Wonder what the system would mean for weak students

So far, government and government-aided schools have been required to strictly abide by the State government's ‘all pass' policy for students till std. VIII.

The apparent purpose is to prevent students, particularly those in rural areas, from dropping out of studies. Even if the students score single digit marks, the teachers are expected to prop up the marks and promote them to the next class, irrespective of their attendance.

School heads now wonder what the State government's decision to introduce Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) system from the next academic year would mean for weak students.

CCE under trimester pattern has been proposed for classes I to VIII from 2012-13 onwards, and for classes IX and X from 2013-14.

According to an order issued by the State government through the School Education Department earlier this year, the CCE system is meant to move away from just rote learning and memory-based questions to application-oriented ones, besides testing the problem-solving and thinking skills of children.

They are to be given grades on a nine-point scale for scholastic area (curricular learning units) under summative and formative evaluations, and five-point scale for co-scholastic area (life skills), in each of the three terms under the proposed trimester pattern. However, the decision appears to be confined to the higher level.

“Information about the CCE system has not percolated to schools as yet. No discussion was held with any of the teachers' and headmasters' associations.

Even the Directorate of Government Examinations has not been acquainted with the CCE system,” Sami. Sathyamoorthy, State General Secretary, Association of Heads of High and Higher Secondary Schools of Tamil Nadu, claimed.

The system could cause confusion if implemented without familiarising teachers about the valuation procedure, he felt.

Official sources said there was still enough time to orient the teachers on the CCE methodology.

The reasoning at the official level is that the new approach would work positively since the progress of students will be monitored at frequent intervals.

The need for teachers to inflate marks for the students to ensure their promotion to next class would not arise since equal weightage will be given to cognitive ability slip tests of written mode and skill based assessment for activities like discussion, project and debate, a senior official explained.

While accepting this rationale, teachers are, nevertheless, sceptic about the efficacy of CCE for standard X. No dilution should be caused to the status of public examination at the SSLC level, they insist.

Officials, on the other hand, emphasise that the very idea behind introducing the CCE system is to avoid unnecessary competition among students and to nullify subjectivity of examiners.