Interview with Sivaramakrishnan V, MD, OUP India: The Way Forward for Indian Education & Assessment System

Interview with Sivaramakrishnan V, MD, OUP India: Way Forward for Indian Education & Assessment System

The Indian education system has always faced criticism for its unsubstantial focus on learning outcomes. The reason is the inability to assess various skills.

But with the advent of technology, education delivery and assessment are improving and driving quality learning.

When we got to know about the launch of Oxford STAR assessment program recently, we reached out to Sivaramakrishnan V, MD, OUP India to discuss the focus areas for the Indian school system and what role quality assessments play.

Below is a transcript from the interview done by EdTechReview's editorial team.

What according to you should be the focus areas for the Indian school education system going forward? What role does technology play?

The Indian school education system is a case of many contrasts – while on the one hand proliferation of technology in education has spurred the uptake of digital and online learning solutions in schools across the nation, there are an equal number of schools where the absence of a decent brick and mortar set-up is an impediment in delivering education even via the traditional ‘chalk and talk’ method. While we expect this degree of difference to remain, the expected outcome from both mediums of delivery is the same i.e. strong ‘evidence of the achievement of learning outcomes’. I think this should be a large area of focus for our schools, irrespective of their education board or pedagogical preference. In this context, high-quality and reliable standardized assessments, delivered online or offline, are extremely crucial.

Technology can help us derive actionable insights from these assessments. Detailed analysis of the student response data can help us to determine strengths and weaknesses in scholastic areas as well as 21st century skills, and also give us insight into learning orientations through personal and social competency based assessments. Armed with the right information and insights, interventions can be personalized for maximum impact on improving learning outcomes.

Why are assessments relevant, especially formative assessments over summative assessments?

Assessments are quite central to the instruction process – while summative assessments are well established, formative assessments are gaining ground given their role in not just the timely development/ correction of the instructional process but also as a continuous evidence of progress by the learner. Unlike summative assessments, formative assessments can be conducted in both formal and informal ways – they are therefore more fun, engaging and less daunting for the learner, making them a popular choice for institutions around the world. They allow the teacher and the student to establish a better understanding of the student’s abilities and to take mid-term course corrections, offering effective support at the point at which it is most needed.

As one of the world-leading education publishers what is OUP doing new in the space of digital education?

OUP has always innovated in the space of digital education. Our teacher and student resources cover a broad spectrum of subjects. We have expanded our portfolio to include an integrated learning solutions offer, Oxford Advantage, which is based on an integrated approach to the curriculum, seamlessly combining print and digital content and tools along with teacher training and mentoring. We have recently launched Oxford STAR which is a formative assessment solution that delivers rich actionable insights into students’ capabilities and personality. Oxford AREAL brings alive our textbooks with the power of Augmented Reality technology. Oxford Educate and Companion products provide additional content and tools to teachers and students. Oxford Achiever is a tool to develop English language knowledge and skills and provides an individualized, self-paced learning path with over 36 levels of complexity.

At OUP, we are constantly looking at ways to enhance the learning experience of the 21st century learner and teacher through the optimal and judicious use of technology.

OUP launched Oxford STAR recently – how do you expect this solution to impact learning outcomes?

Oxford STAR is an assessment solution intended to help students, teachers, parents and school administrators profile students' personality, scholastic ability and 21st century competencies and skills in a graded manner. This solution accelerates students’ progress by providing detailed remediation tailored to each student's specific needs. Oxford STAR empowers teachers and school administrators to tune the teaching-learning processes with the help of a deep and flexible reporting system. The solution is perfectly enabled to identify specific learning gaps and also help course correct, thereby enabling improved learning outcomes. The feedback from schools has been extremely encouraging.

What according to you are the three big take-aways for a school or a student that subscribes to STAR?

Oxford STAR is based on the STAR Competency framework which has been validated by a panel of national-level experts and SNDT Women’s University, Mumbai. Actionable insights can be derived at section, class and school level from the rich visual reports that span subject performance, competencies and skills, and the level of difficulty. The Personal and Social Competence assessments provides rich feedback on learning orientations and competencies. In addition, the product offers competency based remediation that can be directly implemented by teachers. The unique STAR index allows schools and students to assess where they stand as compared to local and national level benchmarks, with special recognition and awards for students.

Oxford STAR will not just enable the timely development/ correction of the instructional process but is also useful as a continuous evidence of progress by the learner. It will allow the teacher and the student to establish a better understanding of the student’s abilities and to take mid-term course corrections, offering effective support at the point at which it is most needed.

For more information on Oxford STAR please click on the link:

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