They are used as a tool to assess students from other boards or schools

Vivek (name changed) was taken aback when his name did not figure in the class XI entrance test result list of Sir Sivaswami Kalalaya Senior Secondary School.

“Physics was tough, it covered a lot of first-term portions,” says Vivek, who is one of the class toppers of another CBSE school. He also thinks appearing for the test during the school-conducted Board exams could be the reason for finding some of the topics difficult.

If the season of entrance tests has begun for Class XII students, it is equally a busy time for students of other classes.

While a good number of students change boards after class X examination, there are many who opt for a change of school or board when moving from the primary to middle school. The previous year's report card is not the only document that schools want to rely on.

Entrance test is one main criterion to know the standard of the student coming from a different State and board.

Gateway The Complete School says it takes in any child who approaches the school but conducts a “diagnostic test”, where knowledge of English and Mathematics is assessed at all classes.

For middle and high school students, science is also tested. “If a candidate is severely short of the required mark, we would recommend to the parent that the child be admitted to a lower grade. But if the child performs exceptionally well, we could even offer him a class higher,” says Gayathri Deepak, principal of the school.

Schools feel an entrance test, where the knowledge of the previous class is put to test, is required to know the conceptual understanding of a child and accordingly bridge the gap between teachers and class of students. A student of class II would be assessed on basic addition, while somebody in high school would be asked to write an essay, and the choice varies among schools. Schools such as D.A.V. Higher Secondary School, Gopalapuram, say that with grading system adopted it is difficult to assess students.

“In A1 itself there would be many students, so we next look for the grand total,” says a teacher.

However, according to RTE Act no written exam should be conducted for admission up to class VIII. “Admission should not be denied to any child. If the child is weak, then he/she should be given special training for three months to two years and admitted in a class appropriate to his age and performance,” says K. Shanmugavelayutham, TN-Forces. But, Tamil Nadu is yet to enforce the Act, he adds.

For parents looking to admit a child into a new institution, a school in the neighbourhood should be the first preference. “A majority of parents do not ask about the pattern of the exam. Is it objective or essay type?” says a teacher of a CBSE school. Find out the textbook followed by the school as questions are generally set by the teachers as well as how much marks would the child be tested on, says the teacher. She says that although it is a small percentage, the syllabus of the last term carries more weightage.

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Liffy ThomasJune 28, 2012