For the first time, marks in practical examination will count

The first common board practical examination for students of class X will be held between March 16 and 26. This is the first time that students of government and aided schools have a practical component introduced in the curriculum, which also carries weightage of 25 marks The theory paper will test students for 75 marks.

Along with this being the first step to help students appreciate theory and develop curiosity in science, teachers are happy that introducing practical is going to help students score marks. “This is going to be a boon for students who struggle to score 35 marks out of 100. Now, if a student scores 15 marks in practical and the rest in theory, it would help them scrape through,” said a teacher of a Chennai School in Velachery. Each of the examination centres will have an external evaluator monitoring the candidates. But, there is no viva-voice introduced to make it a stress-free experience for students. Of the total 25, five marks will be counted on the record work submitted, attendance of students and attitude towards practical, said an official of the Directorate of Government Examinations.

Every school having strength of over 40 students in class X is designated as a practical examination centre. North Chennai, which has 96 government and aided schools and 150 matriculation schools, has the highest number of practical examination centres – 78. Students from schools with no laboratory provision are being accommodated in the nearest school with such facility.

Experiments in Chemistry and Biology seem to be the easy ones among most students.

Topics in physics, chemistry and biology include identifying acids and basis, litmus tests, finding the focal length of convex lens by distance object method, measuring width of wires using a screw gauge, mapping a magnetic field and dissecting a flower. Four experiments each are included in each of the science subjects. Through draw of lots students perform the experiment that they get.

Welcoming introducing practical component, Subbiah Pandian, associate professor of Physics, Presidency College, says the experiments chosen should be relevant to what students are learning in the text book. “Having practical will help students appreciate theory better. It could even be introduced from class IX itself. You don't need any sophisticated lab to develop scientific temper among students,” said Mr. Pandian.

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