The idea of the ASER survey came about in the context of a new national government in 2004. Many decisions went into its design and implementation, and almost all of those design elements have remained unchanged since the first ASER in 2005.
ASER is a “floor level” test of basic reading (the highest level tested is a grade 2 level text) and arithmetic (the highest level is a 3-digit by 1-digit division question, usually taught in grade 3 or 4). Why test reading?
ASER is designed to engage ‘ordinary people’ in assessing and thinking about the quality of education our children are getting. The ASER tools are simple and easy to use. But how does one find volunteers in every rural district of the country?
Each year, over 25,000 ‘ordinary citizens’ volunteer around five days of their time to conduct ASER. During the 3-day district level training workshop, they are motivated to become part of this enormous effort and rigorously trained to follow a set of standard procedures.
ASER is known for its simple, quick, and easy to use assessment tools. But supporting that simple front end is a complex and detailed set of processes to ensure that materials, people and money reach the furthest corners of the country on a very tight timeline.
ASER’s deceptively simple, user-friendly front end is sometimes confused with a lack of rigour and standardization. In fact, a series of steps and processes at every stage of the survey go into ensuring data quality.
On the occasion of the release of the 11th ASER report, we reflect on ASER-ka-aser over the last decade. What impact has ASER had, on policy and on people? We feature our own opinions but also those of people from across the world.
Join the thousands of people who make India’s largest citizen-led survey possible. Please support ASER!