The British Council’s Examination Reform Project (ERP) aimed to contribute towards improved education quality in Nepal through the strengthening of the national examination systems. The project activities were all informed by the international evidence that quality national examinations can act as a powerful lever to influence quality teaching and learning in the classroom.
The Government of Nepal is committed to improving the quality of education as an integral part of major ongoing social sector reforms and expanded national economic development. British Council assisted Ministry of Education (MoE) and Office of the Controller of Examinations (OCE) in their commitment to reform school examination/assessment system, as set out in the strategic plan as School Sector Development Plan (SSDP 2016-2022).
In line with examination reform section of SSDP, in 2015, British Council Nepal identified the following areas to work under Examination Reform Project:
- Developing Examination Institutions
- Improving the Quality of Examinations
- Communicating and Sharing
- Capacity Building
Objective of the Project
The School Sector Reform Plan (SSRP) had identified the need for change in the examination system in Nepal. The successful implementation of these reforms has been the main focus of the MoE and the National Education System Plan (NESP) in the last five years. MoE found that the prioritisation is essential in the development of new assessment methodologies and examinations for effective changes to be made. The areas identified as priorities in SSRP are:
- The introduction of new, fairer forms of examination – especially at the school university interface
- The development of improved capacity in the fields of test design and administration
- The development of assessment tools that can be applied to new challenges including school-based assessment of student learning, the verification of ‘outcome standards’, and the evaluation of school effectiveness.
- The development of new agencies or an overarching assessment and examination body, introducing new standards of professionalism to examinations and other forms of assessment.
This is the national level project which can impact the entire education system of Nepal. Thus, implementing this project successfully will improve the quality of education of Nepal which is one of the main objectives of British Council. British Council is continuously working with MoE and its line agencies such as National Centre for Educational Development (NCED), Curriculum Development Centre (CDC), Department of Education (DoE) and Office of the Controller of Examination (OCE) to improve the education system of Nepal.
British Council aims to provide the Government of Nepal with technical expertise in improving the examination system of secondary education especially School Leaving Certificate (SLC) and establish an effective assessment system in national level examinations with the following characteristics:
- Fitness for purpose
- Equity, integrity and public confidence, of all types of assessment (not only exams)
- Efficiency and cost-effectiveness
- Transparency of procedures
- Positive effect on classroom practice.
Under Examination Reform Project, British Council started project activities in November 2015 after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with MoE and OCE. As per the MoU, British Council provided Technical Assistance in the following four components:
- Developing a Grading system for Nepal’s school examination
- Developing a Policy on Appeals system
- Developing Test items and Piloting testing for the English subject
- Developing Speaking and Listening test using ICT for English Subject
In 2015/16, ERP has succeeded in supporting the introduction of the new letter grading system and building the capacity of key MoE line agencies to understand the shift to letter grading and has suggested further means of disseminating information to stakeholders in this high-stakes area. ERP has also developed the knowledge and skills of a cadre of test-item writers and produced high-quality items to bank for English subject. Similarly, ERP has paved a clear path to work on improving examination system reform by creating interest in an appeals system and also demonstrated how technology can be used to conduct reliable, valid listening and speaking tests. The project components were piloted on 1600+ Grade 10 students in 20 different locations throughout Nepal. More importantly, the project engaged with 35 members of MoE line agencies at officer level and above to build the capacity of the system itself.
The project is now in its second phase and will expand the areas of work in alignment with MoE reform priorities and as per the objectives of this project. This is an exciting time for the education system in Nepal with the introduction of a National Examination Board and the implementation of the SSDP. The British Council looks forward to continuing to work with the Government of Nepal to strengthen education quality.