New Delhi, Aug 23 (PTI) Board examinations will be conducted twice a year and students will get an option to retain their best score, according to the New Curriculum Framework prepared by the Ministry of Education.
Aiming to make the exams “easier” rather than “high stakes”, the boards have also been asked to develop capacities to be able to conduct “on-demand” examinations in due course of time.
The New Curriculum Framework (NCF) document accessed by PTI also noted that there should be no hard separations between Arts and Sciences, curricular and extra-curricular activities, and vocational and academic streams.
“Board examinations should be offered at least twice a year to ensure that students have enough time and opportunity to perform well. Students can then appear for a board examination in subjects they have completed and feel ready for.
“This process could be made possible through the creation of a comprehensive test item bank which can be used to create tests using suitable software. This will enable the move towards a system of on-demand examinations in the near future as described in NEP 2020,” the NCF stated.
The Ministry of Education has noted that in the long term, all boards should change to semester or term-based systems, where students can test in a subject as soon as they have completed the subject, which would further reduce the content load being tested in any one examination.
However, this is not the first attempt at reforming board exams.
The Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) was introduced for class 10 in 2009, but was revoked in 2017 and the board reverted to the old model of year-end exams.
The board exams for classes 10 and 12 were also split into two terms during the pandemic as a one-time measure, but the old format of year-end examination was resumed for the crucial exams this year.
The NCF prepared by the national steering committee, headed by former ISRO chief K Kasturirangan, also suggests that the current practice of streaming into Science, Arts or Humanities, and Commerce will be replaced by a design that enables both breadth through engagement with a variety of courses across streams and depth in areas chosen by students.
“There should be no hard separations between Arts and Sciences, between curricular and extra-curricular activities, and between vocational and academic streams. This will eliminate harmful hierarchies among, and silos between, different areas of learning,”it said.
The Kasturirangan panel has noted that in recent decades, there has been an unfortunate trend in India to see grades 11 and 12 as merely a means to gain admission into higher education.
“The curricular logic often gets twisted due to this kind of instrumental thinking. The purpose of the secondary stage of schooling, particularly grades 11 and 12, must not be imagined as a mechanism for selecting and sorting students for different programmes in higher education,” it said.
The NCF noted that board examinations should assess the understanding and achievement of competencies rather than focusing on months of coaching and memorisation.
“These examinations should provide a valid and reliable picture of student performance as per the competencies in the curriculum. It is the responsibility of Boards of Examination to design and implement fair, reliable, and valid testing processes and instruments to assess achievement of the articulated competencies and certify students on the basis of this achievement,” it added.