CBM India Trust and Pratham Launch Assessment for All (AfA) Tool: A Tool to Assess Foundational Skills of Learners, Including Learners with Disabilities

Launch of Assessment for All (AfA) Tool by CBM India Trust, Pratham and ASER
Launch of Assessment for All (AfA) Tool by CBM India Trust, Pratham and ASER

Delhi, India | 4th December 2019: The Assessment for All (AfA) Tool: The first ever inclusive tool which can assess foundational skills of learners, with and without disabilities was launched today at an event organized by CBM India Trust, Pratham and ASER at the India International Centre (IIC), Delhi.

Launch of Assessment for All (AfA) Tool by CBM India Trust, Pratham and ASER
Launch of Assessment for All (AfA) Tool by CBM India Trust, Pratham and ASER

Releasing the tool, the Jt. Secretary UNDP Ms. Tarika Roy said, “I would like to thank Team CBM, Pratham and ASER and hope this tool is ASERDAAR (impactful) enough to keep going,” said that the tool should be validated in a larger field. This was endorsed by Mr. Subodh Kumar member secretary RCI, and requested that the tool be shared with the Rehab council of India for wider use.

India has made considerable progress in the enrolment of children with disabilities in schools. The Unified District Information System for Education (U-DISE 2016-17) report states that 2,095,969 children with disabilities are enrolled in schools. National level surveys on measuring learning levels of children, do not currently measure learning of children with disabilities nor is there a standardized tool which can be used in large-scale assessments to measure the foundational skills of children both with and without disabilities. 

This inclusive tool based on the Annual Status of Education Report (ASER) tool has been developed to bridge this gap, in partnership between CBM and Pratham. The tool has been designed to assess foundational skills for literacy and numeracy acquisition in children between the age group 5 to 16 years who have had a minimum two years of educational intervention. The tool has been piloted in 49 schools and communities, with the support of the Social Welfare Department in Mumbai, Delhi, Bhopal and Rajasthan.

The “Assessment for All” is a multipurpose tool that can be used to measure learning outcomes of all children including those with disability and also serves as a diagnostic tool to find out the learning difficulties encountered by children particularly in the areas of numeracy and literacy.

Education for all can be fully realized only when children with disabilities are included in the mainstream systems. However, enrolment alone does not assure effective academic inclusion which demands proper assessment of their learning needs to initiate appropriate interventions.

The Assessment for All tool has potential not only to assess but to plan intervention strategies too.

CBM India and the ASER Centre of the Pratham have brought out this vital tool with the inputs received from national as well as international experts in the areas of disability, assessment and research. The tool has evolved through multi-layer piloting involving children with disabilities and non-disabled children and the team has brought out a significant research report to support the validity of the tool. The wealth of research data accompanying the publication of this tool provides testimony to the reliability and replicability of the tool for all children. Administration of this tool as a part of national surveys will help in planning intervention strategies through teacher preparation and production of appropriate learning materials to provide quality education for all said Dr. MNG Mani in his message which he shared for the event, CEO, International Council for Education of People with Visual Impairment and Advisor, Education for CBM.

The release was attended by over 100 representatives from the government, civil society, academia and partners. The programme started with the inaugural speech by Ms. Rukmini Banerji, CEO Pratham on various aspects of schooling, mentioning the good steps taken as “Assessment for All” tool for the learners especially with disabilities. Later T.D. Dhariyal, State Commissioner for Persons with Disabilities, NCT of Delhi, in his key note address focused on out of school children with disability, highlighting the equal reach of the assessment tool. This was followed by the panel discussions, with panelists from diverse fields. In the discussion, Dr. Sudesh Mukhopadhyay was the moderator for the panel discussion, panelist 1- Ms. Sian Tesni, Global Advisor for Inclusive Education, CBM International presented on the title “Global Perspective on Education and Inclusive Assessment”, panelist 2- Mr. Rudra Sahoo, Education Specialists, UNICEF (Learning and Assessment) on Inclusive Assessment and its relevance to influence research and data, and lastly panelist 3- Dr. Varsha Gathoo, Reader/Head, Ali Yavar Jung National Institute for Speech and Hearing Disabilities, on Practioner’s view on inclusive designs and assessment.

Lighting of the lamp was followed after the panel discussion with dignitaries like Ms. Tarika Roy, Joint Secretary, Department of Empowerment of Persons with Disabilities, Ministry of Social Justice Empowerment, Mr. T.D. Dhariyal, Ms. Sian Tesni, Dr. Sara Vaughese – Managing Trustee, CBM India Trust, Ms. Farida Lambay, and Dr. Wilima Wadhwa on Assessment for All (AfA) tool.

Dr. Subodh Kumar – Rehabilitation Council of India, Ms. Huma Masood – UNESCO, Anita Julkha – NCERT, Ms. Pearly – SSA, graced the event and shared their perspectives around disability inclusive education and how this tool would be helpful in assessing our education system and not just a child.

This tool is the first of its kind in the country and is expected to be widely used by various educational institutions to assess the learning outcome specially of children with disabilities.

Pratham is an innovative learning organization seeking to improve the quality of education in India through high-quality, low-cost, and replicable interventions to address gaps in the education system with a mandate of ‘Every Child in School and Learning Well’.

CBM is a disability and development organization, committed to improving the quality of life of people with disabilities in the poorest communities. CBM works in 26 states of India for the health, education, livelihoods and inclusion of persons with disabilities without any discrimination on religion, gender, community, caste or creed. We seek to address the barriers that hinder access and participation and actively seek to ensure the full participation of people with disabilities. Our work includes ensuring inclusive education for all, reaching the most marginalized including children with disabilities.