What is the future of board exams?

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Students in grades 10 and 12 finally have some clarity on their board exams. The Central Council for Secondary Education (CBSE) announced on July 5 that the 2021-2022 academic session will be divided into two quarters, with each quarter being devoted to 50% of the program.

In its statement, the CBSE said this was done to increase the likelihood of having a board-hosted exam for grades 10 and 12 at the end of the academic session. The exams will take place at the end of each term according to the bifurcated program. The exams of the first term will take place between November and December 2021 and those of the second term between March and April.

The movement is the most practical in the current situation. Given the pandemic, the jury had to cancel the class 10 and class 12 exams for the 2020-2021 academic session. The new decision seems to pave the way for the future.

Welcoming the decision, Harish Sanduja, Principal (Schools), Seth Anandram Jaipuria Schools, Ghaziabad, said, “It will help the education system to better cope with the current pandemic situation. It will also help schools to collect student assessment data twice a year. ”

While the technical details may take some time to work out, educators, principals, parents and students are relieved that some clarity has been provided well in advance to avoid last minute confusion. . They believe the step is not only important, but a step in the right direction and that these changes would lead to reforms that will survive the pandemic. Manit Jain, Co-Chair of FICCI School Education Committee, FICCI Arise, and Co-Founder of Heritage Xperiential Learning School, Gurgaon, said: “I’m sure the details will be worked out. What is commendable is the courage shown by the CBSE authorities in embracing this much needed change.

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It is not the exam itself, but the high stakes of a single exam that causes undue stress. A single exam can at best be an indicator of a child’s performance at that time and can never represent their true potential.

The decision is at least an attempt to work in hybrid formats with a more inclusive approach to projects and evaluations, which are the key to a better education system. “The division of the academic session into two trimesters with a 50% schedule in each trimester is what stands out. It is designed to be modular and less archaic, in which we will also see the effectiveness of pedagogy in the way it is evaluated, ”explains Chandrabhanu Pattajoshi, founder of Goseeko, an ed-tech platform.

The new assessment system, however, will help students apply and learn seriously throughout the year rather than having a piecemeal approach where they focus only on final exams. Second quarter assessment, on the other hand, will make the education system more resilient to uncertain and adverse events. It will also help schools to better prepare for the semester system envisioned in the New Education Policy (NEP) 2020.

Sanduja says: “In a way, the second term assessment divides the program into two terms, which will help students prepare better. It will also relieve them a bit. In addition, students who feel they have underperformed in the first inspired to do better in the second.

Students will also get closer to international teaching methods. CBSE has specified different situations in which the systems will be flexible to change according to the dynamic requirements. “As students move into higher education, they tend to focus only on exams and not on the actual application of learning,” says Pattajoshi. This change in approach at school level will lead to more changes in the way they approach higher education.

Schools, however, will need to update and prepare with students to align with the NEP 2020 guidelines. It is a bit early to debate the downsides of the decision. “We have to wait a while to see how this is implemented and how it comes to fruition over time,” says Pattajoshi.

Over the years, educators and policy makers have debated the need for reforms in the education sector; the pandemic provided this much needed opportunity to provoke it.


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