If the New Education Policy is approved and implemented, school students will appear for a board-like examination after classes 3, 5, and 8. One of the rationales behind introducing ‘state-census examination’ at the end of grades 3, 5, and 8 is that board examinations on only two occasions, at the end of grades 10 and 12, renders these assessment tests as only summative and not formative.
The draft Education Policy, currently available in the public domain for comments and suggestions, has listed out the harmful effects of the board examinations in their current form.
The policy underlines the enormous amount of pressure class 10 and 12 students feel during board examinations. The policy says that the harmful coaching culture is a by-product of this compulsion to perform during these few days. Everything else in a students’ life takes a backseat during these two examinations.
“In particular, real understanding, thinking, analysing, doing, and learning takes a secondary seat to mugging, rote learning, and obtaining coaching for performing on these life-altering examinations,” says the draft policy.
Another drawback of the current structure of Board Examinations is that students are forced to concentrate only on a few subjects at the expense of others, preventing a truly holistic development.
To address this, the draft policy has suggested an overhaul of the board examinations.
It says that the board examinations be made easier in the sense that they test a student’s core capacities instead of assessing months of rote learning.
“The goal will be to be flexible, like the curriculum, and to design the Board Examinations so that any student attending classes in their chosen subjects and making basic efforts in these classes will be able to comfortably pass their Board Examinations…”
The policy also suggests that to eliminate the ‘high stakes’ aspect of the board examinations, students will be allowed to take up to two attempts at the board examination in a given academic year.
The plan also suggests that once computerized learning is standardized, all assessment methods shall be shifted to computerized testing allowing students to take tests on more than one occasion.