A global tool that can identify gaps in learning and help students improve academic skills has been launched in India. Macmillan Education, a leading publisher of English language school curriculum material, has now brought the ICAS programme to the Indian subcontinent. ICAS, an independent skill-based assessment test known only by the abbreviation, is an initiative of the University of New South Wales in Australia. It is a diagnostic tool that gives parents and teachers insight into students’ capabilities – assessing their problem-solving skills, logic and thinking.
Currently 14,500 schools in over 20 countries participate in ICAS and over 8.9 million students are assessed by it. “Existing exams across different educational boards are based on the school curriculum,” Yash Mehta, Director of Macmillan Education India, told PTI.
The ICAS assessment is the first of its kind test in India. Most other exams that measure student aptitudes are competitive in nature. The ICAS assessment tests students on their skills which are compared against global benchmarks. “The assessment will benefit stakeholders at four levels – students, teachers, principals and the government,” Mehta said.
The multiple choice tests pinpoint the areas which students need to strengthen. The data collected can also identify the performance of individual schools compared to regional, state or even global counterparts. “We are not interested in ranking students based on their performance; rather we want to help identify the learning gaps so that students can improve,” Mehta said. Developed by a team of subject experts, he said ICAS breaks through the traditional markers of evaluation which are based on rote learning. “The programme helps identify a student’s strength and weaknesses in specific skill areas, which can drive better targeting of teaching and improve learning,” Mehta said.
The programme starts from Class 2 and goes up to Class 12, he added. “We are going to start the programme with private schools. A number of leading schools across the country have already signed through,” Mehta said. Over the next 5 years, Macmillan aims to reach out to over 10,000 schools and about one million students in India.