In the wake of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) mulling whether the syllabus for classes X and XII Board Exams 2021 should be based on 70 or 50 percent of the syllabus, there is a hot debate ongoing among educationists on how much of assessment is fair during virtual classes amid world facing the pandemic.
According to a CBSE official, “The standards for online classes vary from school to school, or from urban to semi-urban and rural areas, and therefore, we are expecting some physical classes to happen before the exams. Therefore, in all likelihood, the Board exams may have to be shifted to April or beyond to accommodate classroom teaching and completion of the syllabus. Schools are also asking us to defer the dates as well as reduce the syllabus by 50 percent.”
Most teachers are of the view that while it is fair to assess the students, it needn’t be in an orthodox paper test format. The assessment can be ongoing and creative, and step by step.
Let’s move on from the orthodox style of evaluations
This is the right time to incorporate such a change. A child’s mind should be stimulated and questioned every day. A series of tests at a specific period of time is certainly not an indicator of his/her true potential. This has been the system all through these years and this is the best time to evolve out of it.
Simpy Dadiala, teacher, DPS, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi
Give students detailed rubrics for self-assessment
Assessments during Online classes are useful and highly essential as they act as a testimony to the entirely new methodology of imparting knowledge.
Teachers should provide students with explicit and detailed rubrics (scoring guide) to accurately communicate expectations for student performance.
Self-check quizzes could be used to check student learning and determine whether teaching strategies should be altered or continued.
Nikhil, Vantage Hall Girls Residential School, Vikasnagar, Dehradun
Inculcates self-discipline in students
Online assessments are impetus in providing feedback to the instructors to develop more student-centric teaching methods. They also inculcate self-discipline and responsibility in students towards their course.
S Sri Lakshmi, Msc MA, English Faculty, The Future Kids School, Rajahmundry, Vizag
Instant feedback and easier, quicker tests
Given the present times, having assessment tests during online school is the need of the hour. Candidates already working on the computer find it easier to answer online. Computer editing tools are a definite advantage. Speed and the ability to make quick decisions increases over time. Marking and moderating is more streamlined, secure, and standardised when it is managed online. Quick and clear reports are facilitated. This provides instant feedback, which is beneficial to students and teachers alike.
Gayatri Roy, English Faculty, Jayshree Periwal Global School, Jaipur.
Online tests act as a catalyst
Assessments are an important part of the education system. It acts as a catalyst. It's a positive reinforcement to learners. It encourages them to perform better. Online assessment is a significant technological advancement. With no clarity on when normal academic activity will resume, we all need to adapt to new ways of providing education and assessing students.
Jeeva Senthil, Principal, SBOA Matriculation Higher Secondary School, Coimbatore
Learning process incomplete without knowing the outcome
The assessment helps in understanding the learning outcome of a student. Without it, the teaching-learning process is incomplete. We should introspect: Is it fine to allow students to attend online classes but not check their learning outcomes? Is it fine to move them to the next grade without checking if they have achieved even the minimum learning outcome? If the answer is no, then the assessment is compulsory. It is a challenge to do it virtually. Finally, it is how we perceive, “We take challenges as opportunities or as troubles".
Mary Shanti Priya, Principal, Vista School, Hyderabad
Child is growing in different ways with online test system
With online tests, teachers get an idea about the students’ grasping capacity on the topics taught. Taking part in online tests also polishes their computer-based skills like making presentations, infographics, etc which will be a major part of their future endeavours.
Devika Awtar, vice-principal, Kendriya Vidyalaya, 3BRD, Chandigarh
Get rid of rote learning, all the problems will be solved
The focus of the assessment must be on the learning process and learning awareness, rather than on memorising facts. In the existing circumstances, the standard forms of testing can be also applied in distance learning, but in a smaller number and to a lesser degree. Innovative assessment methods comprise projects, posters, problem-solving, creation of e-portfolios, research work, practical work, all of which require teacher, parent, and peer support, as well as gradual progression with feedback to students related to various stages of their completion.
Nalini Subramanian, Vice Principal, Primary, The Choice School, Ernakulam
Tests should stay, formats need a makeover
Why put assessments on hold when teaching and learning are happening. The format of the assessments can and has changed to suit the current situation. It has been challenging for teachers, students, and even, parents as all three are equally involved in the current online education pattern.
Sonal Narang, senior vice-principal, Anand Niketan, Ahmedabad
Not just smartphones, we need a smart approach
Smartphones, smart students, smart teachers, smart assessment tools are the need of the hour.
Assessments are the most significant tool of the teaching-learning process as it gives an accurate picture on a student’s evaluation journey. Since teachers are not attending to them physically, assessments are an effective tool to support and enhance learning. It provides indicators for fulfilling the learning gap and to plan remedial measures. It highlights each students' strengths and weaknesses and provides them feedback that will further their learning.
N Vijayalakshmi, Principal, Bhaktavatsalam Vidyashram, Chennai
A child will prepare only when told there is an evaluation
Irrespective of whether the child has attended classes regularly or not, only when students get to know that they will be assessed will they revise what is being taught. Assessments, therefore, make students accountable, competitive, and motivated.
Kiranmai C, teacher, MES Kishore Kendra Public School, Bengaluru
Why be scared of tests? Face them. Life would throw them every day
It is essential and one should look at tests positively. The results of an assessment should be used by students as stepping-stones towards progress and not as hindrances. This transformation will prepare the students for the real world, where there will be innumerable tests every day.
Jaya Misra, Teacher, Lakshmipat Singhania Academy, Kolkata
Make it interesting and fun. Let that be a teacher’s test to do so…
Assessments, in some form, are crucial to any learning and educational process. Oral assessments, quizzes, conversational assessments are some ways in which students can be assessed.
Vinita Raj, Principal, Sacred Heart High School
(Anchored by Malini Menon with inputs from all centres)