From the upcoming academic year, students from Classes 6 to 9 of the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will get their grades only if they attend Independence Day and Republic Day celebrations.
The announcement, made on Tuesday, is part of the new uniform assessment pattern that requires schools to assess students on their sincerity, attitude towards society, nation and other factors, which are hard to quantify, said teachers.
Under the new system, discipline has been separated from scholastic activities and will be graded separately. Going beyond attendance and tidiness, schools have been asked to grade their students on their ‘sincerity’ towards the country and society. The grades will be given on a three-point grading scale with A being equal to outstanding, B as very good and C qualifying as fair.
Principals and teachers are, however, puzzled at the move. “How can you judge anybody on sincerity?” asked Deepshikha Srivastava, the principal of Rajhans Vidyalaya in Andheri. “The best we can do is to ask the teachers to make a note in the calendar if the child behaves in an extremely anti-social manner,” she added.
Each school is supposed to devise its own mechanism to measure such intangible attributes of the students, but this would come in the way of standardization, said principals. “Every school will do it differently. Some might mark students for attending national days, while others on their interactions with other kids,” said Avnita Bir, principal of RN Podar School in Santacruz.
CBSE has done away with the Continuous Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) scheme — which was in place since 2009 — and replaced it with the Uniform System of Assessment and Examination to be followed by its affiliated schools. The objective of the new system is to create standardisation in evaluation and report cards across schools.
Schools have been asked to follow a two-semester system with half yearly and annual exams. Two periodic tests of 10 marks each will be conducted in each semester. Students will be tested on the full book in Classes 9 and 10 and the quantum of studies will increase gradually for the students in lower classes.
While schools have welcomed the new system, they admitted that it will once again bring back ‘rote-learning’ and discourage ‘activity-based learning’.
“Under the CCE scheme, children used to love coming to school as we conduct several activities to make learning fun,” said Raj Aloni, principal, Ram Sheth Thakur Public School in Kharghar. He added, “The formative assessments were fun and the focus was on all-round development.”
Teachers said that only above average children will benefit in the new system as 90% of assessments will be pen and paper tests, while they were restricted to 60% earlier. “Kids who might not be good at academics, average or below average, will suffer,” said Aloni.