Fair assessment: On CBSE Class 12 evaluation system

With its marks tabulation framework for Class 12 students encompassing three assessment years starting with Class 10, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has ended prolonged anxiety among lakhs of students. The Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) has also developed a similar system. Student evaluation after a chaotic pandemic year remains a challenge in all countries, and many have opted for a hybrid system of school-level internal assessments combined with any examinations that may have been held. The CBSE scheme, evolved to fulfil a Supreme Court mandate, distributes score weightage across the Class 10 public examination, the Class 11 annual test, and the Class 12 school tests in a 30:30:40 ratio for theory, and actual score for internal assessment and practicals. This aims to level out any aberrant phase in a student’s performance. Since the marks considered from Class 10 will be the average of the best three subjects among five, students must feel reassured. When they wrote that examination, they had no inkling of the future importance of the score. A provision to take a Class 12 public examination at a later date to attain a higher score when the pandemic has waned should also have a calming effect. Evidently, there are some challenges to uniformly implementing the CBSE plan, and its success hinges on the approach of school result committees responsible for inclusion of Class 12 marks. Uneven access to devices and online connectivity in the final school year, with an impact on scores or even resulting in non-appearance must be resolved by the result committees.

Successful conclusion of Class 12 assessment, which lacks the standardisation available in a public examination, and declaration of results by July 31 depend on result committees marking the theory segment transparently and moderating marks for the senior secondary years based on the school’s performance over a period of time. There is then the issue of fraud. Even in the U.K., reports indicate influential parents brought pressure on schools to give their wards an unfair hike in grades in a similar mixed evaluation system, with veiled threats of legal disputes. For fairness, CBSE mandates the participation of external members on the result committees, but it will take utmost openness to dispel students’ apprehensions. State Boards waiting for the central model for comparison also need to draw up safeguards, including a dependable dispute resolution process. Education boards were caught unawares last year by the pandemic and could not evolve suitable evaluation tools. Unfortunately, the course of the pandemic remains uncertain, and developing a continuous assessment system for 2021-22 and beyond has become a necessity. The CBSE has taken the lead on this, and State Boards must not lose time in forming their own.

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Printable version | Jul 25, 2021 6:22:20 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/opinion/editorial/fair-assessment-the-hindu-editorial-on-cbse-class-12-evaluation-system/article34853417.ece

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