What is unique about the TPO – the Teaching Professionals’ Olympiad?

CENTA Teaching Professionals’ Olympiad or TPO is a first-of-its-kind national competition for teachers across India. The test is standards-based and, through that, grounded in best practices and relevant research. the test innovatively assesses teaching practice through situation responses. Given the tremendous response of teachers across the country to the first two editions, this third edition is being offered in 28 cities across India (vs. 23 last year) and in 14 subject tracks, including one track in Hindi medium, one track in Tamil medium and one track in Telugu medium, plus three ‘TPO Challenger’ tracks.

What is the benefit to me, a teacher, participating in the TPO?

Firstly, you get the opportunity to win some very exciting prizes, including cash awards, participation in an international conference, national recognition and the opportunity to co-author a book. Secondly, every teacher will get a Confidential Personalized Performance Report providing details and analysis of your performance and how it compares to other test takers. Thirdly, the TPO is the first step towards the CENTA Certificate which is a professional certification for teachers.

Why is it interesting for us, a school, to encourage our teachers to participate in the TPO?

TPO allows schools to create opportunities for their teachers at a national level, which are often difficult to create otherwise – e.g. participation in an international conference, profiling in a national newspaper, opportunity to contribute to a book and so on. The school (or institute or organization) also gets recognized along with each winning teacher, through a TPO Certificate. Every teacher who participates in CENTA TPO 2017 gets a detailed confidential performance report which can give focused direction to their own professional development, therefore benefitting the school.
All schools that have 10 or more teachers participating in the TPO will also receive a summarized report of their teachers’ performance (WITHOUT names of individual teachers), which we hope can significantly inform the school’s overall professional development efforts for its teachers.

How long is the TPO test and can I take it at home if I have an internet connection?

The TPO is a 2-hour long test in all subject tracks other than the challenger tracks. The challenger tracks are three and a half hour long tests (including a 15 minute break). The test cannot be taken at home. It can only be taken in one of the 29 cities with test centres.

The computer interface for the TPO is very simple and you only need to click on the right answer choice in each question (you can use pen and paper to do your roughwork). Previous TPO participants confirmed, through the post-test feedback form, that the interface was simple to use!

What is the syllabus for the TPO? How can I prepare for it?

TPO is an objective multiple choice test and will consist of three sections. The first section is Subject Expertise. It will cover typical topics of the chosen subject and grade levels. This is independent of board and largely aligned with themes in the NCERT syllabus. It will include knowledge, conceptual understanding, application and pedagogical or teaching methods in the subject. Pedagogical methods or pedagogical content knowledge refers to aspects such as lesson planning, student assessment techniques, sequence of teaching and so on, specific to the subject.

The second section is Classroom Practice and Professional Competencies. It will cover aspects such as learning theories, lesson planning, assessment, child development and so on. In addition to knowledge and understanding, this section will have several situation response questions, therefore testing practice.

The third section is Logical Ability and Communication. It will cover common aspects such as analytical reasoning, sentence construction and so on.

To download a more detailed syllabus for TPO 2017, please go to the section ‘About TPO’ and click on Format, Syllabus and Tracks. Please note that there is no specific prescribed text for preparation. Registered participants will also be able download sample questions later, which can help in preparation.

How is TPO Challenger different from TPO?

TPO Challenger is an in-depth test of subject expertise, pedagogical methods and classroom practice in the context of the particular subject. It is meant for teachers who are particularly passionate about their specific subject and keen to go deep into teaching methods in the subject. True to its name, TPO Challenger hopes to identify ‘the best teachers in the subject’. TPO Challenger was introduced as a new concept in 2016 and given the trenedous response it evoked, we are not only contnuing the Challenger but are also offering a new track. This year, we are offering TPO Challenger in three subject tracks, Middle School English, Middle School Maths and Middle School Science

TPO Challenger will run from 3 PM to 6:45 PM on the same day as the TPO (December 9th) and will be available in all TPO centres. TPO Challenger is a three and a half hour test with a fifteen minute break in-between, where the first two hours are the same as the main TPO, and the third hour and a half is additional.

TPO Challenger winners will be eligible for all the prizes and ranks of the main TPO (for which only the first two hours, common between the main TPO and Challenger, will be counted). Further, there are also additional prizes exclusively for TPO Challenger – including a Rs. 1 lakh cash award for the topper of each of the three challenger tracks.

If you are interested in registering for TPO Challenger, in the ‘Test details’ page of the registration form, select ‘Middle School Maths Challenger’ or ‘Middle School Science Challenger’ or 'Middle School English Challenger” as your test track.

What is the scoring pattern for the TPO? Is there any negative marking?

TPO 2017 will be for a total of 100 marks, split as 40 for Subject Expertise, 40 for Classroom Practice and Professional Competencies, and 20 for Logical Ability and Communication. The approximate number of questions in each section is 25, 25 and 14 respectively (a total of approximately 64 questions). There are no sectional time limits and you can attempt the questions in any order. Different questions have different marks.

There is no negative marking in the main TPO. However, in the TPO Challenger tracks, the third hour and a half will have selective negative marking.

What is the scoring pattern for the TPO Challenger? Is there any negative marking?

TPO Challenger is an additional option available specifically in Middle School Maths and Middle School Science this year.

TPO Challenger will be for a total of 150 marks. Of this, the first three sections totalling to 100 marks, will be the same as for the main TPO in the same track. The third hour (additional for the challenger tracks) will be for 50 marks.

There will be no negative marking in the first two hours or first 100 marks (same as for the main TPO). There will be selective negative marking in the third hour, i.e. the additional 50 marks.

Do I have to attempt the questions in a specific order?

Absolutely not. Within the two hours, you can attempt the sections and questions in your preferred order.

I am a Standard 9 teacher and have chosen High School Maths track. Will I be tested on concepts from Standard 12 as well?

Yes. Grades are divided broadly as ‘Primary’ (Standard 1 to 5), ‘Middle School’ (Standard 6 to 8) and ‘High School’ (Standard 9 to 12). Therefore, the High School Maths track will cover concepts from across Standard 11 to Standard 12. The underlying philosophy is that a teacher should be familiar with concepts in adjacent grades also.

I am a Standard 8 teacher and have opted for Middle School Maths. Will I be tested on concepts from Standard 9?

Generally, no. Grades are divided broadly as ‘Primary’ (Standard 1 to 5), ‘Middle School’ (Standard 6 to 8) and ‘High School’ (Standard 9 to 12). Therefore, if you have chosen Middle School Maths as a subject track, you will not be tested on Standard 9 concepts, unless a variant of the same concept is taught is part of Standard 8 syllabus also as per NCERT. However, please note that the specific interpretation of syllabus topics is entirely at the discretion of CENTA.

I have participated in the previous editions of the TPO. Can I participate again? Is there any restriction on the rank or prizes that I can get?

Yes, you can participate again. There is no restriction with respect to scoring and ranking – you will compete normally with all the participants of the current year and can get any rank as per your score. However, for two specific prizes – international conference sponsorship and profiling in The Hindu group of publications – we have placed a restriction for those who won these in TPO 2015 and TPO 2016 This is to make sure that a larger number of teachers get access to these unique opportunities.

Can I take the TPO if I am a professional fellow working in education, not a school teacher?

Yes, you can take the TPO. The TPO is intended for teaching professionals as well as others interested in teaching (including those not teaching currently). Therefore, fellows, volunteers and others are welcome to participate. However, since the intent of the initiative is primarily to recognize and celebrate career teachers or teaching professionals, in each category of prizes, there will be a cap on the number/kind of prizes that can be given to fellows, volunteers and others, as decided by a panel.

Can I take the TPO if I have not taught before or am not teaching currently?

Yes, you can take the TPO. The TPO is intended primarily for teaching professionals and those interested in becoming teaching professionals. However, the eligibility criteria for participating are only: 18 years of age (as on January 1st, 2018), and a graduation degree in any field (if you hold a diploma in education, you can participate even without a graduate degree). Teaching qualifications and teaching experience are not mandatory for participating in the TPO.

I am currently in the final year of my Graduation degree. Am I eligible to take the TPO?

To be eligible for the TPO, you should have completed a graduation degree in any field. Alternately, if you have a diploma in education, you can take the TPO.

Is the TPO for private school teachers or government school teachers or both?

TPO is for all teachers of the country irrespective of the type of school they teach in.

The subject I teach is not included in the test tracks. Can I choose any other subject for the TPO?

Yes, you can choose any test track that is most suitable, from the subject-grade combination tracks available. It is your choice and should ideally be a subject with some long term interest and in which you may also like to be CENTA Certified in the future. We are increasing the number of subject tracks available, each year

Can I take the test in a subject different from what I register for?

No, the test needs to be taken in the subject or test track for which you registered.

Can I opt for more than one subject track?

Yes, you can opt for a maximum of three subject tracks in different time slots. However, please note that certain subject tracks are only available in specific time slots – based on this, you can choose two or three test tracks in the ‘Test details’ page of the registration form.

Will I be given the centre of my choice?

You will definitely be given a centre in the city selected by you during the registration process, out of the 27 cities with centres for TPO 2017. Exact centre location within the city is at CENTA’s discretion (though we are trying to capture your preferences in the case of the bigger cities or metros).

Will I be given the time slot of my choice?

TPO 2017 will be conducted in 3 time slots: 9 AM to 11 AM, 12 Noon to 2 PM, 3 PM to 5 PM. However, some of the Subject Tracks may not be available in all the slots – once you choose your Subject Track in the registration form, the time slots available for that Subject Track will be shown, and you can provide your preference. However, you may or may not get the time slot that you select as preference – the final allocation will be made at CENTA’s discretion based on availability and will be communicated in your hall ticket, available for download a few weeks before the test. Please note that the TPO Challenger is available in only the third time slot and will run from 3 PM to 6:45 PM.

What is the payment for the TPO?

The fee for any test track except the three challenger tracks is Rs. 450 each. The registration fee for TPO Challenger is Rs. 950. This is to be paid as part of registration process and is non-refundable. If you choose to take the TPO in more than one track (maximum of three), the registration fees for each will be added to get the total fee.

How should the payment for the TPO be made?

There are two ways to make the payment: 1) you can make the payment online, that is the simplest option and your registration will be confirmed immediately; 2) you can courier a cheque/ Demand Draft to us.

Any school or organization with 10 or more teachers participating also has the option to register and pay together through the ‘institutional registration’ form. In the case of institutional registration, direct bank transfer is also available as an option.

Some teachers from my school have already registered for the TPO through Institutional Registration? Can I still register for the TPO?

Yes, you can still register as an individual using the ‘individual registration’ form.

Will my TPO score be shared with the school I teach?

No, individual scores and ranks will not be shared with any school or organization – they are meant entirely for the individual and available only through the Confidential ‘Personalized Performance Report’. These reports can only be accessed by the candidate using his/her own login and password.

Only winner names will be announced and displayed on the CENTA and TPO websites.

What is the link between CENTA Certification and participating in the TPO?

The TPO is the first step to taking the CENTA Certification and the TPO score will carry forward towards the total score for the CENTA Certificate. However, there is no cut-off score associated and any interested participants from the TPO can apply for the CENTA Certification later.

What do the levels of the CENTA Certificate, L1/L2/L3, mean? Which level will I be eligible for, based on the TPO?

TPO will not determine the level of certification for which you are eligible. TPO is a common first step for all levels of the CENTA Certification.

L1 is for ‘new teachers’ or typically those with 0 to 3 years work experience. L2 is typically for ‘experienced teachers’, i.e. approximately 3 to 10 years work experience. L3 is for ‘senior teachers’, typically with greater than 10 years work experience. These are only broad guidelines. Teachers with less experience can apply for a higher level if they want (and vice versa), if they feel they are meeting the competencies for the particular level as defined in the CENTA Standards. You need to opt for a level only when you are applying for CENTA Certification, post TPO. The TPO is common for all levels, as stated earlier.