SAFAL is Structured Assessment for Analyzing Learning (SAFAL), a competency-based assessment for Grades 3, 5 and 8 to assess the progress of foundational skills and basic learning outcomes/competencies among students.
Para 4.40 of the National Education Policy 2020 recommends that for the benefit of students, parents, teachers, principals, and the entire schooling system in planning improvements to schools and teaching-learning processes, all students will take school examinations in Grades 3, 5, and 8 which would test achievement of basic learning outcomes, through assessment of core concepts along with relevant higher-order skills and application of knowledge in real-life situations, rather than rote memorization.
In this context, CBSE launched Structured Assessment for Analyzing Learning (SAFAL), a competency-based assessment for Grades 3, 5 and 8 to assess the progress of foundational skills and basic learning outcomes/competencies among students. SAFAL, as a diagnostic assessment, will provide developmental feedback to schools and teachers to improve teaching-learning without additional examination pressure on students. It has been designed to help students, parents, and teachers to track learning progress throughout the school years and not just in Grades 10 and 12. SAFAL results will not be used in any manner by schools for the promotion of students to the next grade.
Is It Compulsory?
SAFAL will be conducted on a pilot basis in CBSE schools for students in Grades 3, 5 and 8 during the academic year 2021-22, in key curricular areas of Language, Mathematics, and EVS/Science. CBSE is inviting affiliated schools to participate in SAFAL 2021-22. The details on the assessment and registration for SAFAL in will be released on CBSE website in due course of time.
So, it’s not compulsory for all in the session 2021-22. But if everything works well, CBSE will apply it to all the affiliated schools in the future. That’s why we recommend all CBSE affiliated schools assimilate the system and get their school ready for it on time.
SAFAL PILOT 2021-22
SAFAL will be conducted on a pilot basis in CBSE schools for students in Grades 3, 5 and 8 during the academic year 2021-22. The assessment will track schools’ progress on core competencies and include the following subjects and languages :
Grade 3 : Pilot assessment for Language and Mathematics offered in the school’s language of instruction for Hindi and English medium schools.
Grade 5 : Assessment for Language, EVS, and Mathematics offered in the school’s language of instruction for Hindi and English medium schools.
Grade 8 : Assessment for Language, Science and, Mathematics offered in the school’s language of instruction for Hindi and English medium schools.
In the first year (2021-22), SAFAL will be conducted in a sample set of schools for Grade 3. For Grades 5 and 8, SAFAL will be offered to all schools.
KEY FEATURES OF SAFAL IN 2021-22
The languages assessed in the pilot assessment in the first year of implementation will be English and Hindi
- The mode of administration for the pilot would be digital with the option of paper-based administration for schools with limited infrastructure or lack of access to internet facilities. To this effect, CBSE, in conjunction with Centre for Development of Advance Computing (CDAC), would engage with experts to develop a centralized, digital and non-adaptive computer-based assessment software.
- In the first year of the assessment, question papers will be shared with schools for implementation through digital/ pen and paper mode.
- Schools can conduct the assessment for their students in Grades 5 and 8 and upload assessment data.
- For Grade 3, the assessment may be implemented in a sample set of schools with 1-1 administration of questions.
- To provide accurate diagnostic information, the assessment will test competencies up to two grades below the testing level to ensure the data does not have floor effects.
- Report cards generated from the assessment pilot will report schools’ performance on core competencies, for the development of learning outcomes and core competencies.
ASSESSMENT FRAMEWORK OF SAFAL
An Assessment Framework is a document that uses consistent terminology to communicate the purpose and characteristics of the learning assessment to individuals/ groups who are working on it and to a broader audience. It emphasizes the validity of the assessment by making explicit the aim of the assessment, and what it will cover in terms of content, skills, knowledge, and context. A framework also helps those in the wider community to understand what the assessment is about and what the assessment results mean.
Considering the importance of an Assessment Framework, a competency-based assessment framework will be developed for SAFAL, which will include competencies, sub-competencies and define learning outcomes or indicators at various levels for literacy, numeracy, science/EVS, and other core elements of Language and Mathematics. This framework will be the key guiding document for item development.
The assessment will test core concepts from the curriculum along with application and higher-order thinking skills. Learning outcomes will be aligned to national curricula and global assessment framework such as the Global Proficiency framework for Reading and Mathematics.
As an example, Knowledge and Skill by domain, construct and grade level as per the Global Proficiency framework for Mathematics is included here. The framework design specifically factors in assessment at a given proficiency level of the test taker. Thus, for a given grade, the framework would test student proficiency on two levels below grade level.
In simple terms, the assessment for a Grade 5 student would account for the proficiency level of a child who may be at a Grade 3, 4 or 5 level. The items developed will have diverse Grade level texts and help to account for the disparity in proficiency levels of students’ learning. This data would be of diagnostic value for students/schools.
In future cycles of the assessment, teachers may be given secure access to student-level data on the competencies tested through the SAFAL examinations. The reports will facilitate teachers’ understanding of the student learning levels and the proficiency descriptors can help teachers understand what students know and can do in different subjects. As the report will be diagnostic in nature, it would avoid disclosing raw or percentage scores to prevent misuse of data for promoting/ failing a child. This type of reporting will ensure that every child, irrespective of their performance on the scale, would have 3-4 competencies that they need to improve upon in a subject, which would be disclosed to their teacher.