RSTV: THE BIG PICTURE- COMMON TEST FOR HIGHER EDUCATION
Once approved by the ministry if Human Resource and Development , the National Testing Agency , NTA is all set to conduct a common admission test for 15 central universities of the country for the next academic session . Till now the the Central University Common Entrance Test was conducted by Central University of Rajasthan. The NTA id also said to be in talks with other central universities to join the common test .According to the draft National Education policy , in the long run the NTA will institute processes which would ease admissions in to higher education programs and tests will be offered in all mediums of instruction .
National Testing Agency:
- National Testing Agency (NTA) has been established as a premier, specialist, autonomous and self-sustained testing organization to conduct entrance examinations for admission/fellowship in higher educational institutions.
- To assess competence of candidates for admissions and recruitment has always been a challenge in terms of matching with research based international standards, efficiency, transparency and error free delivery. The National Testing Agency is entrusted to address all such issues using best in every field, from test preparation, to test delivery and to test marking.
To improve equity and quality in education by administering research based valid, reliable, efficient, transparent, fair and international level assessments. The best subject matter experts, psychometricians and IT delivery and security professionals will ensure that the current gaps in existing assessment systems are properly identified and bridged.
- To conduct efficient, transparent and international standards tests in order to assess the competency of candidates for admission, and recruitment purposes.
- To undertake research on educational, professional and testing systems to identify gaps in the knowledge systems and take steps for bridging them.
- To identify experts and institutions in setting examination questions.
- To produce and disseminate information and research on education and professional development standards.
- To identify partner institutions with adequate infrastructure from the existing schools and higher education institutions which would facilitate conduct of online examinations without adversely impacting their academic routine.
- To create a question bank for all subjects using the modern techniques
- To establish a strong R&D culture as well as a pool of experts in different aspects of testing
- To help individual colleges and universities in the field of testing and to provide training and advisory services to the institutions in India. To provide quality testing services to the academic institutions in India.
- To develop a state of the art culture of testing in India by using domestic and international expertise. To collaborate with international organizations like ETS to achieve the same.
- To undertake any other examination that is entrusted to it by the Ministries/Departments of Government of India/State Governments.
- To undertake the reforms and training of school boards as well as other bodies where the testing standards should be comparable with the entrance examinations.
Why the NTA is given this responsibility?
- Earlier and till now it used to be OMR based test in which reliability was an issue but NTA being computer based test in which reliability is not an issue.
- Computer-based tests can be taken all year round in most locations. Students can appear for the tests when and where it is convenient for them. They don’t need to travel to a particular location to take the exam, so it is helpful for the students from remote areas as well. The window for taking the test can vary between one week and three weeks
- It reduces the time taken to complete a test and is more convenient as compared to paper-based tests. The applicant is allotted a certain amount of time to answer questions. He/she cannot go back to change the answers. This reduces the total time taken while attempting the test.
- Different versions of the test papers are created, equivalent to each other in terms of the content and difficulty level. This way, one test taker can see only a small proportion of the questions, and since there are different versions, every test taker gets different questions. So, that way, the risk of cheating in a computer-based test is limited.
- Test takers with disabilities can also take exams through CBT. Braille keyboards are available for those who are visually disabled. Text can be enlarged or presented in a manner which enhances its readability. It can also be read aloud to assist candidates who have a hearing disability.
- You can also get your individual testing environment and won’t have to share a table with someone. This makes the testing environment comfortable for the test taker.
- The test also has a basic tutorial to guide the students before the test begins so that those who are not familiar with CBTs can attempt it easily
Concerns wrt NTA:
- It is an expensive option and this factor can deter many government organisations from opting for it.
- Sometimes in social sciences and human sciences where aptitude of the candidate can be properly judged by more elaborate questions.
- There is a possibility of a technical glitch, power outrage or a system failure.
- There is an uneven distribution of internet network as the internet network in some areas can be poor
- Computer based test may initially appear to be expensive but in the long run it will be cheaper.
- We need to train our teachers to set the right kind of questions.
- Need to examine the critical thinking aspect.
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