In each surveyed village, ASER is conducted over two days. The first day is usually a school day (preferably Saturday) and the second day is a holiday (preferably a Sunday). A team of 2 people surveys the village assigned to them.
Surveyors are provided with a village pack containing all the tools, formats, instructions, and communications materials to be used in the village. Prior to beginning the survey, all surveyors are trained on these processes and materials during the district level training workshop. The village pack contains:
Before beginning the survey, the surveyors meet the Sarpanch or village representative to explain the purpose of ASER and take permission to survey the village.
The surveyors then visit a government school which has primary classes (Std 1 to 7/8 or Std 1 to 4/5). If the village has more than one government school, they visit the one which has the largest enrollment. Here, they meet the headmaster/seniormost teacher present and explain the purpose of the ASER survey in order to take permission to collect basic school information.
Next, the survey team walks around the entire village to understand its geographical structure. As they do so they talk to many people about ASER. With the help of local people and their own observations, they make a map of the village. They also observe and record basic village infrastructure such as roads, banks, health centres etc. on the format provided.
After understanding how the village is laid out, surveyors divide the village into 4 sections (for a continuous village) or randomly select 4 hamlets (in villages where the population is organized in hamlets). A total of 20 households are surveyed in every village, 5 from each selected section or hamlet. To select these households, the survey team begins the survey from the centre of the hamlet and then selects every 5th household found on the left. This is known as the “5th household rule”.
For the rest of the first day and throughout the second day of the survey, surveyors follow this process to select and visit a total of 20 households. In each sampled household, they record basic household information as well as information of children between the age group of 3 to 16 years. They use the ASER testing tools to assess basic reading and arithmetic skills of all children from 5 to 16 years who are resident in the household. In some years, additional assessments are also conducted, such as children’s ability in English. The testing is done only in households to ensure that all children (whether enrolled in school or not) are included in the survey.