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Monthly Archives: December 2013

TRCP-05

This project, although an academic endeavour of a post-graduate student of graphic design from the National Institute of Design, absolutely could not have been possible without the guidance and support of the faculty guide, Mr. Tarun Deep Girdher. I would like to thank him for mentoring me through this project as if it was his own, and spending countless hours discussing and debating the complex parameters and dynamics of the stakeholders involved in the Indian education system. I broke all project timelines and this one took a mind-boggling 15 months, but his patience was unparalleled through out.

I would also take this opportunity to thank Mr. Noble Thomas and Ms. Vandna Joshi, from DPS Bopal for letting me meet the teachers and students of the school to conduct my research as well as validate my design solution. Mr. Thomas was instrumental in organising a lot of the feedback sessions and providing valuable insights at key stages through the project.

There are a number of people who participated in my research and facilitated the outcome of the project. There were also those who made sure I didn’t give up half way. Names in no particular order are as follows: Dr. Niyati Lakhani, Mr. Vineet Joshi, Mr. Dhirendra Davey, Dr. Shailendra Gupta, Ms. Veena Das & Ms. Nikita Desai (Riverside School), Mr. Rupesh Vyas, Mr. Ajay Tiwari, Jasleen Kaur, Shreya Chakravarty, Roshini Pochont, Jyoti Mann, Mira Malhotra, Akash Raj Halankar, Soumyadip Ghosh, Palash Singh. My family and friends—as always, for letting me do what I love.

The report card—redesigned to act as a medium that provides actionable information in an understandable manner to facilitate positive dialogue among teachers, parents and students. The preview below shows the report card without any variable information filled (in its blank state).

The redesigned report card for class 6-8 filled with dummy information to give a sense of the representation of student evaluation.

For the third round of design validation, with the help of Mr. Noble Thomas of DPS Bopal, we conducted a group discussion with teachers who are also parents of students in classes 6,7 and 8. It was an information group discussion meant to provide valuable feedback on the design of the report card and to open up a debate around student evaluation from both perspectives.

The discussion was conducted with a group of seven teachers, and to start it off, I explained to them in brief the problems my research had shown (specific to the report card).

IMG_6709 copyAs has been the case with the feedback on the report card with other parents and teachers, the positioning of the grading scale next to the corresponding sections of the report card and the horizontal alignment of the two terms was greatly appreciated.

They brought to light the fact that although projects were inducing stress on parents, and in some cases, students were buying projects from various sources—it was fostering a culture of cross-subject learning, as students were required to apply their learning from different subjects to create projects and presentations on topics such as female foeticide.

IMG_6706 copy There was a unanimous consent about the fact that the co-scholastic indicators were extremely fuzzy and both confusing and not fruitful for students and parents. The CBSE mandate that nothing negative should be written in the descriptions limited the teachers’ ability to give correct feedback and often there is a mismatch between the grades and the written description. As parents, they did not pay attention to the section at all, unless in the case where the student is not strong academically and these indicators helped him or her get a better overall grade.

My take on the overall grade, that it is not an accurate representation of student learning was completely rejected, as teachers said that it helped them in understanding the position of students in their class, and created a benchmark and motivated students to work harder to fall into the performing students category (A1 / A2 grade). However, they agreed that it does induce a sense of competition and labels students but that is not a big enough reason for the overall grade to be removed from the report card, as such.

IMG_6708 copyThe last thing that was appreciated was the inclusion of the “Teacher’s Message” where they felt that parents and students would only take that bit seriously in terms of what the teacher had to say—it also becomes memorable to some extent for the students. It is more effective and meaningful than the automated sentences listed out to be filled in the descriptive indicators.

This round would successfully end the design validation stage. I would now be preparing a document of the research, insights and design outcome to present it to the CBSE with an aim to call for a debate and critically reason the methodology of student evaluation and the requirement of appropriate tools and resources for parents and teachers to make student evaluation a far more useful process to aid student learning.