‘Opinions of all stakeholders should be considered before implementing new system’
Debates on the pattern of evaluation system followed in schools have gained momentum again with the proposal of open-book examination system in Standards X and XII in Central Board of Secondary Examination Schools by the Ministry of Human Resource Development recently.
Though the committee to reform school examination headed by CBSE Chairman Vineet Joshi is yet to finalise the proposal being planned to be implemented in 2013, many aspects of it had met with mixed response from educationists. Though termed as open-book examination, according to the committee, the students would not be allowed to carry books to the exam hall instead would be informed of the portions based on which analytical and application-oriented questions would be asked.
While the students appeared thrilled about the idea, experts say that it would take time to prepare the teachers and students to follow the new pattern and it should be implemented in stages. Purni Krishnakumar, Consultant Special Educationist and psychologist, said that the new evaluation pattern will improve the cognitive and analytical skills of the students if implemented properly. “Though it is too early to comment on the new examination method, boiling it down by not allowing students to carry their books might fail the purpose behind the reform,” she said.
While many teachers said that the merits of the new system could be analysed only after the proposal is finalised, others said that opinions of all stakeholders should be considered before implementing it.
Harini Ananth, a Standard IX student of National Model Matriculation School, after attending an open-book exam as part of formative assessment of Comprehensive Evaluation Method, said that she liked the new method, but it was tougher than she had imagined. “We do not have to memorise things but we cannot copy the text as such. We should be familiar with the textbook and should have an understanding of the topic to answer the questions, “she said. The introduction of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) had brought in a positive shift in pedagogical methods with focus on analytical and application-oriented evaluation system. Brining in open-book system would strengthen these reforms already initiated by the CBSE, said Vijayalakshmi Menon, principal, the Western Ghats International School.
According to Geetha Laxman, principal, National Model CBSE School, the school had been following the open-book examination for formative assessment as per the CCE method for two years. But, unlike the new proposal, the students were allowed to carry their textbooks and notebooks to the examination hall and were provided reference books. Now the proposal is to change the way summative evaluation is conducted.
“Earlier, only those who could memorise and reproduce answers scored good marks but when experimented with open-book examination around 80 per cent of the students performed well,” said K. Saraswathi, a science teacher.
The CBSE has also recently decided to stop providing blue prints, sample question papers and marking schemes in classes IX and X for summative assessment.