Continuous assessment programmes, which emphasise frequent evaluation over infrequent, high-stakes testing, are an increasingly popular way to improve student learning outcomes. In this VoxDevTalk, Jim Berry discusses his work with Harini Kannan, Shobhini Mukerji, and Marc Shotland in which the authors investigate the roll out of frequent assessment policies among a large sample of primary schools in northwest India. Their randomised controlled trial, which takes advantage of a new and nationally mandated programme, uncovers no impact on language and maths skills. But, while frequent evaluation programmes are designed to provide up-to-date information so teachers may adapt to meet student needs, challenges such as onerous standards for paperwork stand as the biggest barriers to success. The more time teachers spend complying with a complex programme, the less time they have to remediate learning deficits.
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