School Quality Assessment
- Quality Education as National Mandate
The Government of India has recently initiated a series of steps to improve the level of quality of educationin the schools across the country. The latest policy document namely, the Eleventh Five Year Plan has alsofocused on improving the quality of school education. It reads as: “Quality of education is a much discussedissue and there is no clear consensus on what constitutes quality, how to measure it, or whether it can be measured atall. The meaning of ‘improved quality’ needs to be defined in operational terms through clearly identified outcomeindicators for various dimensions like teachers’ competence, classroom processes, teaching learning materials,students’ performance etc.”
- Need for School Quality Assessment and Accreditation (SQAA)
Assessment and Accreditation essentially aims at Institutional capacity building for continuous qualityimprovement through self-analysis and self-monitoring of quality enhancement processes.Assessment and Evaluation of an Institution is intended to be a means to document its Educational Qualityand Institutional Effectiveness. Fostering Institutional improvement and demonstrating its accountabilityare complementary processes that assure the quality of an Institution. The validity of such an assurancedepends on many dimensions of assessment. Without a clear sense of the purpose of assessment,knowledge of what is to be assessed and an understanding of how the results of assessment will be used,assessment efforts may often become an end itself. If the results of an assessment are not useful thereafterfor planning and arriving at reflective decisions, accredited schools would only be data-rich and responsepoor Institutions.
- Parameters of Quality Assessment
School Quality Assessment and Accreditation (SQAA) is a commitment by Central Board of SecondaryEducation to provide global parameters of attainment as standards in schools affiliated to it. The CBSEaspires to lay down a set of standards and best practices as paradigms for attaining the benchmark in anindividual institution for the upliftment of learning outcomes in the domain of school education impartedto children.
The CBSE School Quality Assessment and Accreditation (SQAA) is holistic as it covers all aspects of aschool functioning, namely its Scholastic and Co-scholastic Domains, Infrastructural Areas, HumanResources, Management and Administration, Leadership and Beneficiary Satisfaction.The Seven Domains identified by CBSE are in fact focused on the seven areas and processes of developingthe capabilities of school holistically. By participating in the process of accreditation the institutions willraise their bar of excellence and move towards continuous improvement in quality.
- Accreditation: Its Meaning
Accreditation can be defined as an affirmation of Quality. The Accreditation of a school would meancertification of a school’s functioning assessed on the basis of predetermined norms in pre-defined areas.The Accreditation is actually intended to serve the purpose of a handy index for the stakeholders since itwould give an immediate insight about the state of affairs in a school
Accreditation, in the context of the schools affiliated with CBSE, would be a written recognition given onthe basis of a structured report made by an independent accreditation agency. It also reflects as to how the internal operations of a school converge vis-à-vis broad objectives of the Board. It ensures the integrity ofthe schools and reaffirms their sustained commitment for the pursuit of excellence.
Incidentally, Accreditation is not principally about external scrutiny alone. It is about continuously tryingto do better. It does not end with the affirmation of a status qualifying an institution as `Accredited’. Itincludes a structured follow-up procedure to ensure that recommendations made by the accreditationagency are dealt with appropriately and action plans are drawn up and implemented in the school toimprove upon.