While most CBSE schools have already started their academic session, parents are finally coming to terms with a fresh challenge – the new assessment pattern implemented by the board. The board has abolished the continuous and comprehensive evaluation (CCE) pattern and brought back the earlier pattern of assessment with emphasis on pen-paper tests.
Principals of several CBSE-affiliated schools have confirmed that a uniform system of assessment and examination has replaced CCE for classes 6 to 9. Under CCE, students were assessed on two term-end ‘summative assessments’ and four ‘formative assessments’ (two each in each terms), where 60 per cent of the assessment was pen-paper tests while 40 per cent formative assessment during the year was continuous evaluation by teachers based on various activities.
“According to the new CBSE guidelines, two term exams would still be there but the pen-paper test weightage will become 90 per cent with two term exams of 80 marks each and 20 mark periodic assessment (unit tests) in each term. The periodic assessment will have 10 mark paper based on syllabus covered till announcement of exam date, five marks for notebook submission and five marks for subject enrichment activities, which include activity-based learning. The shift is now on theoretical learning which was not the strong point of CCE but which the board felt was necessary,” said C V Madhavi, principal of Aundh DAV.
“The school had sent a circular to us explaining the new pattern of assessment. Earlier there used to be two formative assessment tests in each semester and many smaller class assessments and even if my child missed one test, they could make up in another. But according to new system, formative assessment is no longer there. Now the students will write one class test like a unit test in one semester and these dates cannot be missed. There is not much clarity yet on the new pattern but I know one thing, the flexibility is lost,” said Sangita Vaidya, a parent.
Both parents and academicians say that doing away with the CCE that allowed for flexible exams and activity-based learning, new assessment pattern means four fixed exams a year and emphasis on theory learning. But it need not necessarily be a bad thing.
Lakshmi Kumar, principal of The Orchid School, Baner, said she was personally saddened to see the board taking a step back. “The CCE was not just memory based but skill-set based and very student centric, where teachers could teach and repeat until child passes muster. There were so many different modes of assessment like quiz, projects and not just pen-paper test. It tried to do away with old method where one exam decides your faith. But I am not sure if we used the tool in a responsible way, many students were just passed even if child didn’t acquire minimum competency. We see kids with 10 CGPA who can’t clear entrance test of Std 11. Hence to come back to a focussed theory-based learning may be the need of the hour,” she said.
Vinita Khaladkar, former principal of a CBSE school, said the new assessment will make parents and students take board exams seriously. “The children weren’t used to the hard work. Preparing for the complete syllabus was a shock for them in the higher classes. In new system, students in sixth will get 10 per cent of Term 1 syllabus in Term 2, in seventh it will go to 20 per cent and in eighth, it will be 30 per cent while by ninth, it will be complete portion. Hence students will be able to deal with pressure by the time they appear for boards,” she said.
Yogita Rampal, parent of a Class 9th student, said bringing in full syllabus would give students practice. “In fact, they should introduce from Std 8 itself. I didn’t believe in those project works because the children weren’t studying at all. Now at least they would study more,” Yogita said.
Principals also said it wasn’t necessary for schools to do away with best practices of CCE. “The board hasn’t restricted any school from taking additional tests or undertaking class projects. So at our school, we have left it to class teacher to decide if she wants to conduct additional class tests,” said Savita Verma, vice-principal of Sanskriti School.