Examination & Pass Criteria

1) Assessment

Assessment is that part of the learning process where the learner and the teacher can evaluate progress or achievement in the development of a particular skill, or in the understanding of a particular area of knowledge. In the early years, such assessment is generally informal based on observation by a parent/guardian or early learning practitioner. The American High School Diploma Program curriculum specifies two broad categories of assessment: Internal and External. Internal Assessment refers to the collective set of all assessments applied and used by the school. The External Assessment on the other hand refers to all the assessments conducted centrally by the Examination Committee of the American High School Diploma Program.

In Primary Level Program, this informal observation is supplemented by a range of assessment tools including teacher-designed tests and tasks, project work and portfolios across the curriculum. Standardised tests in reading and mathematics are also widely used in primary schools. In post-primary schools the external examinations - the SLP Certificate and HSLP Certificate examinations - are also used to evaluate achievement across the curriculum.

Assessment generates important information about how a learner is progressing. This information can be shared with the leaner in the form of feedback which should help the learner to become more aware of their own strengths and weaknesses, and identify next steps and strategies for improvement. The information is also important for teacher planning. Assessment information can help a teacher to choose the right resource materials for a learner or for a class, and to plan and structure the learning to meet the different needs of different learners. Assessment information is also important for parents, and is reported to them as part of all schools’ reporting process.

Another type of internal assessment - screening or diagnostic assessment – is also useful, especially in the early years of Primary Level Program. If a parent or teacher suspects that a child may have a specific difficulty, or if the child is not progressing as well as their peers, the learning support or class teacher may use a special test or series of tests that provided more detailed information for the teacher and the parents about the child’s learning needs.

Introduction

Assessment is part of adults’ day-to-day interactions with children. Adults (which generally/specifically implies teachers at schools) continually make judgements about children’s learning and development and use the information they gather to help children to progress. Children too make judgements about what they are good at, what they enjoy doing, what they can do now with a little help, and what they would like to be able to do in the future. These guidelines describe what assessment is and show what it should look like.

What is assessment? Why is it important?

Assessment is the ongoing process of collecting, documenting, reflecting on, and using information to develop rich portraits of children as learners in order to support and enhance their future learning.

Assessment enables the teacher/assessor to find out what children understand, how they think, what they are able to do, and what their dispositions and interests are. This information helps the teacher/assessor to build rich stories of children as capable and competent learners in order to support further learning and development. In doing this, he/she uses the assessment information to give on-going feedback to children about how they are getting on in their learning, to provide challenging and enjoyable experiences for them, to choose appropriate supports for them, and to document, celebrate and plan the next steps in their learning.

Put simply, the teacher/assessor considers the following questions when thinking about assessment:

Element Questions
Making a judgement

What aspects of children’s learning and development do I want to focus on in my assessment?

Who will make the judgement – me, the children, or both of us?

Recording

How will I record the judgement—as a mental note, as a written note, as a comment or story, as a drawing, as a photograph or video-recording, on a checklist?

How will I ensure that, over time, I am building up rich portraits of children’s learning and development?

Will I give children opportunities to record their own judgements? How?
Sharing

What do I want to say to children about their learning and development?

What do I want to share with children’s parents?

How will I share the assessment information?

Approaches to Assessment

Assessment for Learning and Assessment of Learning are two approaches to assessment. The two differ in how the teacher/assessor uses the information he/she collects. The main purpose of Assessment of Learning is to inform others, like parents and professionals, such as therapists, about children’s achievement. Assessment for Learning focuses on using assessment information to help children with the next steps in their learning and development. While both approaches are important, these guidelines focus on the teacher/assessor using assessment on a daily basis to help children progress in their learning and development across all curriculum areas. This is Assessment for Learning.

‘Doing’ assessment

The four assessment actions — collecting, documenting, reflecting on, and using information — overlap and often happen at the same time. At times the teacher/assessor uses all four actions at once and at other times undertakes just one or two. On occasions the teacher/assessor assesses within a few seconds or minutes, but often assessment takes place over a number of days or weeks. Sometimes the teacher/assessor assesses without even planning to. At other times, he/she plans to focus on particular aspects of learning and development across specific areas of curriculum. The table below summarises some key features of good assessment practice:

Assessment The teacher
Benefits children

gives feedback to children on their learning and development as part of his/her daily interactions with them

makes decisions that build on past experiences and support new learning and development
Involves children

talks with children to understand their learning and development

gives children opportunities to think about what they did, said, made, and learned, and helps them plan what they will do next
Makes sense for children

assesses as part of everyday activities, events, routines, and interactions, and uses objects, places and people which are familiar and interesting to children

Involves children’s families

provides parents with insights into their children’s learning and gives suggestions for how they might support learning at home

gives parents opportunities to share information about their children’s learning and development
Uses many methods

uses methods such as self-assessment, conversations, observations, tasks, and tests

uses methods in a way that is appropriate, given children’s ages, backgrounds and stages of learning and development
Happens over time

collects and uses information on a daily basis

over time, builds a rich portrait of each child as a learner
Celebrates the breadth and depth of children’s learning and development provides evidence of children’s learning and development across the dispositions, skills, attitudes and values, knowledge, and understanding

What do I assess and when?

In assessing, the adult looks for evidence of children’s progress across four themes:

Dispositions: for example curiosity, concentration, resilience, and perseverance

Skills: for example walking, cutting, writing, and problem-solving

Attitudes and values: for example respect for themselves and others, care for the environment, and positive attitudes to learning and to life

Knowledge and understanding: for example classifying objects using colour and size, learning ‘rules’ for interacting with others, finding out about people in their community, and understanding that words have meaning

What information do I document, why and how?

Documentation provides a record of student’s learning and development. This record helps to tell the story of student’s journeys as capable and competent learners. The teacher/assessor documents important points about what students understand, can do, and how they approach learning. He/she also sometimes records in more detail student’s involvement in particular events or activities in order to create a fuller picture of the richness and complexity of their learning and development. This storytelling approach is especially useful in Primary Level Program. Documentation can include written notes, stories, photographs, video footage, and samples of what children make, do and say, such as models, sculptures, pictures, paintings, projects, scribed comments, responses, or statements. Teachers/Assessors and students use this evidence of learning to celebrate progress and achievement, and to plan the next steps in learning. Documentation also enables the adult and/or children to share information with parents. This can help parents to build on their ward’s out-of-home experiences while at home, and so make learning more enjoyable and successful. In the case of some students, documentation provides critical information in helping to identify special educational needs, in putting appropriate supports in place, and in reviewing the impact of these interventions.

How do I store assessment information and for how long?

Assessment information can be stored in children’s learning portfolios, in a practitioner’s files, and in central files.

Children’s learning portfolios

A portfolio is a helpful way of compiling information about children’s learning and development. The portfolio can take the form of a folder, a scrapbook, a shoe, cereal or pizza box, or something similar in which objects made by the children, photographs, stories, notes, records of care, checklists, and test scores (where relevant), are kept. This collection tells the story of each child’s learning journey—his/her efforts, progress and achievement over time. Portfolios can help give children a sense of pride in and ownership of their own learning and development. For example, children can select work samples and photographs for their portfolios, reflect on these, and, with the adult’s help, plan ahead. This experience can make learning more enjoyable and interesting for them.

Practitioner’s file

Practitioners working in out-of-home settings can keep a file which includes a record for each child in their group or class. This record might include details of observations, conversations with children and their parents, events, and incidents as they occur in the setting. The practitioner adds to this record as necessary. In this way, it is a ‘running record’.

Central files

Certain information about students needs to be kept in a central file in out-of-home settings. This might include parents’ names and contact details, medical information, reports and information from other professionals such as therapists, and so on. In the case of settings in which there are a number of practitioners, it might be especially important for this type of information to be accessible in a central location. Where children attend a setting for more than one year, the adult can transfer important points of information about children’s learning and development from the practitioner’s file to this central file at the end of a year or other period of time. Assessment information gathered within the setting and by other professionals (for example, reports received from a therapist) should be stored safely and used only by those concerned with children’s learning and development. It is also important that the information is used only for the purpose for which it was collected and documented. Information can be stored using a structured, manual filing system, and/or electronically. Where electronic records are kept, the teacher/assessor can include photographs of items made by students.

How to use the information collected and documented at the school level?

Thinking about what to do, how to do it and why, and then judging how well it went is part of any professional’s work. The reflective adult uses information about children’s learning and development to think about his/her practice, and to identify how to improve it. He/she may do this in partnership with colleagues and/or other professionals. This reflection may result in the adult changing the way he/she interacts with children and their parents, re-organising the room, changing routines, planning particular activities, and providing specific materials and objects. The adult also shares assessment information with the children and their parents and uses the information to plan for children’s progress.

Supporting children with special educational needs

Assessment information can alert the adult to potential difficulties experienced by children. By bringing concerns to the attention of parents and other professionals, the adult plays a critical role in helping to access appropriate supports to enable children to progress in their learning and to limit the potential impact of the disability or difficulty on future learning and development. The supports may include putting a specific learning programme in place for a child. This might be based on an Individual Education Plan (IEP). The IEP is a comprehensive working document that should be developed by the school, with support from the corresponding/relevant doctor/therapist/expert and with information and support from the parents, setting out prioritised learning needs, goals and strategies to support a child’s learning and to map his/her progress.

With whom do I share information?

By talking regularly to children about their learning and development, they can decide with the adult what they should do next and how. Sharing information with parents is equally important, so that they can support their children at home and, where necessary, work with the setting to organise additional supports for their children. In some cases, where a concern exists about learning and development, the adult may advise parents to get a referral letter from their doctor in order to have the child assessed. In the case of some children, and with parental consent, the adult shares assessment information with others such as therapists, Special Educational Needs Organisers and inspectors in order to access specific supports and/or resources.

01. General Conditions regarding scheme of examinations

  1. The Scheme of Examinations and Pass Criteria for American High School Diploma Program Examination conducted by the NWAC shall be as laid down from time to time.
  2. Grade XI examination shall be conducted by the schools themselves under the supervision and guidance of NWAC Regional Agency
  3. The NWAC or its Regional Agency will conduct the external examinations at the end of Grade XII.
  4. Grade XII examination will be based on the syllabi as prescribed by the NWAC for Grade XII from time to time.
  5. Number of papers, duration of examination and marks for each subject/paper will be as specified in the curriculum for the year. Please refer to the attached syllabus for further information on this.
  6. The examination would be conducted in theory as well as in practical examination (70% theory and 30% practical portions), depending upon the nature of the subject(s) and the marks/grades allotted shall be as prescribed in the curriculum.
  7. Marks/grades shall be awarded for individual subjects and the aggregate marks shall not be given.

02. GRADING

  1. Assessment of theory/practical papers in external subjects shall be in numerical scores. In addition to numerical scores, the NWAC shall indicate grades in the mark sheets issued to the candidates in case of subjects of external examinations. In case of internal assessment subjects, only grades shall be shown.
  2. Letter grades on a six-point scale shall be used. The conversion chart for conversion from one out of marks, grade and GPA is mentioned below:
  3. Grade Percentage GPA
    A 90-100 4
    B 80-89 3
    C 70-79 2
    D 60-69 1
    E 33-59 0.5
    F 0-32 0
    A student obtaining less than 33% marks in any subject shall be considered ‘FAIL’ in that particular subject.
  4. The grades shall be derived from scores in case of subjects of external examination. In case of subjects of internal assessment including practical examinations, the schools shall submit the scores of that internal assessment to NWAC Regional Agency who shall in turn award the respective grades.
  5. The qualifying marks in each subject of external examination shall be 33%. However, in a subject involving practical work, a candidate must obtain 33% marks in the theory and 33% marks in the practical separately in addition to 33% marks in aggregate, in order to qualify in that subject.

03. MERIT CERTIFICATES

  1. The NWAC will award Merit Certificates in each subject to the top 0.1% of candidates passing that subject, provided that they have passed the examination as per the pass criteria of the NWAC at the American High School Diploma Program Examination.
  2. The number of merit certificates in a subject will be determined by rounding off the number of candidates passing the subject to the nearest multiple of thousand. If the number of candidates passing a subject is less than 500, no merit certificate will be issued.
  3. In the matter of a tie, if one student gets a merit certificate, all candidates getting that score will get the merit certificate.

04. Scheme of Examination

  1. The NWAC shall conduct examination in all subjects in the theory portion and all portions of practical examination shall be conducted by the school.
  2. In all subjects examined by the NWAC, a student will be given one paper each carrying 100 marks for 3 hours. However, in subjects requiring practical examination, there will be a theory paper and practical examinations as required in the syllabi and courses.
  3. In Physical Education, the Schools will maintain cumulative records of student's periodical achievements and progress during the year. These records are subject to the scrutiny of the NWAC as and when deemed fit.
  4. A candidate from a recognised school who has some physical deformity or is otherwise unable to take part in Physical Health Education, may be granted exemption by the Chairman on the recommendation of the Head of the School, supported by the medical certificate from a Medical Officer of the rank not below an Assistant Surgeon.
  5. A candidate may offer an additional subject which can be either a language at elective level or another elective subject as prescribed in the Scheme of Studies, subject to the conditions laid down in the Pass Criteria.

05. Pass Criteria

  1. A candidate will be eligible to get the pass certificate of the NWAC, if she gets a grade higher than 'E' in all subjects of internal assessment unless she is exempted. Failing this, result of the external examination will be withheld but not for a period of more than one year.
  2. In order to be declared as having passed the examination, a candidate shall obtain a grade equivalent or higher than E (i.e., at least 33% marks) in all the five subjects of external examination in the main or at the end of the compartmental examination. The pass marks in each subject of external examination shall be 33%. In case of a subject involving practical work a candidate must obtain 33% marks in theory and 33% marks in practical separately in addition to 33% marks in aggregate in order to qualify in that subject.
  3. No overall division/distinction/aggregate shall be awarded.
  4. In respect of a candidate offering an additional subject, the following norms shall be applied:
  5. Candidates exempted from one or more subjects of internal examination shall be eligible for appearing in external examination and result shall be declared subject to fulfilment of other conditions laid down in the Pass Criteria.
    1. A language offered as an additional subject may replace a language in the event of a candidate failing in the same provided after replacement the candidate has English/ Hindi as one of the languages.
    2. An elective subject offered as an additional subject may replace one of the elective subjects offered by the candidate. It may also replace a language provided after replacement the candidate has English/Hindi as one of the languages.
    3. Additional language offered at elective level may replace an elective subject provided after replacement; the number of languages offered shall not exceed two.
  6. In order to be declared as having passed the Class XI Examination, a candidate shall obtain 33% marks in all the subjects. The pass marks in each subject of examination shall be 33%. In case of subject involving practical work a candidate must obtain 33% marks in theory and 33% in practical separately in addition to 33% marks in aggregate in order to qualify in that subject.

06. ELIGIBILITY FOR COMPARTMENT EXAMINATION

A candidate failing in one of the five subjects of external examination shall be placed in compartment in that subject provided she qualifies in all the subjects of internal assessment.

07. Compartment Examination

  1. A candidate placed in compartment examination may reappear at the compartmental examination to be held in July the same year, may avail herself of second chance in March/April and third chance in July of next year. The candidate will be declared 'PASS' provided she qualifies the compartmental subjects in which she had failed. Syllabi and Courses shall be the same as applicable for the candidates of full subjects appearing at the examination in the year concerned.
  2. A candidate who fails to appear or fails at one or all the chances of compartment examination shall be treated to have failed in the examination and shall be required to reappear in all the subjects at the subsequent annual examination of the NWAC as per syllabi and courses laid down for the examination concerned in order to pass the examination. The candidates' practical marks/internal assessment marks obtained in the Main examination will be carried over till the third chance compartmental examination. The candidate shall have the option to appear at the practical examination in the subjects involving practical or retain their previous marks in one more annual examination after the third chance compartment.
  3. A candidate placed in compartment shall be allowed to appear at the subsequent three chances of Compartment only in those subjects in which she has been placed in compartment.
  4. For subjects involving practical work, in case the candidate has passed in practical at the main examination she shall appear only in theory part and previous practical marks will be carried forward and accounted for. In case a candidate has not qualified/failed in practical/internal assessment she shall have to appear in theory and practical/internal assessment both irrespective of the fact that she has already qualified/cleared the theory examination.

08. Retention of Practical Marks in Respect of Failure Candidates

  1. A candidate who has failed at the Senior School Certificate Examination in the first attempt shall be required to re-appear in all the subjects at the subsequent annual examination of the NWAC. She shall appear only in theory part and her previous practical marks will be carried forward and accounted for if she has passed in practical. In case a candidate has failed in practical she shall have to appear in theory and practical both. If she fails to pass the examination in two consecutive years, after the first attempt, she shall have to reappear in all the subjects including practical.

09. Additional Subject(s)

  1. A candidate who has passed the American High School Diploma Program Examination of the NWAC may offer an additional subject as a private candidate provided the additional subject is provided in the Scheme of Studies and is offered within six years of passing the examination of the NWAC. No exemption from time limit will be given after six years. Facility to appear in additional subject will be available at the annual examination only.
  2. However, candidates appearing in six subjects at the American High School Diploma Program Examination having been declared 'Pass' by virtue of securing pass marks in five subjects, without replacement, may reappear in the failing sixth additional subject at the Compartment Examination to be held in July the same year, provided she had appeared at the examination held in March in the said additional subject.

10. Improvement of Performance

  1. A candidate who has passed an examination of the NWAC may reappear for improvement of performance in one or more subjects in the succeeding year only; however, a candidate who has passed an examination of the NWAC under Vocational Scheme may reappear for improvement of performance in the main examination in the succeeding year or the following year provided they have not pursued higher studies in the mean time. They will appear as private candidates. Those reappearing for the whole examination may, however, appear as regular candidates also if admitted by the school as regular students. The candidate (s) appearing for improvement of performance can appear in the subject (s) only in which they have appeared for the Examination.
  2. For subjects involving practical work, in case the candidate has passed in practical at the main examination, she shall be allowed to appear in theory part only and marks in practical obtained at the main examination shall be carried forward and accounted for. In case a candidate has failed in practical, she shall have to appear in theory and practical both irrespective of the fact that she has already cleared the theory examination.
  3. Candidates who appear for Improvement of Performance will be issued only Statement of Marks reflecting the marks of the improvement examination.
  4. A candidate appearing for Improvement of Performance in one or more subjects cannot appear for additional subject simultaneously.
  5. Candidates appearing in six subjects at the American High School Diploma Program Examination having been declared 'Pass' by virtue of securing pass marks in five subjects as per Rule 2.2 (iv) may appear in the failing main subject at the Compartment Examination to be held in July the same year provided she had appeared at the Examination held in March in the said subject.

Examination Byelaws

Rest of conditions for appearing in the examination shall be as laid down in the Examination Byelaws of the NWAC from time to time.