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Board exams twice a year, removal of 3 streams, no written exams till Class 3: NCF draft for school education

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New Delhi: Introducing two board exams, dividing subjects into eight curricular areas for Class 10 students, and ending science, arts or humanities and commerce streams for higher secondary students are among the major structural changes in school education suggested in the National Curriculum Framework (NCF) draft released Thursday.

It also proposes no exams till Class 2 and introduction of written exams in the next class. The assessment of students is suggested to go more serious from there onwards.

Drawing heavily from the National Education Policy (NEP) 2020, it also talks about “holistic report card” and self-assessment” for the benefit of students.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) had introduced the split-term system for the academic year 2020-21, but later rolled back the next session, saying that it was a temporary measure introduced due to the pandemic.

Two board exams for Class 10 and 12 are now back under the NCF —  as suggested under the NEP — with the objective “to ensure that students have both enough time and opportunity to perform well”.

“Students can then appear for a Board examination in courses 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,” the document says.

Eight curricular areas of humanities, mathematics and computing, vocational education, physical education, arts education, social science, science and interdisciplinary areas are suggested for Class 10 students at the end of their term.

In Classes 11 and 12, students will have to choose disciplines from at least three curricular areas and study four courses in each discipline.

For Classes 9 and 11, it says, “Summative assessments can be designed using case-based questions, simulations, and essay-type questions to enable assessment of Competencies. At this stage, students should also be prepared to undertake the Board examinations and other selection tests to gain access to higher education and livelihood opportunities.”

As for Classes 5 to 8, the document says regular summative assessments would help students synthesise their learning at logical intervals.”

Written tests should be introduced from Classes 3 to 5, the NCF draft says. “Portfolios can be used to capture student progress holistically through their work. This could also provide a reliable picture of their learning to parents. Peer and Self-assessments could also be introduced to help students monitor the trajectory of their own learning,” it adds.

The proposals suggest no assessment for preschool to Class 2.  “The two important methods of assessment that are appropriate for the Foundational Stage are observations of the child and analysing artefacts that the child has produced as part of their learning experience,” the document reads.  “It should not contribute to any additional burden for the child.”

It also suggests two types of assessments — formative and summative — for students

“Formative assessments are continuous and ongoing,” the NCF draft says, and adds that they are generally low stakes and do not have strong consequences.

Examples given for such assessments are observing student behaviour in class, asking students to draw a concept map in class to represent their understanding of a topic or write a few sentences with a friend on a poem they have read.

Summative assessments evaluate student learning at the end of a lesson or a logical period of teaching like the term-end test, submission of a project or writing a paper, the document says. “Results of summative assessment can also be used for formative purposes i.e., informing teaching and learning.”

A child’s progress card will be a “holistic, 360-degree, multidimensional report that reflects in great detail the progress as well as the uniqueness of each learner in the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains,” the NCF draft says.

It adds that the report will also include self-assessment and peer assessment, and the progress of the child in project based and inquiry-based learning, quizzes, role plays, group work, portfolios, etc., along with teacher assessment.