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Armed with gadgets and apps, schools gear up for online term-end exams

By Sadia Akhtar
PUBLISHED ON SEP 09, 2020 11:55 PM IST

Gurugram: After conducting classes virtually for roughly six months, schools across the city are now gearing up for online half-yearly examinations.

Aided by myriad tech and online platforms, schools are pivoting towards newer ways of examination and assessments. Schools have been experimenting with online tests for the past few months and will using them for the term-end assessment tests that start by next week in most places.

At Kunskapsskolan International, tests are being conducted through a web platform. The portal works across browsers and devices and can be accessed by students through an exam key. It allows teachers to check answer sheets online if it has been typed or make corrections alongside scanned answer scripts shared by students.

“The students get an exam key through which they log in to the platform. They can choose between doing the exam on the platform by typing it out or doing it on pen and paper and uploading the answer scripts after scanning,” said Ramanjit Khinda, school headmistress. Khinda said the school was mostly using the pen and paper option to ensure students improve their handwriting.

Manav Rachna International School, whose half-early examinations are slated to take place in October, will use MS Teams. Surabhi Joshi, vice-principal, said the online exams had facilitated a constant cycle of feedback and provided results at a short notice. “There are options through which we can take regular shorts tests. In the MCQ-based test, we can pre-feed the answers due to which students get instant results,” Joshi said.

At Heritage Xperiential Learning School, assessments -- a blend of questions that require both long and short textual input from students -- have been place taking through the school’s online Learning Management System. The completed answer sheets are submitted to teachers as PDF files which students generate using readily available scanning applications. “Each segment of assessment has time assigned for reading, writing, and uploading of answer scripts separately. Two teachers invigilate each testing session and monitor the students closely,” said Neena Kaul, school principal.

While most online testing platforms offer certain safety features to ensure unfair means are not used, school administrators said that they were not fool-proof. “There is a safety feature in the platform being used by us. If the student clicks on any other window during the exam, the exam gets locked for the student. However, there are times when students are thrown out due to connectivity issues as well,” said Khinda.

In view of these challenges, most schools are relying on academic trust and sincerity, and making students and parents sign undertakings. Lotus Valley International School has taken an undertaking from parents for examinations that start next week. “While cameras will stay on during the exam, a little monitoring at home also helps. We have taken an undertaking from parents to monitor their children from home. Teachers will be monitoring the exams as they take place,” said Anita Malhotra, school principal.

Khinda said school holds discussions prior to the exams to reiterate the importance of academic sincerity. “We have discussions with the students wherein we share our thoughts and motivations about conducting exams. Students are encouraged to be fair to themselves and the examination process,” she said.

Rashmi Malik, principal, Salwan Public School, Sector 15, said online exams came with a gamut of options ranging from Google forms to quizzes to more sophisticated platforms, which could eventually way for a blended model of education.

“If there’s an 80 marks paper, we divide it into 40 marks of MCQ and 40 marks of subjective answers or other combinations. Testing can also be made interesting,” said Malik.

The school has also undertaken a new initiative wherein students have been asked to create five questions whose answers cannot be found on Google. “If children are able to create such questions, they may get some extra marks. Due to initiative, children are going into the depth of the topics to come up with unique questions. At the same time, a bank of such questions is being formed for teachers,” said Malik.

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