Not open to open book exam

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Not open to open book exam

The Central Board of Secondary Education’s (CBSE) plan to introduce a modified version of open book exam for Std X and XII students from next academic session has evoked mixed reactions from stakeholders.

As Metrolife talks to teachers, students, principals and other experts, some criticise the concept saying it is too early to introduce yet another new reform after Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE), many hail it as a great step in improving the analytical thinking of students.

Unlike what it sounds, the students will not be allowed to take text books inside the examination hall. Rather, they will be informed about the chapters and topics from which the analytical questions would be asked.

Anita Malhotra, Principal, Lotus Valley International School, Gurgaon, says the decision has been taken by experts which needs to be respected but it is not as simple as its sounds.

“The idea of ‘open book exam’ excites the children but it is certainly not as easy as they think. Even if you know the questions, it requires some skills to answer them if they are not direct. Besides, teachers need to be empowered and trained. Only then will it be a success,” she says.

A teacher at a reputed private school of the City expresses similar views and calls one after another reform in school education at short intervals ‘unfair on students’. “A few years ago CCE was introduced. Students and even schools are yet to adapt it properly.
 In fact, every school is doing it differently and there is a scope for lot of improvement. Some more time should be given to students to adapt to another change,” she shares on the condition of anonymity.

Even though schools are yet to be apprised of this decision officially by CBSE, some are already voicing concerns over the risk of quality dipping due to these experiments.

 Aakash Chaudhary, director, Aakash Institute, says, “I have experienced open book exam and it is highly fundamentals based. Students will have to be very thorough with their concepts. It will be very difficult to manage for average students, who could score decent marks by cramming.”

“We found that after CCE, there was a dip in the quality students appearing for competitive exams. Because of grade system, they enter class X with a very relaxed state of mind,” he says.

However, students, who have to appear for boards next year, appreciated the idea as it will be a real test of one’s intelligence and analytical ability.

Vasu Purohit, a Std XI student says, after grading system, those who score less and those who score well, are literally kept in the same bracket. “Analysis based questions will draw a clear line between those who understand concepts and those who score by mugging up,” he says.

Another student, Sana Sawhaey says, “I don’t think there is any point in bringing open book exam. Those who have to mug up will continue to do so. Low scoring students will suffer because now students at least know what kind of questions are asked.”

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