The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is considering a system of continuous assessment for 2021-22, whereby all student scores — from unit tests, mid-terms, project work and pre-Board exams — would be regularly recorded with the Board throughout the year, so that it will be possible to compute and declare final results even if COVID-19 prevents a final Board examination again, Controller of Examinations Sanyam Bhardwaj told The Hindu on Thursday.
“We are preparing a scheme which will be implemented for the 2022 examination for Class 10 and Class 12. In case the pandemic persists, even then we will be able to declare the result without such special schemes. We have started working on it, and discussions are going on,” he said.
“We are trying to ensure that at regular intervals, we should note down the performance of the students and that should be with the CBSE only. The school will be doing each and every thing and that will be with us, and if there is any problem, we should be able to declare the result, without having to ask the schools to apply this kind of formula to declare the result,” he added, noting that the CBSE was considering the option of asking for each assessment through the year to be submitted to the board. This may lead to further standardisation of continuous assessment formats as well.
Dr. Bhardwaj was speaking soon after he notified the CBSE Tabulation Policy for the 2020-21 Class 12 results, which gives a lot of discretion to schools themselves and their Results Committees to assign and even revise marks in order to ensure they aligned with the school’s historical performance.
“In a nutshell, it is the sole responsibility of the committee to prepare fair and unbiased results of the students. Therefore, Committee is fully competent to take any justified decision in writing looking into the ground realities,” says the Policy. For a subject with an 80-20 split between theory and practical components, for instance, 32% of the student’s final mark will come from the continuous assessment done in Class 12, while 24% will come from the internal Class 11 marks, all of which is in the hands of the Results Committee to assign and revise as needed.
However, the inclusion of two external teachers in the Results Committees to act as “watchdogs”, as well as the requirement that the justification for all decisions be laid down in a rationale document which must be uploaded on the school website once results are declared, are steps meant to reduce the possibility of bias, Dr. Bhardwaj said.
The CBSE hopes to use the experience of the past year to drive long-term changes in attitude among students and teachers regarding continuous assessment. “We are trying for a system to be brought into place, looking into the New Education Policy, in which we will see that year-round development should be recorded and that should be reflected in the result of the student. It will not be one term-end examination which is going to decide the result, but there are going to be many more exams or opportunities for students to improve their performance,” said Dr. Bhardwaj, adding that this would not be for Class 12 alone, but for all students. “This was a pandemic year which has given a lesson to us. I feel that we all need to be very careful and sincere in all tests and examinations, so there is no problem at the end,” he added.
For 2020-21, the Tabulation Policy lays out the Board’s rationale for its 40:30:30 formula. It was decided not to rely solely on Class 12 unit tests and pre-Boards, “due to the nature of online examinations from homes, and differential access to digital infrastructure” as well as “the subjectivity inherent in school-based assessments”, it said. Thus, Class 10 Board exam scores have been given 30% weightage for the theory component as they are the only standardised exam conducted offline in a pre-COVID-19 era.
However, there was a concern that students’ ability may have evolved since then, especially as the student may have selected different subjects at the senior secondary level. Thus, the Class 11 marks were also included, as they were conducted in the same subjects as Class 12, and were held offline just before COVID-19 struck last March, explained the Policy.