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(A Mission of National Importance to cater to the evaluation requirements of the country for academic auditing to account for the huge amount of public funds spent on education)

Preamble  operational jurisdictions of existing institutions of assessment, accreditation, evaluation, and examination such as NAAC of the UGC, NBA of the AICTE, NBE of the MCI, Evaluation Units of Universities, Examination Directorates, etc.1, are limited to only specific domains, purposes, and levels of education but to meet the multiple demands of evaluation (that encompass the entire system of education) being received from various organisations of the country, no comprehensive mechanism is available in order to fill up this gap, establishment of the National Testing Service or National Evaluation Organisation (as visualised by various Commissions of Education and envisaged under 5.40, 5.41 (Revised para) of NPE / POA 1986, NPE RC 1990 and CABE,1992)2 was proposed during 2004, by the Centre for Testing & Evaluation (CT&E)3, a 2 ½ decades old R&D Unit of the CIIL accordingly, administrative approval of the competent authority (with the concurrence of Central Planning Commission) has been given to the CT&E to formulate & implement the NTS (or NEO) with effect from 1-07-2006, for the first time in the country thus, the NTS has come into being.

Objectives  to outline the commonly accepted content-inputs of education (discipline wise) in a hierarchical order under three specified categories (subject matter, individual growth, societal needs) to demarcate and distribute them on a scale of gradual progression under the seven levels of general education (primary, upper-primary, secondary, higher secondary, graduate, postgraduate, & research) to develop a comprehensive, concept based continuum of graded syllabi (CCGS) applicable to all the levels of education for every discipline to systematise the process of teaching, learning, & evaluation to create a variety of measurement frames (aptitude, achievement, & proficiency) for assessing the informatory and extrapolatory dimensions of learner growth at every level of education (to start with, higher secondary & degree, in language disciplines - Hindi, Tamil, & Urdu) to build up consensus on the materials & methodologies developed and to standardise them with reference to various regions of the country to evolve national & regional norms to establish benchmarks / standards for the (i) courses of study / programmes of education (in terms of content inputs & consequential effects), (ii) institutions / departments involved in imparting them (in terms of infrastructure & the extent of social concern) and (iii) individuals' academic requirements at various stages of their educational pursuance (pre, during, & post).

Applications  ensuring the earmarked minimum essentials of learning at every level of the educational continuum maintenance of comparability (inter and intra)4 among the (i) courses of study at any given level in a particular discipline (for recognition) (ii) institutions imparting these courses (for affiliation), and among (iii) individuals of the same grade in the concerned discipline (for admission, certification, & employment) adherence of accountability (in assuring quality) by every one who is involved in the educational process determination of the extent of imbalance in education to decide the quantum of remedial measures instant construction of tests by incorporating any amount of content areas under any methods (techniques) for fulfilling any purpose of evaluation (decision making) delinking of degrees from jobs thereby ensuring education as only a means of capacity building and not to merely increase the number of graduates institutionalising evaluation as an inbuilt mechanism so that the ills in the end level examinations could be phased out gradually.

Operational Strategies  3 Task Groups viz., Research & Development (with a specialised library), Survey & Documentation (with an electronic information grid), and Consultancy & Training (with a series of training modules & documentary films) are being set up at the NTS headquarters to plan and formulate all the basic frameworks required 60 Regional Field Units [RFUs] at the first instance, are being established across 18 states5 of the country to disseminate information, prepare tools, administer them in the field, collect data, undertake item & test analysis, and to evolve regional norms on standardizing the tools developed a sub-scheme called Grant-in-Aid has been created within NTS to extend financial support to the interested individuals / institutions for taking up short term studies / programmes on material and manpower development in the area of evaluation besides, monthly Research Fellowships (45 per annum i.e. 30 doctoral and 15 post doctoral) have also been instituted to encourage the young researchers of various disciplines to take up advanced studies in this inter-disciplinary area of evaluation, as a step to strengthen the future manpower requirements.

Advisory Committee   a provision has been created for soliciting the views of all those associated with the policy making process (both at the centre and states) in order to ensure various needs of the country (which should essentially form the content inputs of education) are adequately taken care of so that the materials and methodologies of evaluation developed by NTS would be meaningful, relevant, and valid apart from this, a National Level Advisory Committee is also being constituted by the ministry for advising academic and other important matters, with Vice-Chancellors of Universities, Members representing Institutions that conduct Aptitude Tests (eg. IITs), Achievement Tests (eg. CBSE), and Proficiency Tests (eg. UPSC), Subject Experts, and Senior Officials of the MHRD.

Beneficiaries   100s of Professional Institutions including those of national importance to have a re-look at their Admission Tests in the context of their validity in identifying the appropriate aptitude 100s of Universities, 1000s of Colleges, and 100000s of Schools across the country to get their Certification Tests in the context of their coverage in all the areas of learner growth 100s of Recruitment Agencies to review their Employment Tests in the context of their emphasis on the relevance on performance rather than competence 5 million Teachers of different disciplines for acquiring academic insights 50 million Learners to know their academic status with reference to the national and regional norms 30 million NRIs & PIOs6 to get their knowledge of the subject determined for availing educational facility in India 50 million inter-state Migrants to ascertain their eligibility status in the new location various School Boards and UGC will have a scientific basis to recognise the institutions and to determine the quantum of financial support to be extended.

NTS evolves National & Regional Norms and establishes Benchmarks/Standards

1 .  NAAC - National Assessment and Accreditation Council; NBA - National Board of Accreditation;
NBE - National Board of Examination; AICTE - All India Council for Technical Education.

2 .  NPE - National Policy on Education; POA - Programme Of Action; NPE (RC) - National Policy on Education
(Ramamoorthy Committee); CABE - Central Advisory Board on Education.

3 .  The profile of the Centre for Testing & Evaluation may be viewed in its official
websites : www.ciil-miles.net and www.ciil-ntsindia.net

4 .  Inter and intra language comparability (eg. whether Kannada MA is comparable to Kashmiri MA; whether the
competence of a Science Graduate of Mysore University is comparable to that of the Madras University;
whether the School Final Certificate issued by the NCT of Delhi is comparable to that of A.P. or U.P. State).

5 .  Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chandigarh, Chhattisgarh, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir,
Jharkhand, Karnataka, Madhya Pradesh, Maharastra, Puducherry, Rajasthan, Uttarakhand, Uttar Pradesh,
Tamilnadu, and West Bengal.

6 .  NRI-Non-Resident Indian;  PIO-Person of Indian Origin.

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