CBSE scraps open text-based assessment

Also suspends international curriculum pending review

CBSE scraps open text-based assessment
The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has from this year discontinued Open Text-Based Assessment (OTBA) system, which allows students of Class IX and XI to write their examinations with the help of study material. The study material covers multiple subjects and is prepared four months in advance.

In its latest circular, the board apprised the affiliate schools about its decision to stop OTBA from the academic year 2017-18, citing flaws as well as “negative feedback” from stakeholders. “Considering the modicum partial attainment of desired objectives of the OTBA and also based on the feedback of stakeholders, the board has decided to withdraw  OTBA from the scheme of studies for Class IX and XI from the session 2017-18,” the CBSE said in a notification.

The decision comes about three years after the board introduced the western model of open-text assessment system in its schools as part of its examination reforms  under the previous United Progressive Alliance (UPA) regime. The board introduced OTBA in Classes IX and XI examinations from March 2014 with an aim to incorporate “analytical and theoretical skills among students, thus moving away from memorisation”.

Under the open-text assessment method, study material in the form of articles, case studies, diagrams, a concept or mind map, a picture or a cartoon based on the concepts taught to the students in classes were prepared four months ahead of the examination.

For Class IX students, the study material covered Hindi, English, Mathematics, Science and Social Sciences subjects while the students of Class XI got study material for Economics, Biology and Geography. “According to the feedback we received, the system was not yielding the desired results,” a CBSE official said.

The OTBA system had received a thumbs up from a large number of schools, parents, teachers and students when it was introduced by the CBSE in 2014. In a separate circular, the board has notified its decision to suspend its international curriculum (CBSE-i), citing “operational difficulties and flaws”.

“It was resolved to have a comprehensive review of the pilot project of CBSE-i curriculum by a government consultancy organisation. The permission to implement CBSE-i curriculum stands withdrawn with effect from 2017-18,” the Board said in its notification.
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