COVID-19: DSEK bars Govt, private schools to conduct pen-paper exams

‘Carry on assessment in online mode; wait till commencement of T-1 test’

Srinagar: The Directorate of School Education Kashmir (DSEK) has barred all the government and private schools to schedule any pen-paper test till the commencement of Term-1 assessment of students in the schools.

The directions come in the wake of the complaints from the parents against some of the schools who have scheduled offline (pen-paper) unit tests for the students. The schedule of offline exams for students was notified days after the school resumed offline classes in a staggered manner.

The parents had opposed the move saying holding offline exam amid surge in COVID-19 positive cases was uncalled for. The parents complained to this newspaper about some private schools which had notified the date sheet for holding exams.

“Date sheets are being issued midst the highest recorded cases in five months. If examinations are conducted in offline mode the parents will be compelled to send their wards irrespective of their health conditions as well as their family members,” a parent complained to Greater Kashmir.

“We are extremely concerned about the health and welfare of our wards and holding examinations is nothing but forceful tools to show false normalcy,” the parent said.

The parents castigated the schools saying that the school management demanded a letter of consent from parents for sending kids to schools for offline classes and scheduling exams makes parental consent meaningless.

“Most of the parents have not given any consent to send kids to schools but the institutions have decided to hold exams,” the parent complained.

In wake of this, the DSEK issued circular instructions to all the schools that assessments in the form of role plays, choreography, class quiz, puzzles and games, brochure designing, presentation journals and portfolios may be preferred over routine pen-paper testing.

“The instructions shall be strictly adhered to until the commencement of Term 1st assessment, the circular reads.

The DSEK circular states that complaints were received against some schools for not following the requisite SoPs while conducting the periodical assessment.

“Assessment plans should be prepared along with rubrics. The formats for periodic test, midterm and final exams should be designed as per the demand of the situation and keeping in view the number of days and adjusted curriculum,” the circular reads.

The schools have been directed to refrain from planning any assessment of student learning in the first two to three weeks of reopening of schools. “This will ensure emotional well-being of the students in schools,” the circular reads.

Moreover, the government has also instructed the government and private schools not to put students under stress by planning any such exam to assess the learning level of the students on the basis of their home based learning.

“Non-stressing assessments should be planned to identify the learning gaps,” the DSEK circular reads.

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