Bengaluru

Perils of online classes: Parents dictate answers, write exams

Illustration: sebastian francis  

Some mothers and fathers appear to have taken helicopter parenting to new heights. Teachers were stumped when they sat down to evaluate answer scripts submitted by students who sat for the midterm examinations last month. In once of the many such instances, they noticed that the handwriting in the answer scripts did not match that of the student’s, and upon further investigation, they realised that it was a parent who had answered the questions.

Perils of online classes: Parents dictate answers, write exams

There were also reports of cheating during the examination. Prior to the midterms, school managements had written to parents asking them to be invigilators at home and ensure that their children do not cheat. However, teachers who were also invigilating via online platforms found that many parents were helping their children by dictating the answers. In more extreme cases, the cameras were switched off while parents attempted to write the entire examination.

“I got a message from the school informing me that many parents in my child’s class had written the answers, and that the marks of these students would be withheld,” said a mother of a class six student enrolled in a school in south Bengaluru.

Many teachers also reported instances of parents shouting and yelling at their children even as the examination was under way, asking them to write the correct answers quickly.

Sumanth Narayan, founder of Shanthinikethana School, said parents were trying to prompt their child. “We ask students to use two devices while writing the examination — the camera of one device needs to be switched on and they can use the other device to upload the handwritten answer papers. Our teachers immediately call out and ask parents to stop assisting the students. That is the best we can do. Parents need to understand that by helping them, their children do not benefit,” he said.

Tweaking assessment strategies

Schools are trying to address this problem by using other forms of assessment. Mr. Narayan said that besides writing skills, they also evaluate students on competencies such as listening comprehension, dictation, and quiz, and also ask them to make presentations on various topics.

A teacher of an international school in Yelahanka pointed out that such forms of cheating were not restricted to examinations alone. “In the past, parents have helped students with their projects, but now that they are working from home, they are trying to take over and want to complete the entire project themselves,” she said.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2021 6:59:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/bangalore/some-midterm-answer-scripts-leave-teachers-stumped/article33180609.ece

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