Welcoming open book exams

Welcoming open book exams

A lot of experimentation has being happening in the education system off late. First the ‘controversial’ Four Year Undergraduate Programme (FYUP) and now the initiative to introduce open book exams for class IX and XI.

Ushering in a new system of conducting examinations, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will introduce this pathbreaking initiative in March next year. CBSE has told schools across the country to implement Open Text Based Assessment (OTBA) from March 2014 and has also released study material for the same.

For class IX, the open book examination will be conducted for all major subjects including English, Hindi, Mathematics, Sciences and Social sciences and for class XI, it will be held for Geography, Economics and Biology. OTBA will be applicable only to these subjects in the next session.

Metrolife spoke to few CBSE school teachers and principals to know whether it is a step in the right direction or not. Anju Puri, principal of DAV Public School, Vasant School, welcomes the initiative and says, “The main reason behind implementing this new system is to strengthen students’ analytical and theoretical skills by moving away from the trend of rote learning. It is definitely a positive step for the student’s future. What I feel is that it should start happening from the lower classes and not just IX and XI.”

However, as the name suggests, the open book examination does not mean that students will be allowed to carry textbooks inside the examination hall. CBSE’s
version of open book implies that students will be informed four months in advance about the study material on which the exam would be conducted.

Madhu Sharma, a social science teacher in St. Mary’s School too seconds Anju on the OTBA. “Due to the open book examination, students will get into the habit of researching and go that extra mile to work on their study materials. Even if we are aping the west, what is the harm? We should copy good things if it is beneficial for our students. This will increase the reading habit in kids, make them independent and develop their own
analytical thinking.”

The textual material given to the students will be related to chosen concepts taken from the syllabi of the students. OTBA will have subjective, creative and open ended questions to assess logical reasoning and analytical skills of a student.

The answers will be marked on the basis of four criterion. First will be, the student’s understanding and application of the concepts to the situational problems; second, their ability to suggest and bring out appropriate solutions to the problem; then their ability to come up with innovative opinions and fourth the ability to deeply analyse, based upon a wide range of perspectives.

Ameeta Mohan, principal of Amity International School, Pushp Vihar, says, “I think that this step would be beneficial for the kids in the future. They will develop the habit of reading, thinking and hence will develop views and opinions of their own, which will eventually help them in this global and competitive world.”

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