New CBSE exam format evokes mixed response

PUBLISH DATE 23rd March 2017

The Central Board of Secondary Education's recent decision to have a uniform assessment system from Standard VI to IX instead of continuous comprehensive evaluation (CCE) has received mixed reactions from the city's school principals.

Parents, however, have wholeheartedly supported the move saying that this will prepare the students for Std X and higher classes, where the examinations are based on the whole syllabus instead of just a part.

The new pattern has been made keeping in mind the compulsory board exams that the students will have to appear for from the 2017-18 academic year.

Some principals feel the new system would not be beneficial for all students.

Nandini Charles, director of schools' programme and joint secretary in Dr Vikhe Patil Foundation, said, “I don't think the new system is better.It is going back to the same old way of testing a child's memory instead of intelligence. CCE checked the systematic learning process of the child. By abolishing this and preparing students for written exams, we are defeating the purpose of preparing students for the 21st century . The CCE helped all kinds of students in learning.But emphasis on pen-paper test will not be beneficial for all.“

Amruta Prabhu, principal of The HDFC School, said, “CBSE has apparently not consulted any educationists and changed the assessment based on feedback from teachers of government schools.After asking us to adapt CCE for the past 10 years, now they want us to go back to the conservative approach, which doesn't provide any scope for the development of differentiated learners.“

Prabhu added that the emphasis on exams was reduced because of increasing suicides among students, but the government was now putting pressure back on students.

“The teachers in govern ment schools don't want to put in the kind of work that is required in CCE, and hence they wanted the assessment pattern to change to pen-paper. In CCE, teachers have to devise various strategies and means to help all kinds of learners,“ Prabhu said.

Binita Poonekar, principal of Army Public School, however, defended the move. “The CCE system has failed and the quality of education was deteriorating. Students were coming up to Std X, XI and then were unable to cope with the syllabus. Now this will help students to be prepared to study the entire portion, and they will not be caught unawares when they enter Std X,“ Poonekar said.

Meera Dilip, a parent whose child studies in Std VII in a CBSE school in the city , said, “I am also in favour of the new assessment system. First, there will be uniformity in the way students are assessed across CBSE schools. Students will once again concentrate on academics. In many schools, teachers had no idea what CCE meant, and neither the academics, nor related activities were being done as per CBSE norms. Now, there will at least be focus on important things at school and the result will be out for all to see.“

Another parent, Rajini Nair, said, “There were problems of favouritism in giving internal marks. With 90% marks now based on exams, there will be more transparency . Students in CCE system are in a comfort zone till Std X and then suddenly the enormity of the syllabus hits them. If CCE is to be continued, they must continue it in higher education also so that students are prepared.Till the time Std X and higher classes follow pen-paper test, it is better to follow the same in lower classes too.“

Two terms in new system

Under CCE, 60% of the assessment was based on pen-paper tests while 40% formative assessment during the year was done by continuous evaluation by teachers based on various activities.

The new scheme also has two terms. For Class VI to VIII, the pen-paper test weightage will now be 90%, which includes the 80 marks of the half yearly or yearly exam and 10 marks for periodic assessment in each term, 5 marks for notebook assessment and 5 marks for subject enrichment.

For Std IX, 80% weightage will be given to annual exam, while the rest remains same.

The report cards and the way students are marked in schools affiliated to CBSE will remain the same, helping children of parents with transferrable jobs.