Delhi’s education dept looks at round-the-year assessment for 2021-22

While students and schools are waiting for the CBSE to formulate the evaluation criteria for Class XII in lieu of board examinations, the Delhi government’s education department is working on making assessment through the year an integral part of the 2021-2022 academic calendar.

With Class XII board examinations for 2020-2021 cancelled amid the Covid-19 pandemic, the CBSE Friday constituted a 12-member committee comprising senior education officials to “decide well-defined objective criteria” for evaluating students. The committee has been given a time frame of 10 days to submit its report.

In the meantime, Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has also been stating that the government must begin planning on how Class X and XII students will be assessed in the 2021-2022 academic year and had written to the Union Education Minister requesting that a high-level meeting on this be convened in a month.

A senior education official in the Delhi government said the focus in the coming year will be on assessment as part of the teaching strategy.

“With the push for a new Delhi board, the stand has anyway been that the fate of a child should not depend on one high-stake exam and that a board result should comment on what a child has learnt in the last 13-odd years of school… We are picking on our teacher’s brains and while it’s early to flesh it out, the principle we’re working on is to determining the teaching strategy for the coming session so that assessment is built into it… We must try to avoid what we can say happened with this year’s board exams, that is lack of anticipation,” the official said.

In private schools too, the manner of internal assessment is being scrutinised. “The manner of evaluation in this year is still a question mark and is being worked on, and everyone is realising the problem of assessment… Within the school too, we must shift assessment from rote learning to making it more continuous, holistic, and testing what children understand. Our main concern is that the internal assessment marks for the last year are not honest because of widespread use of unfair means, so this shift might also address that,” said Rashmi Biswal, principal, DAV Pushpanjali Enclave.

However, Janaki Rajan, professor in education at Jamia Millia Islamia, said a larger part of the onus must move to higher education institutions which use board results for admissions. After the Class XII exam was cancelled, the DU administration stated that it would follow the “merit” criteria devised by the board for its undergraduate admissions.

“The importance built around the board exams is disproportionate to what actually relies on it. It is not used for admissions in engineering, medicine, law, journalism institutes, among others. Universities like DU must wake up and stop relying on it. Western countries use a portfolio of the entire schooling experience and SOPs, and these universities should move to it too,” she said.

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