legitimize a particular general aptitude as superior, while delegitimizing and “other” “deviant abilities” as “inferior”? What happens to abilities that are not part of the dominant cultural center and end up being marginalized on the periphery?

It is resistance to “the demand for a single central intelligence” – the testing of which (intelligence) constitutes the basis for admission to “privileged forms of education” – that created the world. a more equitable place for hitherto unrecognized forms of constructive potential. at a student. From Alfred Binet to Howard Gardner, there have been pioneers in the field of education and psychology who rigorously questioned the notion of “unitary intelligence” by developing an alternative and more inclusive understanding of ability. / aptitude / intelligence (because they tend to be synonymous when constructed by wrong assumptions) by conceptualizing intelligence as a construct and as a multiple.

Read also : Caste discrimination rampant in higher education institutions, study finds

Conclusion

As with any continuous reform movement, beneficiaries at all times tend to forget the relentless struggle and perpetual effort that reformers have made so far to make the subject of reform fairer and just for these very complacent beneficiaries. . With apparent contentment and pragmatism, they accept what has been imposed on them by those in power. From CCE at school level (Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation) to CBCS (Choice Based Credit System) at college level, we have accepted education reforms from a position of helplessness, a position of blind welcome. or futile resistance.

The argument, in my opinion, is reflective and introspective, and no real progress can ever occur without reflection and introspection. Stobart says (regarding intelligence testing): “My argument is that the ‘fixed and unitary’ approach won because it matched the mindset of the time and offered a easy-to-grasp rationale for social conditions and policies that were favorable to those with power. “

In conclusion, an argument made by Professor Gordon Stobart with reference to the traditional intelligence tests which “have taken root in the popular psychology of English-speaking cultures” may serve as a useful starting point for a progressive movement in the assessment of ‘education. The argument, in my opinion, is reflective and introspective, and no real progress can ever occur without reflection and introspection. Stobart says (regarding intelligence tests), “My argument is that the ‘fixed and unitary’ approach won because it matched the mindset of the time and offered an easy-to-grasp rationale for social conditions and policies that were favorable to people. power holders. And the irony of the link between assessment and power here is that the positions of power held by those who have been selected via status quo assessment modes will indeed make the path difficult for those that the exclusive assessment modes. have rendered powerless.

Featured Image Source: CNBCtv18

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