CBSE’s new test method for evaluating ‘strength’ of students

The first ever Open Text Based Assessment (OTBA)  also called the CBSE Open Book Exam will be administered by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) next year in March. More commonly referred to as the open book exam, this new method of assessment was termed by the Board as a feasible way to “cater to the varied abilities of individual strength of learners”, in addition to incorporating theoretical and analytical skills that drastically moves away from the memorization approach.

However, the teachers in Bangalore-based CBSE schools are of the opinion that the move lacks in clarity when it comes to the mode of assessment as well as the type of teaching strategies that would eventually be needed to accomplish the objective of developing a thorough evaluation process.

According to the circular issued to the heads of institutes affiliated to the Board, the new mode of assessment would be an integral part of the session-ending exam and comprises of 10 marks. Students will also be granted additional half-an-hour to attempt the OTBA question.

CBSE has already made available study materials in the form of diagram, case studies, pictures, cartoons etc. All questions in the exam will be subjective, open-ended or creative.

Meanwhile, J. Anantha Padamanabhan, principal, Kendriya Vidalaya, M.G. Railway Colony  said that the new assessment method demands a drastic change in the conventional way of teaching.

“Teachers need to be trained to make students think analytically. This is not a mere fact-finding or information-gathering exercise. The OTBA aims to develop an analytical line of thinking among students,” he noted. 

Because the themes are much broader, many teachers are of the opinion that there are a number of grey areas about how they are supposed to train the students.

“The CBSE has introduced several new programmes, from Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation to OTBA; they are introducing these concepts without providing any clarity. When our teachers themselves are unsure of how the assessment would be, how can we prepare for it?” said a class XI student while talking to The Hindu.

However, CBSE is arranging workshops in order to train teachers about the various aspects associated with OTBA.

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