Reduced exam duration, objective questions: School principals hail CBSE’s new board exam format

New Delhi: The Central Board of Secondary Education’s new format for first term board exams for classes 10 and 12, including 90 minutes long objective type tests, has been hailed by several school principals who believe the decision will help enhance critical thinking of students.

Bifurcating the academic session, holding two term-end exams and rationalising the syllabus were part of the special assessment scheme for class 10 and 12 CBSE board exams for 2021-22, which were announced in July in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The first term exams will begin from November 30 for major subjects, while the schedule for minor subjects will be sent to schools separately.

“This will be exactly after two years that the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) would be conducting physical exams on such a large scale.

The new objective format has a five-minute increased reading time, which is quite thoughtful and would help the students to read the questions and the options carefully before selecting the right answers.

The idea of 90-minute tests in the first term board exams is excellent as during the times of lockdown, the mode of teaching, learning and grasping has undergone a massive change,” Pallavi Upadhyaya, Principal, DPS-RNE Ghaziabad, told PTI.

“Looking at the drastic change in pedagogical methods due to lockdown, this decision of bifurcating boards score in objective and subjective examinations is indeed great.

This will lessen the stress and burden of learning for the students.

On the flip side, it has been noticed that the children score more in subjective than in objective, as in subjective they are able to put forth their ideas in their own creative words whereas in objective, there can be only one right answer,” she added.

Upadhyay further said one cannot refute that this method does enhance the critical thinking of the students and the creative thinking of the students can be tested in the subjective exams.

According to Seema Kaur, Principal, Pacific World School, Noida, the changed pattern this year with first term being tested as an objective based exam may be difficult for many students, but focus on conceptual clarity will help.

“Yet the real focus is to test the knowledge and concept clarity of the students.

Keeping this in mind, we are ensuring that the students are given adequate practice of the objective-based questions and continuous reiteration of concepts is being done to enable them to comprehend the critical as well as high order thinking questions with ease.

“The 90 minutes exam is not a mere test of learning, but also a deliberate attempt to test the psychological wellbeing of children.

Ability to understand the question and analyse the options judiciously is being practiced in the class to ensure good result,” she said.

The plans by the board to split the session into two terms had come against the backdrop of the pandemic, which forced the cancellation of board exams for some subjects last year and a complete cancellation of the exams this year.

The result was then announced on the basis of alternative assessment schemes developed by the board.

The exams will be objective and the duration of the tests will be 90 minutes.

The exams will start from 11.30 am instead of 10.30 am in view of the winter season.

The exams for the minor subjects will be conducted by schools though the question paper will be provided by the board.

“The objective paper and timing from 11.30 am will definitely be beneficial as students will get more time in revising the course and to clear the doubts in the school.

It was a tough time for all when everyone faced the pandemic.

“We are ready with the arrangements recommended by CBSE, including seating 12 students per room, regular thermal checking and sanitisation and all covid protocols will be ensured,” said Anshu Mittal, Principal, MRG School, Rohini.

According to Sangeeta Hajela, Principal, DPS Indirapuram, the gradual and graded re-introduction of the offline examination system is surely a welcome move as due to the pandemic, the students were exposed to the offline examinations for quite some time.

“Bifurcation of board exams in objective and subjective pattern, in two separate sets of examinations is a good way to provide for the correct assessment in view of the unpredictable nature of the pandemic.

There won’t be a rush to cover the whole syllabus in a single go; and the division will make teaching and learning more streamlined and effective.

Increasing the reading time from 15 to 20 minutes would also help students get accustomed to the new paper pattern.

“The change of examination timing to 11:30 am from 10:30 am is also a thoughtful move by the CBSE, keeping in mind the severe winter season in some parts of the country.

We look forward to this pattern and hope our students will be able to apply the learning to do well in this objective examination,” she said. (PTI)

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