Children

What an asset

Illustration: Sahil Upalekar

Illustration: Sahil Upalekar   | Photo Credit: Illustration: Sahil Upalekar

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Like school life didn’t have enough exams, there was one more, every year, which made life miserable.

The last few months of the year are always filled with fun stuff at school — Dussehra break, Deepavali holidays, sports day, annual day and then the long Christmas break. There’s practice, Sport’s Day heats, and Project Day submissions and regular studies kind of take a back seat.

It’s the best! But, like in any fairy tale, just when everything seems perfect and made of candy, a big bad wolf or an evil witch lurking in the shadows jumps out, grabs you and cooks you in an oven. Okay, I know I’m mixing fairy tales up — think of it as a remix okay?

In my fairy tale life of hardly any studies and homework, the big bad wolf-witch (hybrid villains, people) looks like the ASSET exam. ASSET stands for Assessment of Scholastic Skills through Educational Testing, and this national test is meant to see what concepts students understand and don’t understand with detailed feedback on what we can improve in. WHY?

I mean, I already know that I get confused between 12:00a.m. and 12:00p.m. and never remember which is which.

And that irregular verbs are just something my brain can’t process. And that I’m not sure where people dance Bhangra — is it Gujarat or Assam? Neither? SEE!

More exams

Why do I need another exam to tell me what I suck at? School has enough of those exams already. At least school exams are a little straightforward. These ASSET tests try to confuse you and trip you up at every turn. All the questions are sneaky and all the answers sound the same. It’s awful.

And then, when they give you the results, they don’t stop with just a grade or score, but they write pages and pages of feedback of what you ‘might’ want to work on. And guess what happens when parents read that kind of feedback? They go into hyperdrive. Suddenly, everything is about how to make me improve my ‘spatial awareness’ and ‘logical reasoning’ and ‘improve my structural foundation’. Structural foundation? I’m a child, not a church. Aargh.

My ASSET scores have been pretty unspectacular these last few years and you’d think I’d be worried. But no. Do you want to know why? The scores don’t matter. They can’t keep me back a year or kick me out of school if I don’t do well in them. The scores have no bearing on my great future as a PubG superstar, a spider expert, or a writer of amazing graphic novels. I protest that I have to take them only to have them make me feel bad and not smart. I tried to look up to see if there was a constitutional loophole that I could use to get out of taking the exam. You know, that this is again my basic right as a person and all. My history teacher, K Ma’am said that if I spent half the time on studying for my ASSET as I was trying to get out of writing the exam, I’d pass.

Teachers are wolf-witches in sarees, waiting to jump out and slay you with their logical reasoning.

This fairy tale is not going to have a happy ending, folks.

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Printable version | Dec 6, 2019 5:31:09 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/children/what-an-asset/article30146475.ece

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