Category Archives: Education

Mastering Computer-Based Tests

Seven Handpicked Best Practices for Candidates

A computer-based test or CBT, in simple terms, means taking a test on a computer instead of paper. Instead of using a paper and pen, one uses a keyboard and mouse to answer questions appearing on the computer monitor. Many major and high-stakes examinations in India like the JEE Mains, CAT and BITSAT have decided to go the CBT way.

The switch from paper to computers for assessments is not entirely surprising, given the surge of technology in almost every sphere of education. However, this method has attracted mixed responses from the candidate community. A lot of them still feel apprehensive and jittery about making the switch and prefer to take the paper-based assessments.

Let us put you at rest by sharing the top seven best practices for students taking computer-based tests:

Before the assessment:

  • Online Mock Assessments: Most of the high-stakes examinations are taken by either people pursuing full-time graduation courses or working professionals. They can’t go to physical examination centers to take mock tests. So online mock assessments allow them the flexibility to prepare for tests at their convenience. Another advantage is picking up a lot of crucial test skills like time management, familiarity with exam patterns and marking criteria, answering strategies, and knowing the probable questions. Lastly, mock assessments provide instant feedback and detailed analysis, which helps test takers rectify their errors and prepare accordingly.
  • Time Management: Many candidates either take on too much pressure while mastering this strategy or too little. The idea is not to stress yourself and focus on achieving smaller goals. The initial goal while writing a mock test could be to try and attempt all the questions without keeping a timer. Once you become familiar with the questions, pattern, and answering strategies, start timing yourself. In the beginning, note the time you take. Subsequently, with each test, try and reduce the time you take by small margins while also observing how much time you require on each section of the test. By the final round of mock tests, attempt to have at least 15 minutes of your total time to check, and revisit your entire exam or sections.
  • Calming your nerves before a test: Test anxiety is something that candidates across age groups go through. Speaking to peers and seniors before an upcoming test helps in multiple ways. It allows candidates to double-check any uncertainties that they might have and find solutions through collaboration. This gives them more confidence and calms their nerves before a high stakes test. The discussion also brings up various nuances and tips from the seniors and peers that the candidate might not have thought of earlier.

On the day of the assessment:

  • Arriving early at the exam center: Arriving early at the exam center has two significant benefits. First, it allows you to complete all the entry formalities in a calm and organized manner before most other candidates. Secondly, the extra time will enable one to de-stress and familiarize themselves with the exam center – the seating arrangements, testing digital equipment like the computer, mouse, keyboard, and earphones, and checking the water and restroom facilities.
  • Reading “Instructions for Candidates”: A lot of candidates may feel that they might save time by skipping reading the instructions and use that time for answering questions instead. But a lot of them don’t know that the “reading instructions” time is given in addition to the assessment time. These instructions also have some crucial points that the mock tests might not have covered or might be specific to the test center. Some exams have now also started having invigilators read out the instructions aloud to all the test-takers so that everyone has the same experience while taking the test.
  • Answering section-wise assessments: Certain assessments do not have any stipulated time attached to each section. They also do not have any designated order in which a candidate should solve the sections. This allows candidates to switch between sections freely. If you are taking such an exam, use this advantage to go through all the questions before answering, check their difficulty level, and plan your answering strategy accordingly.
  • “Mark for Review” option: This feature allows candidates to flag specific questions and revisit them later. This option might be used in various scenarios, some of which are: the question is confusing or difficult, the answer might take time, one isn’t sure of the response and doesn’t want to spend too much time recalling it. Once the candidate marks the question/s for review, it is marked in a different color, so that it is easier for them to revisit it later.

We hope that the above best practices will help you prepare for your assessments in an organized and effective manner and make you calmer on the day of the assessment.

Explore more: TCS iON

TCS iON IntelliGem 2020 Winners to be Crowned at Finale

Mumbai: TCS iON, a strategic unit of Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) (BSE: 532540, NSE: TCS), a leading global IT services, consulting and business solutions organization, announced that the young finalists of the second edition of TCS iON IntelliGem are all set to compete for the National title at the grand finale to be held on January 26.

TCS iON IntelliGem helps young learners develop 21st century skills covering five key areas – Creativity and lnnovation, Communication, Financial Literacy, Universal Values, and Global Citizenship. This year, more than 10,000 of the brightest students of class 5-9, across 396 schools registered for the national-level contest. The top 50 students that successfully cleared the qualifying rounds of proctored digital tests in their respective schools, the city rounds, and the phygital one-on-one interviews in the pre-finals have been shortlisted for the final test, being held in Mumbai. Here they will go through a variety of group activities and one-on-ones with an expert panel.

The winning students and their schools stand to win exciting rewards including cash prizes, new age toys, leadership training, trophies, and certificates. The top performing schools will receive School Excellence awards and gain national recognition.

Venguswamy Ramaswamy, Global Head, TCS iON, said, “We are delighted with the overwhelming participation this year. 21st century skills are more important to students now than ever before. TCS iON IntelliGem has been conceptualized to empower students and provide them a framework to thrive in a world where change is constant and learning never stops. It is our responsibility as educationists and EdTech enablers to constantly develop interesting interventions that can help the schools inculcate these critical skills in their children. We need to continuously build capabilities among the students to be successful in life and work beyond academics.”

The Draft National Education Policy also endorses the critical need to equip students with 21st century skills, early on. To help schools integrate these subjects into their curriculum, TCS iON has organized conclaves for Principals and Educators in 24 lndian cities.

Source: https://indiaeducationdiary.in/tcs-ion-intelligem-2020-winners-to-be-crowned-at-finale/

Skilling Gen Z beyond Classrooms

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Venguswamy Ramaswamy discusses how TCS iON is preparing the ‘gems of tomorrow’ as ‘nation builders of the future’ by equipping students with skills beyond just academics.

In this 21st century, students are expected to constantly prove their mettle by navigating through more skills, capabilities and competition. Much of what students typically learn in schools today will no longer be relevant by the time they graduate from college. A recent Oxford University study found that 47 percent of today’s jobs will be eliminated over the next 20 years! Now consider this — most schools across our country are still largely focused on rote learning with very little input on the additional skills required to survive in this increasingly complex, competitive and rapidly changing world. The future is beyond academics just as careers are beyond the conventional ones.

SKILLS FOR THE FUTURE

In a society where routine jobs are getting increasingly automated, the best way to prepare for the future is to develop the ability to continuously learn, adapt and be flexible. Educators, academic researchers and policymakers agree that for today’s learners, 21st century skills such as creativity, curiosity, perseverance, adaptability, critical thinking, effective communication, collaboration and lifelong learning are more important than ever before.

With a vision to help schools and students across the country gain a strong understanding of these much-acclaimed 21st century skills, TCS iON has created IntelliGem — a first-of-its-kind meta-academic platform set in a unique contest mode. The goal of this national-level contest is to ignite a spark among educators and young minds and push the boundaries of growth beyond the school curriculum.

EQUIPPING STUDENTS FOR THE DIGITAL AGE

The topics covered in the IntelliGem contest are financial literacy, communication skills, creativity and innovation, global citizenship and universal values. These have been carefully chosen to give the necessary exposure to students during their formative (school) years. The jobs of the future will depend on human collaboration to design work for machines. Value is moving from cognitive skills to social skills. In the past, schoolwork was assessed on individual accomplishment. Today, teamwork and collaboration have become an important key to success.

A century ago, most scientific research was written by single authors; by the 1950s, it changed to co-authorship as the norm. Today, an average paper has four times as many authors as it did a century ago. Also, academic research is far more interdisciplinary, and is often conducted across greater physical distances than it was in the past. To co-ordinate all that activity and keep everyone focused on delivering a specific, high-quality experience, communication must be clear and coherent. Skills in collaboration will increasingly give a competitive advantage.

Routine jobs are the ones that are being replaced by automation. However, jobs requiring skills such as creativity, innovation, compassion and empathy are those, which are unlikely to be taken over by machines. The absence of empathy makes it difficult for machines to do what humans have excelled in — designing products or processes that will maximise utility for humans. Thus, design and creative skills are likely to be in high demand for decades to come.

INTELLIGEM PAVING THE PATH

Students from grades 5 to 9 from all over India can participate in TCS iON IntelliGem, which is conducted every year. In its second edition, which is underway, students from 100+ towns across the country are competing. Structured as a four-round contest moving from digital, phygital, to face-to-face rounds, IntelliGem is unique in every way — be it in using the patented TCS iON PAPERTM device to completely remove the need for printed paper or in providing digital learning content free of cost. The Teachers Network in the TCS iON Digital Hub platform significantly enhances ease of access for both students and teachers to learn and upgrade their skills, and thus keep up with the values of respecting the efforts of all the young student finalists and not just the winner and runners-up as it usually happens at contests with similar formats.

With initiatives like IntelliGem, TCS iON is well positioned to become a strong partner for the school education ecosystem.

Source –https://tatareview.tataworld.com/

Everything You Need to Know About Adaptive Testing

What is Adaptive Testing?

Adaptive Testing, also known as Computerized Adaptive Testing or Tailored Testing, is a method of using algorithms and machine learning to make tests more optimal, effective, and efficient. 

Every time a candidate answers a question, the test analyses the response and based on it, decides the difficulty level of the next question. The test, with each response, also determines the number of questions required to assess the mastery level of the candidate. 

At the beginning of the test, a candidate will start with a medium difficulty question. If he/she answers it correctly, the next question will be more difficult, or easier if answered incorrectly. Adaptive tests do not have a fixed number of questions; they end when the termination criterion is met, which means that as soon as the test has determined the ability of the test taker and has marked him/her accordingly, it ends.

Advantages of Adaptive Testing

  • Accurate scoring: Data collected for standard paper-pencil tests over the years shows that they provide the best precision for only medium-ability test takers. Test takers with extreme abilities are the most affected. In contrast, adaptive testing is fairer because the test designer has customized control over score precision for each test taker. Hence, it is said to be more precise from a psychometric point of view.
  • Increased psychometric efficiency: Similar to pedagogy, it is tough to engage and analyse high ability examinees with extremely trivial questions and lower ability examinees with difficult questions. Adaptive testing doesn’t administer such questions, significantly reducing the number of questions required to test a candidate. As a result, the amount of time needed to test each candidate optimally is reduced substantially. The seat time savings cost can be between 50 to 90 per cent. In addition to time being saved, it also increases candidate engagement. A higher ability candidate will not have to waste any time solving easy questions and can concentrate all his mental energy on the questions specially designed for him/her without ever feeling bored.
  • Security: Since each candidate receives a unique set of questions, there is very little chance of cheating. Even in the case of re-examination, candidates are given a different set of questions from the question bank.
  • Cost: Adaptive tests use a technology called Item Response Theory (IRT) for the design process. IRT is a way to analyze responses to questions to improve both accuracy and reliability. While investigating a candidate’s responses, IRT looks at not only the number of correct answers the candidate has answered but also the level of difficulty of those questions. The SAT and GRE both use IRT for their tests.

IRT is used to convert adaptive tests from fixed-length tests to variable lengths. This means tests can be finished in lesser time, with lesser number of questions, and with higher accuracy. Test time can be cut down to as much as half, leading to a substantial decrease in costs.

Although the engagement and uniqueness of questions provided to test takers are high, it isn’t straightforward for them to complete a timed test. If a person with high ability ends up spending too much time on one difficult question, he/she will not be able to keep aside enough time for the next set of questions and will end up handing over an incomplete answer sheet. An untimed adaptive test is also a tough option for high-stakes summative assessments for aptitude jobs.

In conclusion, adaptive testing is beneficial for both students and instructors. Students get a chance to personalize their learning experience, be responsible for setting their own pace and identify their problem areas. As for the instructors, it is easier for them to work in mixed-ability large classrooms, make better instruction plans for students, and make optimum use of the classroom time and resources.

Explore more at: TCS iON

Automotive Skill Development Council (ASDC) leverages technology to reimagine curriculum and assessment

Automotive Skill Development Council (ASDC) has partnered with TCS iON to reimagine and scale their initiatives in identifying potential candidates, equipping them with necessary skills, and matching them with appropriate job opportunities in the auto sector.

The skilling council is actively leveraging TCS iON’s digital solutions to transform their curriculum and assessment needs, in keeping with the requirements of the industry. “We are leveraging technology in a huge way and in every sphere ASDC is working in. We have signed an MoU with TCS iON, which is into providing assessment and training services, and has developed a digital platform to assess both trainers and students, without any human intervention. This is one very big step that we have taken. Close to 10,000 pilot assessments have been done so far in the system,revealed Nikunj Sanghi, President, Automotive Skill Development Council (ASDC).

TCS iON has developed a digital learning hub, an online content marketplace, that is being leveraged by ASDC to deliver standardized content to learners. The TCS iON Digital Assessment platform has been instrumental in bringing in efficiency and transparency in ASDC’s assessments. . TCS iON is also developing an integrated job-listing platform that uses intelligent algorithm to match candidates with relevant jobs in the automotive industry.

TCS iON digital solutions will help the various training partners standardize their training curriculum in order to provide better skilling and re-skilling to candidates, and thus cater to industry requirements. It will facilitate richer exchange between the industry and talent, and thus help build the Industry’s confidence in the Skill Sectors.

  • Solutions delivered by TCS iON to ASDC –
  • End-to-end digitization of ASDC skilling ecosystem.
  • Skilling and Upskilling of workforce in the Automotive Sector with TCS iON Digital Learning.
  • Digitized Automotive Skill Assessment Process focusing on Video based practical & viva assessment.
  • Digitized Driving Assessments with TCS iON Cert-n-Edge.
  • Listing Portal for jobs.

Source – https://www.autocarpro.in/news-national/asdc%E2%80%99s-nikunj-sanghi-real-skilling-will-happen-in-india-when-the-national-apprenticeship-programme-picks-up-pace-45079
https://www.nationalskillsnetwork.in/asdc-partners-tcs-ion/

TCS National Qualifier Test (TNQT) wins the 'Best HR Practice Award' at the 8th NHRD HR Showcase

TCS iON, TNQT, Best HR Practice Award, HR Awards

It was a proud moment for TCS recently at the 8th NHRD HR Showcase (Bangalore edition), where TCS National Qualifier Test (TNQT) bagged an award for the ‘Best HR Practice’.

The HR Showcase is one of the annual trademark events of the NHRD (National Human Resource Development). It is an exclusive trade show-style pageant that encourages corporates, start-ups, academia, and NGOs to come forward and demonstrate their most impactful and unique products, practices, and initiatives. The event was themed “Decoding HR for Next Gen” and comprised an array of diverse and relevant masterclasses, workshops, and learning sessions. After rigorous presentations spread over two days, the jury consisting of highly distinguished HR professionals, academicians, CHROs (Chief Human Resource Officers), and NHRD members adjudged Team TCS the winner.

The TCS Talent Acquisition Team presented TNQT’s entry titled “Disruptive, Democratic and Agile Campus Hiring”. TCS has wholly democratized the fresher recruitment process with the TCS National Qualifier Test (TNQT). TNQT is a PAN India test whose objective is to attract the best minds in the country to fuel the growth plans of TCS. This year, TNQT saw over 3 lakh candidates from 2000+ educational institutions registering for the test, which is almost a 175% surge in candidate participation, as compared to previous years’ campus recruitment drives. This has completely reimagined the talent identification process of TCS by providing a level playing field to deserving talents, especially those from tier 2 and tier 3 cities across India.

TNQT is conducted on the highly secure and scalable TCS iON Digital Assessment Platform. The platform holds the distinction of conducting the country’s major high-stake entrance and recruitment examinations, and has, till date, assessed more than 200 million candidates.  

Explore more at www.tcsion.com

Do You Want to Reimagine Education for Generation Z? Do it with AI!

Computers will overtake humans with AI within the next 100 years. When that happens, we need to make sure the computers have goals aligned with ours. – Stephen Hawking

This quote often scares humans instead of inspiring us to do all that is possible to combine human forces with AI. How AI can change things in every field existing today is unimaginable. It can have a tremendous impact, especially in the education system. AI can be used by educators to deepen their impact in the classrooms and create meaningful and personalised academic experiences. 

Let’s look at a few spaces where the presence of artificially intelligent tools is changing the game.

Assessments

  • Exam Fraud Detection:

To combat the increasing problem of exam fraud, universities have started using facial recognition systems to create biometric profiles of candidates and then match them with photos taken during exams. This technology is also used to monitor students via webcam during online or remotely proctored examinations. 

Exam fraud exists even at the marking stage. To authenticate the identity of the markers, the face recognition system is used similarly. Another advantage of AI-enabled remote marking is the highly effective allocation of marking assessment – if a student in Japan has written an English exam, the evaluation can be easily allocated to a person situated in an English speaking country. The assessment can be quickly evaluated; results uploaded, leading to on-time announcement of exam results.

  • Energy Management of Test Centres: 

When a critical state or nation-wide examinations are being conducted, efficient real-time exam management is vital. TCS iON’s Command Centre has a unique Energy Management Solution whose sensors collect data in the real-time and the temperature of servers and UPS rooms . This translates into real-time monitoring and data analytics for preventing any future mishaps and maintaining them beforehand. Such measures help in ensuring that the exam is not disrupted due to power failures or similar issues.

Learning:

India’s primary school enrolment rates are at an impressive 94%. This number, however, soon starts to look disappointing when we search for the dropout rates. The dropout rate moves to a staggering 20% by the time children move to the higher secondary school.

This number is a very poor indicator of the quality of education the students are receiving. Technology is making waves and changing lives in sectors like medicine, banking, energy and so on. But the one industry which would benefit the most would be education.

Personalised Learning:

Imagine if all the 94% enrolled students got a chance to pursue their education in a personalised manner, learn at their own pace, and give customised examinations. Artificial intelligence has the power to create this kind of learning environment for millions of students, which in turn can solve a lot of more significant problems like student motivation, pressure on teachers to attend to each child, and dropout rates of students. It even leaves time on teachers’ hands to attend to bigger goals like research or even pursue leadership roles.

Mental Health:

With the increasing amount of pressure and work in student courses, the number of counsellors are just not enough to manage the mental health cases. Some universities have started using AI-enabled chatbots to learn about student emotions and execute “intelligent mood tracking”. These chatbots, of course, cannot function in isolation, but when combined with human intelligence, a lot of the constant wait time to see counsellors could be reduced leading to decreased stress levels and increased student motivation.

Campus Management:

To increase student engagement levels and have higher student satisfaction rates, a lot of university campuses are devising ways to automate operations with the help of AI:

  • Chatbots:

Chat and voice bots are being used to offer round-the-clock support to resolve numerous IT issues related to devices, network connectivity, password resetting, or resolve frequently asked queries. In addition to the support being round-the-clock, the chatbots can handle multiple users at the same time, the resolution rates are much faster, and the implementation and maintenance costs are low.

  • AI-enabled attendance marking:

Schools and universities around the world have started using AI to make mundane administrative tasks easier to execute. Teachers in a classroom have to click a picture of their entire present class and the system, using facial recognition marks the attendance for that day.

  • Recognising Student Emotions:

Virtual classroom platforms can now realise how students are responding to lectures. It not only detects whether students are awake or sleeping but also tracks their emotions. This gives educators a firm idea of how engaging their lectures are and allows them to make changes accordingly.

The above ideas are only a few areas where AI is being used. The impact will continue to grow in the coming years with all the stakeholders in the education system – students, teachers, school leaders, and parents being affected positively.

To know more, visit: www.tcsion.com