03 Aug 2020, 11:08 am By Rohit Sindhu
New Education Policy 2020: Aim is to reduce Board & Entrance exams burden

The current nature of secondary school examinations, including Board exams, entrance exams and the resulting coaching culture of today are doing much harm, especially at the secondary school level, New Education Policy 2020 reads. The current structures harm students by replacing their valuable time for true learning with excessive exam coaching and preparation. According to new draft prepared under NEP 2020, the aim is to create an education culture that is more regular and formative, is more competency-based, promotes learning and development for our students, and tests higher-order skills, such as analysis, critical thinking, and conceptual clarity. NEP clarifies that the Board exams for Classes 10 and 12 will be continued, the existing system of Board and entrance examinations shall be reformed to eliminate the need for undertaking coaching classes.

Current sytem of Board exams forces students to learn a very narrow band of material in a single stream, rather than allowing the flexibility and choice that will be so important in the education system of the future, it adds. To reverse these harmful effects of the current assessment system, Board exams will be redesigned to encourage holistic development of students; through NEP students will be able to choose many of the subjects in which they take Board exams, depending on their individualized interests, New Policy says.

Board Exams to be easier with two chances:

The basic outlines of the New Education Policy 2020 is also to make Board exams "easier’, in the sense that exams will test primarily core capacities/ competencies rather than months of coaching and memorization. Any student who has been going to and making a basic effort in a school class will be able to pass and do well in the corresponding subject Board Exam without much additional effort. To further eliminate the ‘high stakes’ aspect of Board Exams, all students will be allowed to take Board Exams on up to two occasions during any given school year, one main examination and one for improvement, if desired.

Should Read- National Education Policy 2020 for Teachers

Redesign of Board Exams:

In addition to introducing greater flexibility, student choice, and best-of-two attempts, assessments that primarily test core capacities must be the immediate key reforms to all Board exams. Boards may over time also develop further viable models of Board Exams that reduce pressure andthe coaching culture. Some possibilities include: a system of annual/ semester/ modular Board Exams could be developed - that each test far less material, and are taken immediately after the corresponding course is taken in school - so that the pressure from exams is better distributed, lessintense, and less high-stakes across the Secondary Stage; all subjects and corresponding assessments, beginning with mathematics, could be offered at two levels, with students doing some of their subjects at the standard level and some at a higher level; and Board exams in certain subjects could be re-designed to have two parts– one part of an objective type with multiple-choice questions and theother of a descriptive type. The details on NEP 2020 can be obtained from MHRD website.

With regard to all of the above, guidelines for the Board & Entrance exams will be prepared by NCERT, in consultation with major stakeholders, such as SCERTs, Boards of Assessment (BoAs), the proposed new National Assessment Centre etc., and teachers prepared, for a transformation in the assessment system by the 2022-23 academic session, to align with the NCFSE 2020-21.

To track progress throughout the school years, and not just at the end of Grades 10 and 12- for the benefit of students, parents, teachers, principals, and the entire schooling system in planning improvements to schools and teaching-learning processes - all students will take school examinations in Grades 3, 5, and 8 which will be conducted by the appropriate authority. These examinations would test achievement of basic learning outcomes, NEP says.