With the 2021 CBSE board exams being cancelled owing to COVID 19, students, parents and educators alike have been worried about the course of academics and evaluation.

Putting all speculations and concerns to rest, CBSE has unveiled an alternative assessment policy for the session 2021-22, that has allowed all stakeholders involved to heave a sigh of relief. The new examination policy is in line with the NEP’s focus on the core concepts and competencies of the students.

Incidentally, for the session 2021, CBSE hasmade changes in the class 10th and 12th syllabus, reducing the course load by as much as 30%, to help students achieve the specified learning outcomes conveniently within the limited timeframe.

Let us talk about the key highlights of thebrand new CBSE exam pattern.

Division of academic year

The AY 2021-22 will be bifurcated into two terms, with about 50% course load distributed systematically to each term. The syllabi will be rationalized in line with the previous session. The examination will be held at the end of each term by the Board to assess students on the learning outcomes outlined. Teaching delivery will continue virtually till the schools are allowed to open physically by the government.

Internal assessment

Credible Internal Assessment/ Practical/ Project work will be conducted by schools as per the Board guidelines. Internal assessment for classes 9-10 will include 3 periodic tests spread over the year, practical and project work, and student enrichment activities. For classes 11-12, internal assessments will include unit tests at the end of each topic, practical and projects. The internal assessment marks will have to be uploaded by the schools on the CBSE portal.

The Board will provide the schools with resources like assessment samples, question banks, training for the teachers, etc. to make the internal assessment process smooth.

Flexibility over exam schedule, pattern, and weightage

The term-I examinations will be held on a flexible schedule over November-December 2021. The 90-minute test would pose MCQs, of assertion-reasoning and case-based types. CBSE will set the Question Papers, and the exams will be supervised by board-appointed observers. The answer scripts will be evaluated by the school and uploaded on the CBSE portal. Marks obtained in the first term examination will add up to the final year-end score of the student.

The term-II examination will be held around March-April 2022, at Board-specified examination centres. This will be a descriptive examination of a two-hour duration with case-based open-ended short answer and long answer type questions. In case the situation doesn’t allow for a descriptive test, CBSE will conduct a 90-minute MCQ-type test.

In a scenario where students have to attempt the term-I examination from home, and Term-II exams are held at the schools or centres, then the weightage for the former in the final year-end score will be reduced and the latter increased. In an alternate scenario wherein the term-I exams are held at schools but the term-II exams are attempted from home, the weightage of marks of the term-I exam will be increased in the year-end final score.

In the unfortunate situation wherein students have to appear for examinations of both terms from home, the results will be computed based on the internal assessment, practical and project work and marks obtained in the term-end exams.

In all the above scenarios, data will be moderated and analysed to ensure that the integrity factor of both internal assessments and home-based exams are maintained.

The new assessment policy of CBSE comes at the right time when the students are grappling with the uncertainty of the times and educators are worried about the learning takeaways of their mentees. At AZVASA, we heartily welcome this initiative of CBSE to beat the pandemic without disrupting the flow of education.