In a revolutionary shift in the Indian school examination system, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will introduce an “open book” section in the final examinations for classes 9, 10 and 11 from the current academic year and for class 12 board examination from the 2014-15 academic year.
About 30,000 students study in Indian community schools, which follow the CBSE curriculum, in Qatar.
For the “open book” section, which doesn’t mean books can be taken inside the exam hall, students will be given case studies in each subject four months in advance. All questions will be from the given material. This section will carry 20% weightage.
Announcing the new initiative in New Delhi on Friday, CBSE chairman Vineet Joshi said: “This section will have questions based only on the case study given to students. The idea is to do away with rote learning and improve students’ ability to understand and apply concepts. CBSE will provide case studies related to the subjects four months prior to the examination. This concept will be called pre-announced test (PAT).”
Principals of Doha-based Indian schools called it a “radical” reform that would benefit the students and the Indian education system in a big way.
MES Indian School Principal A P Sasidharan said it was a “welcome move”.
He said: “CBSE has recently introduced a number of major educational reforms and this is one that will go a long way in benefiting the students.
“We appreciate such efforts that will enable the students to work out case studies and answer the questions based on the knowledge derived from such projects. I am sure that it will be a good experience for the students and will allow them to express their real talent.”
Birla Public School principal A K Shrivastava said he had not received any communication from the CBSE regarding the new move. However, he opined: “It seems to be a great move and give room for students to express their innate skills in a big way.”
The “open book” section will begin for all subjects in classes IX and X but at the Plus two level. CBSE has identified four subjects to start with namely, Biology, Economics, Geography and one of the languages.
The board has finalised the scheme and the case studies for the final examinations will be given to students in November 2013.
The CBSE chairman further stated that the board would soon inform the schools regarding the”open book” system and a notification would be issued within a week. The “open book” examination will be part of the Summative Assessment II for class IX and also for those students who opt for school-based class X examinations under the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) scheme instead of the board examinations.
The “open book” examination will be exclusively case study-based. CBSE will bring out guidance material for students and parents to help them prepare for the test.