This will be the last class X board exam. This academic year onwards students will be assessed on the basis of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation.

The 9.02-lakh CBSE students taking their class X board examination this March-April will not be awarded marks. Instead they will be awarded grades ranging from A1 to E2 in their certificates. And they are the last class X batch to take the annual board exam. From next year, there will be no board exam for class X.

Instead, their academic performance will be assessed on the basis of a Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE). CCE is nothing new to most CBSE-affiliated schools. The board had introduced it in primary classes in 2004 with an aim to achieve holistic learning in school, focus on identifying the talents of the learner and empowering them with positive inputs. The board thus recommended the elimination of the existing pass and fail system in primary classes. CCE was extended to classes VI, VII and VIII in 2006. It was introduced for Class IX in the second term of 2009.

From this academic year, CCE will replace the current system of evaluation for class X. CCE is a system of school-based evaluation that covers all aspects of students' development. It lays emphasis on continuity in evaluation as well as assessment of broad-based learning. It is aimed at providing a holistic profile of the learner through evaluation of both scholastic and co-scholastic areas spread over two terms in an academic year.

In effect, the students in school are introduced to what universities call semesters. CCE-based grading will be done in two terms. In a year, the school will conduct four formative and two summative assessments.

Formative assessment is a tool used by the teacher to continuously monitor student progress in a non-threatening and supportive environment. If used effectively it can improve student performance tremendously while raising the self-esteem of the child and reducing the work load of the teacher. Schools have been advised not to restrict the formative assessment to paper-pencil tests. Other means of tests such as quizzes, conversations, interviews, oral testing, visual testing, projects, practicals and assignments have been recommended.

Summative assessment is the exam held at the end of a term. The students will be tested internally. CBSE will give question banks as part of ensuring standardisation. Evaluation of answer scripts will be done by the school teachers based on a marking scheme provided by the Board. CBSE officials will, however, conduct random verification of the evaluation.

There will be nine grades. The highest will be A1 (exceptional) with a grade point of 10 and a marks range of 91-100 per cent. Second grade will be A2 (excellent) with a grade point of 9 and marks in the range of 81-90 per cent. Third grade will be B1 (very good) with grade point of 8 and a marks range of 71-80 per cent. The fourth grade will be B2 (good) with a grade point of 7 and marks range of 61-70 per cent. Fifth grade will be C1 (fair) with grade point of 6 and marks range of 51-60 per cent. C2 (average) will be the sixth grade with grade point of 5 and marks range of 41-50 per cent. D (below average) will be the seventh grade with 4 grade points and marks range of 33-40 per cent. E1 (needs improvement) and E2 (unsatisfactory) are the last two grades. “This system is very good in an ideal scenario,” says T.P.M. Ibrahim Khan, president of the Kerala CBSE Schools Management Association.

“With emphasis on the continuous growth of students ensuring their intellectual, emotional, physical, cultural and social development, the new system will help them a lot.” But he says it was implemented in haste. All stakeholders, including the school managers who play a vital role in ensuring quality, should have been consulted, Mr. Khan says.

According to Molly Cyril, principal of Choice School, Thripunithura, introduction of CCE and grading for Class X will take away a lot of unwanted competition as well as peer and parental pressure from students.