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Flexibility in Assessment

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Flexibility in Assessment: A lot of psychological data now suggest that different learners learn (and test) differently. Hence there ...


 Flexibility in Assessment

Flexibility in Assessment:

A lot of psychological data now suggest that different learners learn (and test) differently. Hence there should be more varied modes of assessment beyond the examination hall paper-pencil test. Oral testing and group work evaluation should be encouraged. Open-book exams and exams without time limits are worth introducing as small pilot projects across the country. These innovations would have the added advantage of shifting the focus of exams from testing memory to testing higher-level competencies such as interpretation, analysis and problem-solving skills. Even conventional exams can be nudged in this direction through better paper setting and providing standard and desirable information to candidates (such as periodic tables, trigonometric identities, maps and historical dates, formulae, etc.).

Because of the differing nature of learners, and the widely variable quality of teaching, the expectation that all candidates should demonstrate the same level of competence in each subject in order to reach the next level of education is unreasonable. In the light of the urban–rural gap in India, this expectation is also socially regressive. It is well documented, for instance, that much of the higher failure and dropout rates in rural schools can be attributed to poor performance in two subjects — Maths and English. Boards should explore the possibility of allowing students to take exams in these subjects at one of the two (or even three) levels. This need not require that curricula or textbooks will differ for different levels.

The "one-exam-fits-all" principle, while being organisationally convenient, is not a student-centred one. Nor is it in keeping with the rapidly evolving nature of the Indian job market, with its increasing differentiation. The industrial assembly-line model of assessment needs to be replaced by a more humanistic and differentiated one. If, as economists predict, four out of every four new jobs in the next decade will be in the services sector, a paradigm shift in Indian education is called for. As fewer and fewer Indians make standardised widgets, and more and more work to solve problems for their fellow citizens, the Indian exam system will also need to become more open, flexible, creative and user friendly.
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CLEAR CTET: Flexibility in Assessment
Flexibility in Assessment
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