National Education Assessment
A National Education Assessment (NEA) is designed to describe the achievement of students in a curriculum area aggregated to provide an estimate of the achievement level in the education system as a whole at a particular age or grade level. NEA in Bhutan is a periodic exercise carried out at regular interval in Class III, VI and in IX.
The objectives of Bhutan’s NEA are to:
- monitor the health and quality of school education by providing timely feedback to its key stakeholders,
- provide information about achievement levels of students at key stages of learning,
- monitoring learning outcomes over time and how they relate to improvements in education inputs and education initiatives which were implemented,
- guide educational policy developments and interventions to improve learning outcomes and to address inequalities in learning outcomes, such as due to differences in socio-economic status,
- make decisions about resource allocations based on education inputs and their impact on learning outcomes,
- identify areas that need support in terms of curriculum revisions, 21st century teaching and learning strategies and professional development of teachers, and
- create reliable data that can be used to identify trends in educational achievement and growth over a period of time.
Competency Based Assessment
Initiated in 2011, CBA was focused on measuring holistic development of students as one of the key initiative taken to achieve the aspirations for the education system. It is a form of assessment that is derived from a specified set of learning outcomes which very clearly states both the general and specific competencies (knowledge, skills, values and attitude, that assessors, students and stakeholders can make reasonably objective judgements with respect to student achievement of these competencies that equip them to move to the next competency level and prepare them for life and the world of work (BCSEA, 2015).
The important components of competency-based assessment which the definition above encapsulates are:
- the emphasis on outcomes; specifically, multiple outcomes, each of which is distinctive and separately considered,
- the belief that these outcomes can and should be specified to the point where they are clear and “transparent”. Assessors, assessed, and the stakeholders should be able to understand what is being assessed and what should be achieved,
- essentially about assessing processes as outlines in the curricula as opposed to its content, storage and retrieval,
- competency based items are built on the contexts of curricula towards measuring educational processes and skills rather than the content knowledge. As a result items demand learners to use and apply knowledge, soft skills and attitudinal attributes that one has acquired through learning processes into different situations and contexts, and
- apart from subject specific competencies ,the competency based items are re- angled to measure 21st century transversal competencies that are required for learners’ holistic development and for learners to become capable of adapting to change and need of the hour.