Unravelling CCE: Life Skills: How do we assess? Sep 2011

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Dear Educator,

In the previous issue we discussed how to make the FA process scientific and objective. We now take this theme to assessing Life Skills.

As always we look forward to your feedback, thoughts and contributions about CCE, and education in general.


Life Skills – How do we assess?

A Case of “Me First”

Step 1: Honing Life Skills and Values in Students


Social Science


Step 2: Assessing Life skills and Values on a 5 point scale

Assigning a grade

Descriptive Indicators

Questions and Suggestions

Education Around the World

Enabling CCE

Our Online Initiatives



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Yet another vexing problem that teachers face is — how to assess students on life skills, values and attitudes? Let’s tackle this here!

Before we jump in we’ll take a step back and reflect: What is the purpose of education? Some thoughts that come to mind are —

To make a child a good human being
a good citizen
a confident caring human
To equip a child with knowledge
study and reference skills
decision making and problem solving skills
thinking skills, critical and creative
an all round personality
proper values and attitudes
skills for employability
To face the challenges of life
the future

We can go on, but in brief, the purpose of education is to prepare a child for the future and for the workplace.

The irony is that no – where in a heartfelt sincere discussion will we utter the word ‘marks’ and now ‘grades’. That is the ultimate reality, and we as educators, know this in our hearts. So the onus is on us to offer holistic education with a great emphasis on values, attitudes and life skills. This is what makes an individual.

Parts 2A and 3A in the holistic assessment programme require the grading of students in this domain.

In recent years, academics vs wholesome development has become an important question among people interested in education. We have given links to some of those articles in our section, Education, Around the World, below.

We pause again before we evaluate someone else. It is vital, that we as educators, first inculcate and hone the values and life skills in students. We are preparing students for life, and not for exams, grades or evaluation. Secondly, we need to ask ourselves a very pertinent question, ‘Do I have these life skills? Is my awareness and sensitivity adequate enough for me to hone and assess my students?

What is of importance next, is have I honed skills in students before I assess them in it.

We have listed below a few activities that you will find in Ratna Sagar’s CCE edition books.
Maths line

1. Place Value – We dial 101 to call the Fire Brigade.

The number 1 less than 101 is _______We dial this to call the Police.

The number 1 more than 101 is _______We dial this to call an Ambulance.
2. Addition – Rahul’s father has ordered 50 pasteries for his birthday party.

How many guests should he be expecting? Tick (√) the correct option.

More than 50 ______ or Less than 50 _______
Social Science line

1. History – Values

The bhakti and sufi saints laid a lot of stress on Hindu-Muslim unity. Get into groups of five and design a poster on one of the following ideas.

  • Diwali has Ali in it and Ramzan has Ram in it.
  • M_sl_m and H_nd_—what is missing? U and I. Live and Let Live!
  • The two eyes of the nation—Hindu and Muslim

2. Civics – Attitudes

Every year Teacher’s Day is celebrated with enthusiasm. This year organize a ‘Workers Day’ for the helping staff of your school. You can elect the best and most honest worker and give her/him a prize. Organize lunch/tea for them. Give each worker a small, inexpensive but valuable gift made by you.
Science line

1. Food From Plants

Food is precious. Do not waste it.

When you go to your friend’s birthday party you enjoy yourself. You enjoy the food at the party. Tick (√) what you do at the party.

  • I take a large amount of food on my plate.
  • I take as much food as I want to eat on my plate.
  • If I want more food, I ask an adult to help me.

2. Safety First – Be a ‘medicine-watchman’.

Dia noticed her mother reading something written on the bottle before giving medicine to her sick brother. Do you think she was:

  • reading the name of the doctor?
  • finding out the amount of medicine to be given?
  • checking the expiry date on the bottle?
  • checking the price of the medicine?

Check the expiry date on the labels of the medicines at home. Ask your parents to throw away the medicines that have crossed the expiry date. We must never take any medicine without checking the expiry date.

CCE has acquainted us with the terms – thinking skills, social skills and emotional skills.

While grading a child most often we respond with a yes or no. For example, for a student Sheetal we might write:

  • thinking skills — yes,
  • social skills — no,
  • emotional skills — most definitely not, she cries and fights all the time.

However, in this area too, there needs to be objectivity.
Let us break down Life skills further —

1. Thinking skills Self Awareness, Critical Thinking, Creative Thinking, Problem Solving, Decision Making.
2. Social skills Interpersonal Skills, Effective Communication
3. Emotional Skills Empathy, Managing Emotions, Managing Stress

Now, When we grade a child on, say, thinking skills we need to keep ALL 5 skills in mind. Let us try to make a list of parameters for these skills.

1. Thinking skills
1.1 Self Awareness 1.1.1 Is aware of his/her physical/social and emotional self
1.1.2 Has a good self image
1.1.3 Knows his strengths and weaknesses
1.1.4 Shows confidence in facing challenges
1.1.5 Is optimistic
1.2 Critical thinking 1.2.1 Is able to assess a situation
1.2.2 Is given to reasoning and thinking logically
1.2.3 Listens to statements and arguments
1.2.4 Questions
1.2.5 Likes to find alternate solutions
1.3 Creative thinking 1.3.1 Identifies and states a problem
1.3.2 Has the courage to face a problem and is eager to look for solutions
1.3.3 Is happy to seek alternate solutions
1.3.4 Handles problems effectively
1.3.5 Views problems as stepping stones
1.4 Problem Solving 1.4.1 Is independent in thinking
1.4.2 Thinks out of the box
1.4.3 Comes up with alternate solutions
1.4.4 Has fluency of expression and ideas
1.4.5 Is cheerful and friendly
1.5 Decision Making 1.5.1 Is able to identify a problem and weigh the options at hand
1.5.2 Has the courage to make decisions independently
1.5.3 Is able to analyse critically
1.5.4 Has the courage to lead with ideas
1.5.5 Does not feel the need to turn to teachers for help all the time
2. Social skills
2.1 Interpersonal Skills 2.1.1 Is able to interact effectively with peers and teachers
2.1.2 Exhibits fine etiquettes and other social skills
2.1.3 Finds it natural and easy to share and discuss the feelings with others
2.1.4 Responsive to others’ interests and concerns
2.1.5 Is friendly and amiable
2.2 Effective Communication 2.2.1 Contributes frequently to group conversations
2.2.2 Knows the difference between being assertive, aggressive and submissive
2.2.3 Is able to make use of speech, action and expression while communicating
2.2.4 Exhibits good listening skills
2.2.5 Uses gestures, facial expressions and voice intonation to emphasize points
3. Emotional Skills
3.1 Empathy 3.1.1 Has a good sense of self awareness
3.1.2 Puts himself in others’ shoes
3.1.3 Understand others and relates with their problems
3.1.4 Respects other sand is tolerant of diversity
3.1.5 Is able to reach out to others and others turn to him as well
3.2 Managing Emotions 3.2.1 Is able to identify emotions
3.2.2 Is able to express emotions in an acceptable manner
3.2.3 Can express negative emotions like anger, irritation, hurt, sadness in a positive way
3.2.4 Remains cool and calm under all circumstances
3.2.5 Shares views very openly
3.3 Managing Stress 3.3.1 Is able to identify stress related situations
3.3.2 Is open to facing any situation, does not get unduly fazed
3.3.3 Is optimistic under
3.3.4 Accepts all situations and tries to find a workable solution
3.3.5 Remains calm and in charge

Assigning a grade line

Keeping the above parameters in mind, we can arrive at a grade while being fair, going by the principle of how many of these criteria a student satisfies – most, many, some, few, very few . . .

Many — A+
Most — A
Some — B+
Few — B
Very Few — C

Descriptive Indicators line

Then there is the matter of Descriptive Indicators. What do we write? Simple. Just take ideas from the above mentioned parameters and write them as descriptive indicators —
Thinking Skills

  1. Has strong creative skills, comes up with ‘out of the box’ solutions. Needs to work on thinking analytically and logically. This will help to make better decisions.
  2. Needs to improve problem solving and decision making skills. This will help him to be self reliant.
  3. Excellent sense of Self Awareness. Is very confident and assured. Good with problem Nee
  4. Needs to work on thinking skills. Must build a stronger self image to be able to understand himself and others.

Social Skills

  1. Excellent interpersonal skills. Communicates with ease and is open to suggestions. Is a good speaker.
  2. An effective communicator, Ajay not only wins oratorical competitions, but also expresses himself clearly and assertively.
  3. Needs to improve interpersonal and communication skills. Is very withdrawn. Should take the help of his classmates when they are willing to draw him out of his shell.
  4. Needs to improve his interpersonal skills. Is not able to differentiate between being aggressive and assertive. Tends to find himself in quarrels.
  5. Is very calm and composed and encourages classmates to share feelings and emotions. Is sought out by most of his classmates. Excellent interpersonal skills.

Emotional Skills

  1. Good emotional skills. Relates well with the problems of others. Manages emotions and stress well.
  2. Excellent emotional skills. Relates very well with everyone. Is calm and composed while facing any task. Is a role model to his peers.
  3. Needs to respect the views of others, must also learn to be tolerant of others. Shows all signs of aggression and anger. Needs support from home to help him handle emotions and stress.
  4. Manages emotions and stress, but can still improve. Must learn to understand and accept others’ views and ideas.
  5. Very good emotional skills. Expresses his emotions, both positive and negative in an acceptable way. Is able to face situations under any circumstance.

In the next issue, we will deal with assessment of values and attitudes.

Please email us your questions about CCE, any suggestions for future topics and any feedback about this newsletter to cce4u@ratnasagar.com
  • Technology in the classroom, does not necessarily lead to better learning. Read More
  • Does education prepare the child for life or does it make scoring an A as their only goal? Many child development experts fear that the ever increasing emphasis on academic grades may leave children helpless for their after-school life. Read More
  • The Finnish education model – preparing them for life, not just exams. Read More
We, at Ratna Sagar, have come out with CCE editions of our English, Science, Social Science, GK and Maths textbooks. Apart from the other unique features, they include activities that can be used for formative and summative assessment, life skills, multiple-choice questions, and more. To know more please click on the links given below or contact any of our representatives or email us at cce4u@ratnasagar.com
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Assessment reinforces learning. It is not just an aid for educators. CCE takes assessment to a new level. To help educators in carrying out formative assessment tasks like multiple choice tests, true and false, etc, we have a developed a computer based assessment system that can be setup in the school lab.

It also aids with the comprehensive record-keeping that CCE entails. The system also generates detailed student-wise and class-wise analytical reports of performance. For more details click the banner below.
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