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.


CBSE material for open book exam sent to schools

The Central Board Secondary Education (CBSE) has made available material for the much talked about Open Text Based Assessment (OTBA) exam scheduled to be held next year.

Moving a step further towards implementing the highly anticipated Open Text Based Assessment (OTBA), commonly known as open book exams, the Central Board Secondary Education (CBSE) has announced the course material for the exam to be held next year in March.

The board came up with a comprehensive syllabus comprising of both text and pictorial content whereupon the new, much talked about exam will be based.

The CBSE will conduct the Open Book Exam for the students of Std IX and XI as a part of their final examination/. For Std IX, the materials for all of the main subjects including English, Hindi, Science, Social Science and Mathematics were released. Similarly, the board also released course material for Std XI (Biology, Geography and Economics).

The first edition of the OTBA will be confined to only the aforementioned subjects, however CBSE plans to incorporate new subjects into the exam with time.

Reports are that, CBSE will be providing the text material for both Std IX and XI within an unspecified time frame. It’s worth mentioning here that unlike most regular exams, students who appear in the OTBA will be allowed to refer to the text as well as pictorial content during the exam-hours.

Dismissing the skepticism expressed by a section of media and experts, the CBSE has clarified that the OTBA is designed in a way that it will never cause any adverse effect on regular exams and how they are conducted.

The board, in a written statement, urged that all teachers responsible for smooth functioning of the OTBA read and comprehend the core concept associated with the exam (including its objective and modus operandi)

“They (teachers) should assign this text material to their students in groups for further understanding, analysis and discussion. It is reiterated here that the main objective of introducing OTBA is to relieve the students from the burden of mugging up of content and provide opportunities in acquiring skills of information processing, comprehension, analysis and inference,” read the statement issued by CBSE.