CBSE’s New Term Assessment Policy: The Future of Education?

It will reduce students’ burden and stress. Where students used to be afraid of exams, they are now happy to hand in their work.

By MK Yadav

The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the entire dynamic of schooling. The last two years have been really difficult for our students. The continued closure of schools, the shifting of classes to online mode, the postponement of exams and the lack of peer group learning has created a major “learning gap” in the system. There is an increased awareness and demand in the education system to integrate the latest technologies and techniques into education systems to shift pedagogy from “memorization” to critical thinking.

To overcome these challenges posed by Covid-19 and to make our students “21st Century Ready”, CBSE has announced a semester-based examination at the secondary and sixth form levels, i.e. from grades IX-XII. The latest CBSE-mandated curriculum strives to provide competency-based learning and incorporate 21st-century components that focus on learning, literacy, and life skills.

CBSE has categorized the School Examination for Grades IX-XII into three parts: Term-1 (Nov-Dec), Term-2 (Feb-Mar) and Practical & Internal Assessment. Both terms have the same weight; The unique syllabus and each semester’s syllabus do not overlap. Term-1 has MCQs based questions and there is no practical exam in Term-1. Also in Term-1, students would get grades and not pass, fail, or subject tags. Term-2 has subjectively based questions and includes theoretical and practical components.

In my view, a welcome step. Today, our focus should be on teaching students the skills that will help them survive and thrive in today’s competitive world. Unfortunately, most schools these days are focused on cramming the syllabus and passing the exam. There are very few schools in the country that focus more on competency-based education than information-cramming.

Today’s students are required to have conceptual clarity, an inquiry-based mindset, and critical analysis of information. They should be able, especially in times of information overload, to filter out the important information and have clarity about their priorities. What we decide today determines our future. When students lack the comprehension, they are unable to make the right decision and take control of their lives. Most students in India still follow a typical trend in choosing a career and succumb to parental and peer pressure. Most of them are unaware of their abilities and the area in which they can thrive, and lack the ability to make decisions.

The new pedagogy, followed by CBSE, will focus on critical thinking, communication skills and creativity, which will help students deal with the changes, make them more curious, help them develop an inquisitive mindset and will transform their mindset in the future . The type of questions asked in exams such as claims, arguments, statements and conclusions, the case studies prepare them for the real problem solving scenario.

Also, if we look at the various career-oriented entrance exams that are administered after the 12th grade, they focus more on students’ reasoning skills and critical thinking. If this is not taught at the school level, or if students have not developed such a skill at the school level, it becomes very difficult for them to pass these exams.

We all know the CUET that will be there for 41 central universities that will most likely have an objective and subjective type of questions (information through various newspaper articles) and when a student has practiced such types of questions at the school level will be the entrance exam for them child’s play. The current assessment guideline will help students think for themselves, reflect on future prospects and help them make a calculated decision based on study, literacy and various life skills. And last but not least, it will reduce the burden and stress of the students. Where students used to be afraid of exams, they are now happy to hand in their work.

In closing, I would like to suggest that we should shift our focus to analytical learning for our primary school students and develop critical thinking skills from a tender age and give India a brighter future.

(The author is CMD, AI Testified (established at IIT Kanpur). The views expressed are personal and do not reflect the official position or policies of Financial Express Online.)

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