Representational image. (REUTERS)
Representational image. (REUTERS)

CBSE restricts school-based assessment to online

Several schools across India had said that they had been unable to conduct practical exams or internal assessment due to closure during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic
UPDATED ON JUN 07, 2021 05:07 PM IST

A week after the cancellation of the Class 12 board examinations, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on Monday allowed schools to complete the pending practicals and internal assessment in online mode.

Several schools across India had said that they had been unable to conduct practical exams or internal assessment due to closure during the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic. On Monday, the national board asked these schools to conduct the pending tests in “only online” mode and submit the marks to the board by June 28.

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For the subjects requiring practicals, the external examiner will decide on the date for an online viva voce in consultation with the internal examiner. The board has asked schools to share the date of exams with students “well in advance” and share the link of the “online meeting” on the exam day.

“Regarding subjects for which the external examiner has not been appointed, the concerned school teacher of the subject will conduct the internal assessment based on the instructions given in the curriculum in online mode and upload the marks awarded at the link provided by the board,” CBSE controller of examinations Sanyam Bhardwaj said in a letter to schools on Monday.

Schools have also been asked to take an on-screen photograph of the online meeting with the student, external examiner, and internal examiner as a part of records.

“Both the examiners should keep in mind that the marks allotted should not bunch towards the maximum marks which is highly unlikely in view of diverse levels of students,” Bhardwaj said.

Addressing concerns of the existing digital divide and its impact on the internals, Bhardwaj told HT, “We have taken the decision in consultation with the schools and they said they have made the necessary arrangements. Covid-19 protocols have to be followed very strictly. Only if any state government has allowed students to come to schools, principals may call such students to conduct the tests.”

On June 1, the Union government cancelled the Class 12 board exams of around 1.4 million students slated to take their tests this year. The decision was taken after students, parents, teachers, and schools said that holding the examination in the current circumstances would not be conducive as many students were not eligible for vaccines and conducting large-scale offline exams would put their health at risk.

“It has been observed that some schools have not been able to complete the school-based assessments in various subjects due to the pandemic. Thus, the schools with pending Practicals/Internal Assessments are permitted to conduct the same now in only online mode and upload the marks on the provided link by June 28, 2021...” controller of examinations Bhardwaj said in a letter to principals of all CBSE-affiliated schools.

While most private schools in the capital finished conducting their practicals before the April 19 lockdown was announced in Delhi, several government school principals said they were yet to conduct practical exams for major papers like Chemistry, Biology, and Commerce.

Awadhesh Kumar Jha, principal of Sarvodaya Co-ed Vidyalaya in Sector-8, Rohini, said practical exams of at least three major subjects – including Chemistry – are yet to be conducted in his school. “It will be a challenge to conduct the remaining tests as not all students have devices or internet. We had experienced this while conducting online classes in the past year. Timing is another concern. If the parent of the Class 12 student is a daily wage labourer, they may be out for work with the only smartphone leaving the child with few options. We will try to figure out a way to resolve this.”

Principals also said that the lack of continuous interaction with teachers had affected students’ confidence and communication skills. Mary Jyotsna Minj, head of Government Girls Senior Secondary School in New Kondli, said, “Along with lack of access to internet and devices, connectivity is also an issue. Students have undergone multiple breaks in learning in the past year and they are not very confident during viva voce. Besides, checking on unfair means during online exams will be tough.” The school has to conduct all practical exams in humanities and commerce courses along with a few students left in science subjects.

While some government schools in the national capital have expressed concerns over the availability of devices and internet access, the 22 high-end resource-rich Rajkiya Pratibha Vikas Vidyalaya (RPVV) public schools may not have an issue as the government had distributed tablets among them last year.

Sarita Batra, principal of RPVV Shalimar Bagh, said, “The Delhi government had distributed tablets to the students of classes 11 and 12 in our schools. So lack of devices will not be an issue for our students. Keeping the pandemic in mind, this is the best way to conduct the practicals. Students have been doing online classes for over a year so the online internals makes sense.”

Most private school principals said that they had conducted the practicals and internal assessment in the major subjects and only had practicals pending in minor subjects like Yoga or Physical Education. Ameeta Wattal, principal of Springdales, Pusa Road, said, “We have to conduct exams in only Business Studies and Arts. As far as students from Economically Weaker Sections are concerned, we had arranged for devices for them last year when we started the online classes during the pandemic. These can be used for the practical exams.”

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