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In this literature review, the discussion is done on the high stake testing in India. The purpose of high stake testing is to analyze the accountability of different stakeholders in the education sector. In India, there are many high stakes testing, which is conducted by the Education ministry board of India. Among them “All India secondary examination” and “All India higher secondary examination” are important examinations, which are attended by many students. In this literature review, the benefits, impacts on the stakeholder, limitations, and conflicts are explained. 9 articles are selected from authentic sources and those are used for the analysis. Besides, use of different theories and models were used to support the literature review.
Discussion on high stake testing of India
All India secondary school examination is also commonly known as the 10th board exam in India. This is a centralized public examination, which is conducted by the central education board namely the “Central Board of Secondary Education(Mathews, 2018). This is the first board exam in the 10+2 education curriculum. Every year at the time of February, each student in the 10th class had to sit in this exam to get the certificate for the second exam called, “Secondary School Completion Certificate”. The board generally prepares the subject combination. Besides, some elective subjects are also there, which are selected by the student. According to Devi &Priya, (2018), the compulsory subjects are two languages, mathematics, science, social science, and any other elective subjects.
After completing this exam successfully, students are able to pursue higher education. In previous times, the exam used to happen at the end of the year. However, now the 10th education is divided into two semesters and each of them has a formative and summative assessment (Nawani, 2021). These are compulsory assessments to complete the secondary examination. In India, the students, teachers, and parents take, this examination very seriously as this is the first board exam given by the student.
Another important high stake-testing exam is the higher secondary examination”. This exam is also known as the “All India Senior School Certificate Examination” (Kumar, 2021). The CBSE as well as other national school bodies conduct this exam. However, the values of the test result and validity are the same for all the school boards. After completing the secondary exam, a student becomes eligible for the higher secondary exam. As stated by the authors Sharma, &Tripathi, 2021), this exam is mostly attended by the 17-18 years age group of students and after completing this exam successfully, students can go for higher education in college.
In this examination, students can choose their own streams such as science, arts, commerce, and others. However, the number of subjects is 6 for each stream, 5 are compulsory and one is elective (Chandrasekaran, 2019). However, due to the pandemic, many patterns of the examination have changed from 2020. As stated by the governmental body, around 19.4 million students attended college in 2020 (Kumar, 2021). In order to attend college, it is necessary to pass the 12th board exam. This exam is also valid for higher education in a different country as well.
Role of government
The government has a major role in secondary and higher secondary education in India. As stated by the researchers like Chauhan, &Angra(2019), both the central government and the state government bodies control the examination patterns, questions selection, marking, result declaration, and allocation of certificates. After the elementary education of 8 years, preparation for the board examination started. In the secondary examination, the syllabus is almost the same for all the boards. Besides, the education boards make sure that the previous year's syllabus is aligned with the 10th syllabus so that students do not need to study differently for school and board exams (Sahoo&Klasen, 2021). The same is applicable to the 12th exam also. Besides, there are some other examinations for further education in engineering or medicine such as the Joint entrance examination, and NEET. As all these exams are given in the same year as the 12th, the Indian Government makes sure that, all the syllabi and curriculum are similar to each other.
The Indian government always promotes higher education. Therefore, the exam results were considered for higher education in the country. Besides, the government also provides scholarships for higher education when the student performs well in the examination. However, the role of government here is not limited to conducting the exam. According to the experts Lingard, Thompson, &Sellar, (2015), the main purpose of high stake testing is to conduct an over-assessment of the education system in India. All the results of these board exams are transparent and the government makes all the data public in order to make the education system more transparent. It is also easier to perform a statistical analysis and compare the examination of previous years and current years to understand the progress.
On the contrary, some criticism is there. According to some researchers, the purpose of the exam does not meet. The main reason is the lack of creativity of the education bodies. Though the patterns of exams have changed many times, the high stake exam is still based on “What students recall” rather than “what students learn” ((Sahoo&Klasen, 2021). Hence, the government needs to ensure whether the purpose is actually met or not. Analysis from the ground level of the exam can be helpful in this case.
Benefits of high stake testing
High stake testing is common in each country for the assessment of education. The name of the examination, patterns, and types can be different; however, the purpose is almost the same for all the countries. High-stakes testing has many benefits as well as limitations for the stakeholders (Klenowski, 2015). In this section, the benefits of the assessment are found in the collected literature.
The first and topmost benefit of the high stake testing like secondary and higher secondary examinations in India are to understand the performance of the student. As stated byAnjalmose&Arumugam (2018), these two exams the secondary exam is the first board exam taken after 10 years of schooling. Hence, assessment of the result of this examination allows the government to find out the progress that happens in the education system. Besides, as marks are given numerically, it is easier for the Indian education board to perform statistical analysis (Chauhan, &Angra, 2019). Hence, they can compare the result successfully and find a logical answer.
Along with the growth in the education system, the high stake testing allows the government to understand specific knowledge gaps in the students. In the secondary and higher secondary examinations, each subject is marked differently. Therefore, analysis of the marks of all students and the number of students who attempt that subject can help to generate an idea about the knowledge gap. According to Gorur, (2015), such as when the current marks in the science group are below average, it means some investigation is required to find out the lack. Hence, the government can find the possible scope of improvement and change the curriculum as per requirements.
High stake testing also provides data based on demographic such as state, district, and schools level. Along with the student, it is also possible to assess the education quality of the school as well. It can be said that quality education in a school helps the student achieve more marks on the board exams (Chauhan, &Angra, 2019). Besides, types of internal questions, marks of internal exams, and marks of practical exams can also be assessed differently for a better and more accurate assessment of education.
The result of high-stake testing is mandatory in India for further education. In order to study for “higher secondary exam”, the students’ needs to attend the “secondary exam” successfully (Mathews, 2018). Besides, in order to be admitted to college students need to successfully pass the “higher secondary exam”. However, some specific universities in India take admission exams differently. Most schools and colleges conduct admission based on the marks of the board exams. Besides, when the student wants to take admitted to foreign universities, the result of the board exam is mandatory. Because other universities in foreign countries give priority to board exam results over local school results (Nawani, 2021). Hence, this is very much important for the further education of the students.
In India, the students as well as parents take High stake testing very seriously. Not only is it required for higher studies, but the government also provides lucrative scholarships based on the results of these two board exams. According to the researchers like Chauhan, &Angra, (2019), many students take this as an opportunity for further studies, especially people who belong to lower economic backgrounds. Hence, these exams help to identify bright students from poor economic backgrounds and help them financially for their education. In addition, due to the importance of this exam, all students become motivated and focus more on their education.
Impacts of high stake testing on stakeholder’s students, parents, teachers, and schools
High stake testing in India has many impacts on its stakeholders. Some of the major stakeholders of the high stake testing are our schools, students, teachers, and parents. Its impacts of it can be both positive and negative, which are discussed here.
It has been seen that due to the mentioned board examination, students become motivated and start to focus more on education. Besides, few students depend on scholarships for further education (Chandrasekaran, 2019). However, some researchers argue that not all the students in the country get the same opportunity to study. Hence, they do not perform well in the examination. According to Chauhan&Angra (2019), the aim of high stake testing is to take some major decisions about the student's future. Hence, this testing system is not beneficial for all students. However, it has been noticed that some students did not perform well in the school exam and suddenly get serious about the board exam in the 10th class, which is very common in India (Park, 2022). From this aspect, board exams help those students to get motivated and perform well in education. On the contrary, high stake testing creates huge pressure on the students. Hence, some students suffer from anxiety and become demotivated due to the exams.
High stake testing system has some major impacts on the school as well. Both the board exam in India is reputed and all the schools want to perform well in the examination. As stated by Berry et al. (2020), good performance in board exams helps the school to get more recognition, which increases the number of students. Because of its high reputation, the student and employee retention rate increases, which is influential for the business of the school. In that aspect, the school management system focuses on giving quality education. As a result, the student can get good marks in the secondary and higher secondary examination (Nawani, 2021). School infrastructure and facilities are developed as national-level recognition can be achieved by generating well-performing students for the high stake testing.
Teachers are another important stakeholder in the high stake testing system. Various studies found that has discussed the impacts of high stake testing on educators. It needs to be understood that both “Secondary and higher secondary examination” is important for each school (Park, 2022). All schools want to perform well in that exam and the responsibility for that goes to the educators. In a school, it is the duty of the educator to teach the student, clarify the concept and prepare them for the exam. Therefore, every year before the exam, the work pressure on the teachers becomes higher than ever. According to the researchers Lingard, Thompson, &Sellar (2015), revising concepts, clearing doubts, taking mock tests, and understanding knowledge gaps have to be done by the teachers before the exam. Though it is stressful, there are positive impacts as well. It has been seen that due to the pressure teachers have to groom themselves and keep them well informed about the syllabus, exam patterns, and others (Nawani, 2021). Hence, they become updated and skillful.
Parents also have an important role in the education of a child in India. Parents help the students study at home and take care of the students. Hence, the situation is stressful for the parents as well. According to Chauhan&Angra (2019), the board exam decides the further education opportunity for the students, and the expectation of parents becomes high, which increases stress on the students.
Limitations and conflicts
The high stake testing in the education system was initiated with some specific and positive purpose, which is the growth of the education system. As stated by the author Park, (2022), proper assessment of the growth could help the government to improve the education system further. However, various limitations and conflicts about the high stake testing are creating questions on the effectiveness of the assessment. Due to the board exams and their importance for the future, students focus more on the marks instead of learning. The aim of the school is to teach new concepts and make the student educated. However, the exam pattern of the Indian board exams does not allow students to show creativity or skill (Chauhan&Angra, 2019). Instead, the exam result is created based on how a student can write the answer on paper. Therefore, students are studying only to get good grades in exams, not to learn.
Besides, the technique for getting good marks is created by the students due to the same pattern of the questions and exam. Hence, students are relying upon the previous year's questions and focusing on recalling them. Besides, suggestions and notes are provided in the coaching in order to recall the answer to exam questions (Bhorkar& Bray, 2018). Hence, somehow the assessment becomes biased. As the parents are concerned about the future, which isdependent on the board exam creating pressure on both students and the teachers. Instead of learning, both parents and students are focusing on good marks so that they can get good ranks and secure their careers.
On the other hand, education quality is not the same in each school. Besides, in some rural places in India, many students do not have the opportunity and resources to compete in board exams (Chauhan&Angra, 2019). However, a student from a well economic background, who studies at a high-quality school, and a student from a lower economic background with fewer resources and opportunities had to compete in the same exam. Hence, the assessment becomes unfair and biased. According to Anjalmose&Arumugam (2018), the number of school dropouts increased especially in rural areas. In addition, the government wants the result to be transparent so that the public can understand how well the schools are performing. However, biased data cannot provide correct information. Besides, when government take decisions based on biased data, the objective does not fulfill.
Hence, it can be said that the improvement of education in India largely depends on tests, which are not good measurements for high-quality learning. As stated by Berry et al. (2020), it improvises and weeks the curriculum and fails to increase engagement rather it increasing competition.
The use of theories in the literature reviews helps to improve the understanding of the topic.
Symbolic interactionist theory:
This theory explains the influence of teachers in a class and how a teacher can shapes the perception, attitudes, and performances of the students. “Robert Rosenthal and Lenore Jacobson” are the authors of this theory and conduct research on this topic and a phenomenon called “self?fulfilling prophesy” is explained to them (Barros, Cappelle& Guerra, 2019). This phenomenon indicates that when the teachers expected a particular performance from some students, it happens.
This theory explains the need for education to serve society. According to the author of this theory Durkheim, basic skills and education need to convey to the next generation for the sake of society (Asimakopoulos, 2022). However, education should not be based on only information; it needs to be based on moral education, and social values. Hence, the education system should reflect the core value, which can be done with economic and political support. Individualism is the most important ideology of the core value, which advocates liberty rights (Barros, Cappelle& Guerra, 2019). Besides, the development of self-esteem and social esteem also need to be added to the curriculum.
Some gaps in the selected literature have been found. All the literature discussed various information related to the high-stake testing. Critical analysis is seen where the benefits and limitations of different high stake testing in India are discussed. However, no literature has discussed the possible solution to the identified issues. Besides, a lack of recommendations to improve the assessment system has not been found in detail in the literature. Findings in the existing articles could be helpful to analyses the topic from different perspectives.
It has been seen in the above literature review that high stake testing is very popular in each country for the assessment of the education system of the country. In India, there are also various types of high stake testing systems. Among them, the secondary and higher secondary board exam of the CBSE board is very important and popular. This exam has many impacts on the students, teachers, schools, and parents of India. Based on the marks of the board exam, the student gets the opportunity for further education. Besides, securing good scores in those exams helps the students to get scholarship. However, in India, not all the schools are developed and not all children get the same opportunity to learn. Hence, taking sections based on the board exam result is somehow biased. Besides, the student starts to focus more on grades instead of learning.
Anjalmose, S., &Arumugam, M. (2018).Dropout in Higher Secondary School Students-Modeling a case study in the Cuddalore District, Tamilnadu, India.Journal of Education,6(3), 15-19. Retrieved on: 19th September, 2022. From: https://www.researchgate.net/profile/Anjalmose-S-Dr/publication/327159809_Dropout_in_Higher_Secondary_School_Students-Modeling_a_case_study_in_the_Cuddalore_District_Tamilnadu_India/links/5b7d58f5a6fdcc5f8b5bbcf4/Dropout-in-Higher-Secondary-School-Students-Modeling-a-case-study-in-the-Cuddalore-District-Tamilnadu-India.pdf
Berry, J., Kannan, H., Mukherji, S., &Shotland, M. (2020).Failure of frequent assessment: An evaluation of India’s continuous and comprehensive evaluation program.Journal of Development Economics, 143, 102406. Retrieved on: 19th September, 2022. From:https://www.povertyactionlab.org/sites/default/files/research-paper/Failure-of-Frequent-Assessment_berry_kannan_mukherji_shotland_Nov2018.pdf
Bhorkar, S., & Bray, M. (2018). The expansion and roles of private tutoring in India: From supplementation to supplantation. International Journal of Educational Development, 62, 148-156. Retrieved on: 19th September, 2022. From:https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10147433/1/Bhorka_Accepted%20Manuscript_India%20Supplementary%20Tutoring.pdf
Chandrasekaran, S. (2019).Awareness and Attitude towards NEET among Rural Higher Secondary School Students.International Education & Research Journal,5(6), 24-25. Retrieved on: 19th September, 2022. From: https://www.academia.edu/download/65866593/10_IERJ20188276905102_Print_CHANDRASEKARAN_SELLAMUTHU.pdf
Chauhan, K., &Angra, K. (2019). Education System in India: Pros and Cons.Journal of Applied Information Science,7(1), 21-24. Retrieved on: 19th September, 2022. From: https://www.academia.edu/download/63239445/Education_System_in_India_-_Pros_and_Cons20200508-42314-qb6asq.pdf
Devi, R. G., &Priya, A. J. (2018).A survey on preference among parent in board of education for senior secondary education.Drug Invention Today,10. Retrieved on: 19th September, 2022. From:https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&profile=ehost&scope=site&authtype=crawler&jrnl=09757619&AN=133549242&h=QtFG21occqFozpnEDGOfyywk6D1xg06w2jOyIOzcEOBF6pID9znNDpbC%2FpzzM63cNxPeRwmFbkE7YmA5GFgswA%3D%3D&crl=c
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Nawani, D. (2021). Examination for elimination: celebrating fear and penalising failure. In The Routledge Handbook of Education in India (pp. 63-77).Routledge. Retrieved on: 19th September, 2022. From:https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9781003030362-6/examination-elimination-disha-nawani
Park, R. J. (2022). Hot Temperature and High-Stakes Performance. Journal of Human Resources, 57(2), 400-434. Retrieved on: 19th September, 2022. From:https://uwpress.wisc.edu/journals/pdfs/0618-9535R3_supp.pdf
Asimakopoulos, J. (2022). Postmodernism: The Evolution of Symbolic Interactionism and Critical Theory.Theory in Action, 15(3). Retrieved on: 19th September, 2022. From: https://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&profile=ehost&scope=site&authtype=crawler&jrnl=19370229&AN=158303879&h=n8xboBAYgs8i6bZMXSwGgkuvMZuzPmTe9CPRBMK31j%2FGe5jkL8DG1oB%2Be6B4rzFYquLwCNYMr1sTXsAMRpTogg%3D%3D&crl=c
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Gorur, R. (2015). The performative politics of NAPLAN and MySchool.InNational testing in schools(pp. 30-43).Routledge. Retrieved on: 19th September, 2022. From: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9781315659312-3/performative-politics-naplan-myschool-radhika-gorur
Klenowski, V. (2015).Questioning the validity of the multiple uses of NAPLAN data.InNational Testing in Schools(pp. 44-56).Routledge. Retrieved on: 19th September, 2022. From: https://www.taylorfrancis.com/chapters/edit/10.4324/9781315659312-4/questioning-validity-multiple-uses-naplan-data-val-klenowski
Kumar, S. (2021). Influence of Past Academic Performance and New Media Usage on Co-Scholastic Area Related Learning Outcomes For Senior Secondary School Students in North India. Retrieved on: 19th September, 2022. From: https://www.amity.edu/gwalior/jccc/pdf/jun_27.pdf
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Sharma, N. K., &Tripathi, A. (2021).Comparative Evaluation of Status of Infrastructural Facilities in Secondary School Libraries of Varanasi, India.Library Herald,59(3), 131-143. Retrieved on: 19th September, 2022. From: https://www.academia.edu/download/75369191/Navneet_Aditya_Library_Herald.pdf
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