Changes in Class X Exams

The Board of Secondary Education, Assam (SEBA) is thinking of major changes in the structure of its High School Leaving Certificate (HSLC) and High Madrassa (HM) examinations to bring them on par with the school final examinations of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE). However, one can see that the prime objective of SEBA is to introduce a means of ensuring that the assessment of those appearing for the HSLC and HM examinations becomes a continuous process rather than just one examination. What the SEBA indents to do is laudable for another reason. The structuring of the HSLC and HM examinations ensures not only continuous assessment of students but also the important element of autonomy of schools affiliated to the SEBA. What the revised to structure of the school final examinations of SEBA aim at is that students will not be awarded marks and grades solely on the basis of their performance in just one school final examination but that their performance in school throughout the year will also get reflected in the results of the HSLC and HM examinations. Apparently, what SEBA proposes to do is to base the school final results of 2015 on 50 per cent of the marks secured by candidates in the five core subjects of English, General Mathematics, General Science, Social Science and Major Indian Languages (MIL). The marks secured in the elective subject (sixth paper, which is selected by the candidates from a list of optional subjects) will also be added. By 2016 SEBA proposes to that end the HSLC examination on the CBSE model, including marks of continuous comprehensive evaluation (CCE) tests held across the year in the final HSLC results. This is a far better evaluation of students than the present mode of deciding their fate on just one single school final examination. This is a better form of evaluation also because it depends on a high level of autonomy than just one single school final examination. At the same time, one cannot afford to overlook the fact that greater autonomy calls for a far better level of training for teachers and examiners to ensure that autonomy that not degenerate to a means of legitimizing subjective evaluation of students. We often tend to overlook the fact that all attempts to use more sophisticated tools of evaluation call for far better training of those who have to use such tools. SEBA has long suffered from the lack of personnel adequately trained in educational evaluation to do justice to their responsibilities of providing certification of achievement to students appearing for the HSLC and HM examinations. This simple principle relating to the killers of any sophisticated tools is that the greater the sophistication the better the training needed for the use of such sophisticated tools. Now that SEBA has decided to rely on continuous comprehensive evaluation, it will need personnel adequately trained for the kind of sophistication that such progressive reforms call for. Unfortunately, the Board of Secondary Education, Assam managed for several years without any officer trained in Educational Evaluation to take care of examinations. We would not like to see the lack of adequate training undo the good intentions of SEBA in adopting the standards and the methodology set by the Central Board of Secondary Education for more acceptable modes of educational evaluation than what we have had over the years. Something that has set a whole lot of people worrying is what could happen to the future of SEBA if it continues in its accustomed groove as it has been doing for the last few decades. The time for a change should have been a few decades ago. But now that SEBA has decided to accept the inevitable changes one can only hope that they will be carried out with efficiency and with the requisite knowledge of the principles involved.
Source: The Sentinel (www.sentinelassam.com)

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