CBSE and Assessment
As an English teacher, I find the English question paper given to my students yesterday pathetically ineffective particularly in the Writing section. Let me provide a few examples.
Question 20 is about the qualifications required for a receptionist. There are 4 options and 2 of them are: (a) personality, age, experience and (b) age, qualification, experience. Now, which is the right answer? Well, CBSE insists that only (b) is the right answer. Why not (a)? Doesn't personality matter for a receptionist? Earlier in sample answers, the Board used to insist on seeking receptionists with "pleasing" personalities. Has the pandemic obviated the need for a 'pleasing' personality at the reception?Question 23 asks the examinees to choose the relevant information from the options given for a notice about enrichment classes for students of classes 10 and 12. According to the Key provided to evaluators, dress code of the students is in and time table for the classes is out. How are the examinees to know that the dress code matters more for the Board than class timings?
Questions 24 and 28 both are the same: "Select the option that lists an appropriate title for the article." [Well, it could have been put more elegantly: Select an appropriate title for the article.] There are different options provided for both questions showing that different answers are acceptable in questions like this. But CBSE will decide which option should be chosen by the examinees. How is an examinee to know CBSE's choice?
Question 27 gives 4 different quotes and asks "Which quote should Vijay (the article writer) use to sum up the idea of his article?" All four quotes are about the topic and all of them are good enough to conclude an article with. How is a student to divine the Board's likes and dislikes here?
I have just highlighted some prominent absurdities. There are many more. Let me wind up with one from the literature section. Question 33 is from the lesson 'Deep Water' which describes the author's narrow escape from a drowning experience. "I had experienced both the sensation of dying and the terror that the fear of it can produce...," the author says. Now the question is: Of the four meanings of 'sensation' select the option that matches in meaning with its usage in the extract (the quote above). And the right option, according to the Board's Key, is: 'Physical response to a stimulus.' Really? Did Douglas mean to describe his physical response to dying in that part of the lesson?
The question paper has a lot more anomalies. Such examinations do no good to anyone, not to the students anyway. Like a lot many other teachers with whom I discussed this matter yesterday after the exam was over, I hope that CBSE will look into this matter with all the seriousness it demands.