There is a hypothesis that Indian students do not meet grade-level reading expectations because they do not read books outside their school’s curriculum. This leads to a trickle-down effect in other areas of academic and cognitive development as well.
In our schools, we do not concentrate on teaching the skills required for reading explicitly. These are skills children are expected to pick up on their own. As a result, their fluency in the language and comprehension levels remain underdeveloped, hindering the overall academic progress.
Our mission at Stones2Milestones is to create a nation of readers. In a new and groundbreaking step in this direction, we have created India’s first pure-play and standardised online reading assessment, called FAST. This free assessment for grades 4-6 can be taken in the school setting by invite only. It is a 40-minute test.
FAST is India’s first pure play, personalised and adaptive reading skill assessment, designed to measure a child’s reading abilities and expertise levels against national benchmarks. It has been created by seasoned practitioners, experts, educators and thought leaders from Harvard, IIM, SRCC and MICA after a decade of research on reading and its undisputed importance in the overall development of an individual.
FAST tests children’s meaning-making (comprehension) and word use fluency (vocabulary) in various degrees of complexity. By the end of grade 3, a child should have become an independent reader of unknown text with full comprehension and fluency. By grade 4, children are far more likely to have the foundation needed to read a variety of texts and other material.
As a result of their scores on these two skill tests, FAST measures children’s independent reading ability and aims to show where in the spectrum are our children reading today – at grade level, below grade level or above grade level. The assessment is based on internationally established reading outcomes and assessment principles as laid down by PIRLS (global), Common Core (USA) and NCF 2005 (India) * it is contextualised to meet culture and comfort of Indian children also adaptive assessment to suit children’s personalised learning needs.
FAST Reading Assessment can be given one-on-one, by each child within the school premises under supervision, conducted and coordinated at a pre-defined time slot. It helps the schools to identify children who may be at risk of academic non-performance and provide corrective guidance and recommended interventions for supporting children who are either at risk or need a boost to improve. It also provides support in improving every child’s reading, learning and expression abilities that build future academic success. It recommends best practices for schools and parents on how to transform a good reader into a great one.
At the end of the test, children can see their section wise scores. A detailed child-wise and school-wise report card is also presented to the school in due course.
This reading assessment is completely FREE of charge for schools across the country, although the slots are limited (on first come first serve basis). Registrations are open for schools until October 31st, 2017. The deadline for administering the test is 30th November 2017. In order to qualify for the national benchmarking report, schools are requested to take the assessment before 31st October.
Leading schools from across the country have joined the movement by taking the assessment and committing to make India PISA ready by 2021 including:
– The Riverside School, Ahmedabad
– Blue Bells International School, Delhi
– DPS North, Bengaluru
– Doon International School, Dehradun
– Army Public School, Delhi NCR
– Bishops School Camp, Pune
– EURO School Chain
– Billabong High School, Bhopal
– The Heritage School, Kolkata
Here is what some of them had to say regarding their experience:
“It was easy to implement, it was interesting and age appropriate. The students were excited and did it without stress. On the whole, we are glad we participated.” – Neena Singh, Leading Educationist and Executive Director Akshar School, Kolkata
“Our students of classes 4th, 5th, 6th had taken the reading assessment test and I am delighted to tell you that our students found it interesting and enriching. Our students were excited to take the test as it was the first time they took such an online test. I would like you to prepare this reading assessment tests for classes 8th, 9th & 10th too as it would be a good exposure for them.” – Harshmani Sai, Tribune Model School, Chandigarh
“The registration process was very simple and easy to follow. The students were able to do it themselves. The range of text and questions also seemed varied. We now look forward to knowing what we can do as a school to take the reading level higher.”– Nandini Parekh, The Riverside School, Ahmedabad
“The Fast Reading assessment test for students from grades 4, 5 & 6, all in all, was a joyous experience for the children, which is our top priority.” – Archana Zulfiqar, Billabong High School, Bhopal
We invite all schools to join this endeavour to help measure the reading levels of our children. This is the first step to resolving a crucial drawback in our education system.