Class 10 board result: Why abolition of CCE marks the demise of examination reforms
The Class 12 board result declared by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on May 28, 2017, will be remembered more for its ‘moderation’ controversy. We came to know that inflation, spiking, artificial push belong to evaluation lexicon and not to economics. The shock effect has left examination boards in the country divided, students bewildered and the process of assessment a suspect. Grace (full), statistical moderation as a proper course correction to remedy the anomalies of examination process and inequalities in educational accessibility is unfairly projected as an evil practice.
How will the Class 10 results declared today (Satuday) be remembered? This year Class 10 board results affecting the future of over 1.6 million students mark the demise of the much-celebrated examination reform in the country introduced in 2009-10. The Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) was an effort at broadening the scope of assessment along the academic cycle. Formative tests were used as instruments to bridge the gap between taught and learnt. Assessments were meant to discover the learning styles and unique gifts of the learners. For the first time, an explicit recognition was accorded to the co-scholastic component of the holistic education, sworn by all.
Six years into its laboured implementation, all stakeholders were beginning to find the meaning and value and were aligning to reap the benefits of the new scheme. Then came the detractors. From declining standards in education, lack of academic rigour and competition to unemployability of engineering graduates were all ferreted as the ills of the CCE paradigm.
‘Bring the board examination back’ became the new chorus. While some may have found solace at the eventual end of CCE, many were left wondering, if the core of CCE could continue and a few tweaking could address the shortfalls, if any. The distinct steps were to revoke the option of school-based examination and to make board-conducted examination mandatory, increasing the pass percentage from 25% to 33% and altering the formative/summative proportion from 40:60 to say 30:70.
While these musings seem like jogging old memories, it is interesting to reflect what it would be like in the aftermath of CCE. Well, the formative assessment tools sharpened and chiselled all these years will be abandoned. With this, sadly, the learning, unlearning, relearning and innovation by the teachers, exercises in personalised education and differential learning experiences will go off screen. Efforts at revitalising co-scholastic activities, collaborative projects, measures at strengthening emotional and social skills, attitudes and values will be relegated to low the priority zone, ceding the turf to feverish preparation for board examination. If CBSE’s guidelines have their way, this re-engineering will commence with Class 6 itself.
While schools will display their 21st Century skills in adaptability and flexibility and recalibrate their pedagogy to match the new demands, coaching institutes will get a new lease of life. Syllabus completion, repeated practice tests and pre-boards, rote learning, reduced teacher-pupil interaction will define the academic rigour.
It is advantage status-quo at the moment against the CCE hailed as a disruption in school reform. The experts agree that we need to think ahead of our times if we need to prepare our children for the future. The question is, are we?
Author is principal Ahlcon International School, Delhi and chairman, National Progressive Schools Conference.
Views expressed are personal.