National Achievement Survey

The Ministry of Education, Government of India, conducts the National Achievement Survey (NAS), which is a nationally representative large-scale survey of students’ learning. The National Assessment of Educational Effectiveness (NAS) provides a system-level evaluation of the effectiveness of school instruction. The findings aid in comparing performance throughout the spectrum and among populations in order to determine the best path for progression.

The topic has a very high chance of being asked as a UPSC Prelims Geography Question under the topic of “Human Geography” or as a Current Affairs Question, as it has been in the news recently.

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National Achievement Survey UPSC Notes PDF –Download PDF Here

About National Achievement Survey

The National Achievement Survey-2021 was set to take place on November 12th, 2021. The Assessment Framework was designed by the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to assess students’ capabilities in relation to learning objectives. The survey extends beyond the scoresheet to also include background characteristics that can be used to compare student performance in various learning outcomes with contextual variables. The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will serve as the Evaluation Administrator for students in Grades 3, 5, 8, and 10 from State Government schools, Government Aided Schools, Private Unaided Recognized Schools, as well as Central Government schools. In the selected schools, the survey is done in a controlled setting.

The NAS 2021 Sampling Design is intended to support the national assessment’s established and agreed-upon objectives. NAS 2021 will give information about what India’s students have knowledge of and can perform in major classes and disciplines at the national, state, district, and school levels. The sampled schools were chosen using UDISE+ 2019 – 2020 data. As a result, the States and Districts utilised to draw the samples for NAS 2021 are identical to those used for UDISE+ 2019 – 2020.


The findings of the NAS will aid in diagnosing student learning gaps and determining the solutions that are required in educational policy, instructional practises, and learning. The findings of the NAS, which are presented in the form of diagnostic report cards, aid in the capacity building of teachers and administrators engaged in the delivery of education. The National Achievement Survey 2021 is a rich reservoir of evidence and data points that will broaden the scope of research and innovation. With this in mind, the NIC has created the NAS-2021 Portal as an interactive and iterative platform in collaboration with NCERT, CBSE, UNICEF, DDG (Stats), and NITI Aayog, all under the supervision of the Ministry of Education, Government of India. This portal would be a long-term educational management information system that will aid in the smooth running of NAS-2021 as well as future data-driven decision-making.

The platform has a role-based feature and a dashboard for managing resources (different functionaries participating in the conduct and operation of NAS), activities and event tracking, building capacity, logging and recordkeeping, and post-NAS analysis report in customised forms.
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Key Facts from NAS 2021

  • National Average:
      • In class third, the national average percentage of students was 59 %, but in class fifth, it dropped to 49 %.
      • In class eight, it fell to 41.9 per cent, and in class tenth, it fell to 37.8 per cent.
      • Almost all subjects showed a significant reduction in performance.
        • For example, the national mathematics score was 57 per cent in third grade, declining to 44 per cent in fifth grade, 36 per cent in eighth grade, and 32 per cent in tenth grade.
      • In class third, the language score was 62 per cent; in class fifth, it was 52 per cent; and in class eighth, it was 53 per cent.
        • In science, the national score dropped from 39 per cent in eighth grade to 35 per cent in tenth grade.
  • Rural and Urban Areas:
      • Rural school performance stayed “far behind” that of urban schools in the very same states/union territories (UTs).
  • Category-wise Performance:
      • Students of the schedule caste (SC), scheduled tribe (ST), and Other Backward Classes (OBC) categories performed worse than the students of the general category.
  • Gender-wise Performance:
      • Across the board, girls outperformed boys in practically all subjects across all grades, both nationwide and at the state level.
  • State-wise Performance:
    • Although most of the states scored below the national average, several states, such as Kerala, Rajasthan, Maharashtra, and Punjab, outperformed the national average.
    • When compared to the national average, Delhi’s performance in eighth and tenth grade was better.
    • Punjab gets the greatest overall score in all subjects for grades 3, 5, and 8.

Recent Developments

  • The National Achievement Survey (NAS) 2021 data was recently released by the Ministry of Education. In November 2021, the Triennial Survey was undertaken. In NAS 2021, over 34 lakh kids from 1.18 lakh institutions in 720 districts both from the rural as well as urban areas took part.

Frequently Asked Questions about the National Achievement Survey:


Why is NAS conducted?

To provide structured feedback on student learning levels at District, State, and national levels. These inputs are used for policy planning and designing pedagogical interventions to improve quality and ensure equity in learning.

Is NAS an examination conducted by the school?

NAS is NOT a school-based examination. It is a system-level assessment conducted on a nationally representative sample that aims to provide feedback on the effectiveness of the school education system in our country.

Does NAS provide individual school or student performance scores?

NAS does not provide individual school or student scores. It provides a summary of performance at the District, State, and National levels, with the district as the unit for reporting.

What are key curricular areas to be assessed in Grade 3?

There are three key curricular areas in Grade 3: Language, Mathematics and Environmental Studies.

What are key curricular areas to be assessed in Grade 5?

There are three key curricular areas in Grade 5: Language, Mathematics and Environmental Studies.

What are key curricular areas to be assessed in Grade 8?

There are four curricular areas in Grade 8: Language, Mathematics, Science and Social Science.

What are key curricular areas to be assessed in Grade 10?

There are five curricular areas in Grade 10: Language, Mathematics, Science, Social Science and English.

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