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A Verified Achievement in Education

Credit hours should be allocated based on the scope and complexity of the learning objectives and outcomes.
12:00 AM Mar 04, 2024 IST | DR. MOHAMMAD SAYID BHAT
a verified achievement in education
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Pursuing a degree in any reputed higher education institution not only provides a student with the opportunity to develop in-depth knowledge in his preferred discipline but also expands his transferable skills and competencies. Besides knowledge and skills, he builds his self-confidence and increases his level of responsibility.

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The learning seat provides the shoreline to plunge deeper into the subject oceans of his interest, building a perfect platform to ‘go global’ through an appealing career. Although the institution always remains dedicated to learning, debate, dialogue, and disseminating new knowledge, it expects students to develop creative and critical thinking.

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However, a student must commit to the resources and efforts to benefit from the teaching-learning opportunities. He is responsible for ensuring he meets the expectations of the institution and society at large.

Keeping in view the effectiveness and excellence of education and to meet the student expectations at global level, various measures have been taken in the country from time to time. The curriculum at multiple levels has been redesigned, new pedagogical approaches adopted, and new assessment techniques implemented.

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For higher education, UGC has framed various guidelines for quality higher education in the country, which has proved healthy in the overall upgradation of higher education. In 2015-16, a Choice-Based Credit System was introduced. Since then, any certificate or degree has been awarded depending on the student's number of credits.

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Meanwhile, NEP-2020, a futurist document, has brought one of the most demanding reforms in the entire education system by bringing it under a ‘Uniform Credit System’ based on learning outcomes. This helps to get credit transfer across levels and encourages a student to earn credits by choice.

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What is credit in education, and how is it measured? In educational terminology, credit is a unit of measurement for any coursework. Earning one credit requires a minimum of 15 hours of direct/classroom teaching/tutorial from the teacher's side and, from the student's side, 30 hours of self-study/homework for the same credit. Thus, a student must invest at least 45 hours to earn one credit. The time requirement doubles if the coursework is based on field study or practical.

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While framing the course curricula and assigning the credits to it, it is imperative to sync the credits with course outcomes to ensure coherence and rationality. Before assigning credits, it is crucial to clearly define the learning objectives and outcomes of the course. These objectives and outcomes spell out the knowledge, skills, and competencies a student is expected to gain by the end of the course. Credit hours should be allocated based on the scope and complexity of the learning objectives and outcomes.

Courses with more extensive learning objectives cum outcomes or higher levels of complexity deserve more credit hours than those with less challenging outcomes. It is imperative to align and map all the course outcomes with the programme outcomes. Programme outcomes describe the knowledge, skills, abilities, and attributes a student must demonstrate upon completing a programme.

These outcomes guide curriculum design, instructional practices, assessment strategies, and programme evaluation efforts. Clearly articulating the expected learning outcomes of a programme ensures that a student is fully prepared for his academic and professional endeavours.

Credit allocation should also consider contact hours (time spent in the class) and the expected workload outside the class (home assignments). The total workload should also align with the intended learning outcomes.

The quality of instruction, including teaching methods, resources, and support services provided to a student, should correspond with the credits assigned to the course. Credit allocation should reflect the variety and rigour of assessment tasks required to demonstrate mastery of the outcomes.

By aligning credit allocation with course outcomes, institutions can ensure that a student receives appropriate recognition for his learning achievements and that the courses effectively contribute to the student’s overall educational goals. This alignment also facilitates the transferability of credits between institutions and enhances the credibility and integrity of the curriculum.

A credit is assessed in terms of the amount of knowledge and skills a student has achieved after investing the allotted time in it. It is assessed through a combination of course attendance, internal tests, assignments, presentations, project/research work, semester examinations, etc. Generally, the more effort a student puts into a course, the more credits that course demands because the workload suggested is only an approximation for an average learner. Thus, a credit is granted to a student in recognition of ‘verified achievement’ of the well-defined learning outcomes.

Besides foundation courses and foundation elective courses, on the recommendation of NEP-2020, multidisciplinary credit courses are being offered at the UG and PG levels across disciplines. These courses integrate content from multiple disciplines. These courses allow students to holistically explore complex themes or content, drawing on insights from diverse academic areas. The courses offered under this domain are generally related to the Indian Knowledge System, Modern Indian Languages, and Skill Enhancement based. While framing the curricula of such courses, the credit load shall remain significantly less to nullify the impact on the overall grading of a specialized programme a student is pursuing.

Institutions have also made a provision for non-credit courses. These courses are often designed to provide personal enrichment, professional development, etc., without formal assessment and grading. These do not offer any academic credit towards a degree as students typically do not receive grades or transcripts for completing these courses, but students have necessarily to qualify for these courses, which is why these are also known as audit courses. Non-credit courses have a more flexible structure than credit-bearing courses, as they vary in length, format, and scheduling.

These courses cover a wide range of subject areas, catering to diverse interests and learning goals. For personal enrichment, physical and mental exercises, art, music, cooking, gardening, creative writing, photography, etc, are included. For professional development, leadership skills, project management, negotiation, time management, and conflict resolution are included, besides computer skills, coding, digital and financial literacy, and career-specific training, etc., are also offered.

These courses often focus on practical, hands-on learning experiences rather than theoretical knowledge. Non-credit courses provide valuable opportunities for personal and professional growth, allowing a student to pursue learning interests outside formal academic structures and advance his knowledge and skills in diverse areas of interest. Through these courses, a student can also fulfill his responsibilities towards society by doing some social work.

To conclude, keeping in view the workload a student carries on a routine, the National Credit Framework has guided all educational institutions of higher learning that in each semester, a student should be required to earn at least 20 credits for the progression to the next semester.

The credits earned by a student are stored in the Academic Bank of Credits (ABC) Digilocker, which has a shelf life of 7 years, and after depositing the adequate number of credits in ABC, a degree is awarded to a student by calculating the credits earned on a scale based on cumulative grade point average.

  1. MOHAMMAD SAYID BHAT is Sr. Assistant Professor in Department of Education at Central University of Kashmir.
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