Apart from the fact that students will have to write at least four tests, including pre-board, in the next four to five months, there is a big difference in the question pattern in Term 1 in November and Term next in March, requiring major adjustments. Teachers said bringing change is not easy.
While the next exam in November will be MCQ based, Term 2 will be a conventional written test. However, teachers and schools were relieved that unlike last time, CBSE had already prepared a roadmap regarding the evaluation process.
In July this year, CBSE had announced its decision to conduct two board exams this time. The board had recently released a revised syllabus for Term 1 as scheduled in November.
Apart from the two prerequisites, there are internal tests, assessments and even projects that students must pass. Teachers from some of the leading private schools in the city argued that since both the board exams were surprisingly different in nature, they would have to spend most of the academic year acquainting the students with the pattern. Teachers also pointed out that after a year of online education, students have started returning to classes.
“Having two terminal exams is not a challenge in itself. But given the fact that a lot is going on in schools to get students back to classroom-based learning, two board exams in a few months will be a bit tough. CBSE has reduced the syllabus, which is a welcome move. But with this pattern, the focus will be on preparing the students for the exam. Also, both the exams are of different patterns and training the students will not be easy,” said Salwan Public School principal Rashmi Malik.
According to estimates prepared by some schools, out of 195 to 210 working days in an academic year, 70 days will be spent writing just four exams. Additionally, more than 30 days are likely to be spent on revisions and other such preparations before the tests. “Two board exams would have been a good idea if there was no internal assessment in the form of unit test, block test and project. Parents also insist on pre-boarding. So, inevitably, every student will spend more than 65 days in the exam,” said Neena Kaul, principal of Heritage Experiential Learning Schools.
The parents acknowledged that the board had few options to choose from due to the constraints posed by the pandemic, but highlighted that this new formula would also be stressful for the students. “Students have started returning to classes after a year of home learning. And then they too have suffered mentally and emotionally during the second wave of the pandemic as most families have lost some close people. All this will add to their burden,” said Pradeep Rawat, co-founder of Gurgaon Parents Association.
However, some schools have said that this is the way forward and should be viewed as such. “It will be a tough task. But we cannot ignore the fact that we are living in the most uncertain times. These decisions will give some roadmap to the schools regarding assessment. CBSE also released sample paper for MCQ-based term 1 Aarti Chopra, Principal, Amity International School in Sector 46, said, “We have to turn this into a learning opportunity how to always be prepared for uncertainties.
Some academicians said that CBSE has come up with the best possible formula in the present scenario. “The intention is to simplify things keeping the pandemic in mind. The National Education Policy also suggests continuous evaluation of students. The first time is always a little difficult,” said Francis Joseph, an educationist and co-founder of the School Leaders Network.
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