Assessment Strategies for Effective Teachers -Introduction

(‘Assessment’ is topic under continuous discussion at Faculty Room of Disha Edupoint. In t

his article, I will attempt to put forth our initial discussion done on 4th of June, 2018.)

What does ‘assessment’ mean? Though we will be discussing its meaning in acade

mic sense only, I wish to bring to your attention, the general meaning of it first. When you file your income tax, you come across the term ‘Assessment Year’. When you ‘parachute land’ into a new scenario to handle things, you ‘assess’ the situation first. The meaning of the word may vary according to where it is used. Broadly, it

The process of gathering, recording and using information about a learner’s response to a task’.

is about ‘gathering data to analyse the situation of thing under scanner’.

In academics, assessment broadly means ‘the process of gathering, recording and using information about a learner’s response (performance/achievement) to a task’. Does it sound familiar? Yes, the tests, vivas, classroom quizzes etc are all part of one big scheme. Assessment!

But I would like to broaden our perspective at the onset only. Students are not the only section to be assessed but Teachers, Institutes, Policies and Policy Makers need also be assessed if we need ‘better outcomes’.

Why do we ‘assess’? Answer is pretty obvious. We assess so as to understand where the learner stands on(or is far off) his designated learning curve, which in turn can be used to take necessary ‘corrective’ actions. Assessment is a collective term for number of possible means and instruments to gather the information about learners progress. For example, a doctor may use MRI, CT Scan, X-ray and all kind of pathological tests to gather information about patients health condition and diagnose, so that he can decide best possible treatment and cure the illness. Note that doctor don’t do tests at random. He decides the set of tests to be done based on elementary observations and his own expertise, with a specific goal. In academics too, clear objective is very important for effective assessment.

Can we recall, how we have been using assessment, as Teachers?

• Use of short, objective type questions to assess prior knowledge of student at the start of the lecture.

• Use of short objective questions as checkpoints during and at end of lecture to assess students learning.

• Subjective/objective tests to assess whether objectives of lessons have been achieved.

• Subjective/objective (weekly at Disha Edupoint) tests to assess critical thinking skills and/or applied skills of students. Also assess their readiness for actual competitive exams.

• Survey to assess ‘effectiveness of teacher and her/his Strategies’.

• Viva Voce to assess ability of students to vocally demonstrate her/his learning and closely assess their thought process.

• Indirect assessment by observation.


At the end, I would like to conclude by the reminder that gathering the data i.e. Assessment must be designed with well thought objective, detailed plan to use it for improvement and positive follow-up/feedback loop.

To be continued…

Dancing your way through the turbulence… !

Yesterday, I was thinking, what do I love more? Life or death? Answer, obviously, was far-off from my reach then !

But ‘the turbulent flight’ AI 629 from Mumbai to Nagpur today (June 9th), followed by a glass of Beer helped me to the answer. It’s relative! I am not sure what do I love more of life and death. But I hate the turbulence. At least the onset of it.

It was, ‘Dar sabko lagta hain! Gala sabka sukhta hain !!’ (Preceded by G*** sabki fatati hain!) moment for almost everyone in the flight. I heard prayer followed and occasionally interrupted by abuses for weather, from a co-passenger.

As soon as the flight took off, it was continuous shuddering and occasional jerks. Soon, it was followed up rapid changes (climbing and falling) of altitudes numerous times. After 25 minutes or so, terbulance seemed to be over and dinner was served. We barely started eating and the terbulance was back, with an announcement (and signal) to fasten the seatbelts. ‘Abe yar, thoda pehle bola hota‘, I thought to myself. The unpacked dal and rice was staring right in my face. Ab plane jada hila to kya kya kya pakadu? A typical dag achhe hain moment !! Many people couldn’t eat out of tension. But ‘Kung-Fu Panda’ movies have taught me, eating helps in releasing tension. And what if it was the last supper? I ate every last grain of it. 🙂

In over a dozen flight experiences of mine, this was only turbulent flight. Few more things were also new to me. I saw ‘strangers openly talking to each other’ was way more than what I earlier observed. People were openly sharing their fears. Some confessed, that they will avoid air travel during rainy season. I too, asked to a seemingly more experienced flier, whether he have been in more turbulent flights.

One of the co-passengers was continuously praying with eyes closed and hands held in Namaste. When flight finally landed safely, he clapped, full of joy. Some loudly cheered with ‘Siyapati Ramchandra ki Jai’. While alighting some tried to prove they were not afraid, some admitted to it and some thanked the staff. Faces of the flight attendants were also expressing the same story.

Every smile felt more lively and coming from depth of hearts. I don’t know if I love life more. But, life is beautiful. And it is, because death is!

Afterall life is a fun-filled rollercoaster ride, since it gets a bit nervous and scary in-between !

But do I hate terbulance? I guess, it’s relative too ! Just dance your way through it.

For some ‘questions’, we don’t need answers ! (In Mark Mansons language) Just don’t give ‘it’ the f*** !!

Changing culture through language.

Changing culture through language is more about ‘choice of words and strength of character’, than the dialect.

Language is more about ‘choice of words and strength of character’, than the dialect.

It was a casual discussion over ‘afternoon’ tea in ‘Faculty Room’ @Disha Edupoint, which gradually lead to realization of how our language affects our family, organisation, students, colleagues and most importantly, ourselves. I would like to start with the story/incident Rakesh, my colleague shared(on WhatsApp Group) with all of us by EOD. It goes like this, Two children climb over a tree while playing in the park. Their mothers rush to the place while a sudden breeze causes the tree branches to rustle. One of the women, cries out loud to her son, “Hey, you may fall down!”. While other woman chose to stay calm and said loudly to her son, ” Hold the branch firmly. Stay strong and be careful.”. The story continues with one of the children falling down and narrator trying to make a point… I will end the story right here. Because the point I want to make (and my belief) here will not change if the outcome is altered with other child or both of them falling down.

Is it just about the language or is it about the culture? ( We mistake our rituals for the culture? I am not talking about rituals). Our culture finds its way into how we talk and grows its roots stronger and deeper. The ones who realise this makes use of it to sell more and grow rich. Very few try it to change the ‘culture’ for collective good. But if we together make a conscious effort to uplift the standards of our thinking, we might boost our chance of better and brighter tomorrow. (Don’t rush to visualise overrated and dramatised outcomes.)

Let’s introspect our language and our ‘true culture’ by re-living some of our past experiences… and thinking, what amendments can we make if similar things happen again…

1) In the face of some unfortunate incident, what do we think first? We find someone to blame! Many a times, strangely, the one who suffers is at the receiving end of instant criticism. A person fails in business or any new venture. We rush to prove how we knew it from the start and try to convince how he shouldn’t have tried it in first place.

Why do certain linguistic/religious communities fail in business? Because, their culture and language have made them so.

We are culturally full of shit, naturally good at counting the faults and pathetically suck at nurturing good things. You will agree if you observe with keen ears and eyes. But if you observe long enough, you will realise how this language one hears, alters his culture. The young turk, who used to advocate the culture of possibilities, fall prey to the culture of ‘suffocation by loud exhibition of how caring we are’.

Let’s learn to forgive. Let’s learn to utter encouraging words. Let’s learn to accept that failures with smile. Let’s learn taking second, third, fourth…..chance, equipped with prior learnings.

2) How do we handle our success or failure? Do we accomodate our competitors in our celebration of victory? Do we appreciate others overcoming our own defeat? Do we realise that undermining fellow colleagues is not a way to raising ourselves?

Honest and clear exchange of ideas/views without breaking the communication channel is key to ‘winning culture’ at home and at office. Let’s be open to radical ideas. Let’s be open to positive criticism. Let’s help others win. Because, when your team rises, you (or your fellow) may rise even higher. Win-win for all.

Let’s learn to play non-zero sum game !

3) How can we stop discrimination based on the occupation? We need to realise, we need someone to do that job too which we consider lowest. Instead of judging the occupation and one who is doing it, how can we improve the working conditions and dignity in it? That is the question we need to ask and answer. Here, let me share an image I came across few days back.

Study and score good or else we will send you to keep herds !(अभ्यास कर. नापास झालास तर ढोरं राखाले जा.) This is the typical threat given to school going children in our neighborhood. Is keeping the herd so low of a livelihood? Now I find, even jobless guys are not ready to keep the herd causing decline in number of cows, buffaloes and resulting in downsizing of local milk industry.

Language and culture grows together. It can either help us or slap us hard. Depends on how careful we are when it is shaping up.

I can go on adding examples, but I think they are not important now. I trust your thinking and reasoning ability. The question is how can we develope our language and vocabulary (irrespective of our dilect), which will shape winning culture around us.

I am trying, not make any conclusive remark. The ball is in court of thoughtful readers. (Comment your views to push the thought forward and Share to more readers if you can connect.)