CONTINUOUS AND COMPREHENSIVE EVALUATION AS A TOOL OF EXAMINATION REFORMS

 

Abstract

Attitudes, emotions and values are an integral part of cognitive development of an individual, and are linked to the development of language, mental representations, concepts and reasoning. As children’s meta-cognitive capabilities develop, they become more aware of their own beliefs and capable of regulating their own learning. Accordingly, the National Curriculum Framework (2005) points out the need for plurality and flexibility within education while maintaining the standards of education in order to cover a growing variety of children. It also proposes changes within the examination system (examinations for classes X and XII) allowing reasoning and creative abilities to replace memorisation. Even though, the programmes of examination reform in India have made considerable progress, we have still a long way to go. In present education system, teachers, instead of assisting learning, spend most of their time assessing learning. Instead of enabling and equipping students to learn, schools have taken on the function of examining and screening out on the basis of those examinations. So, the need of the hour is to make possible changes in the education system as a whole and evaluation system in particular.

Keeping all this in mind and to reform the existing examination system at school level, Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) is a term currently being used in the context of educational reforms, particularly reforms in assessment and evaluation. The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) had introduced and implemented CCE in primary classes (I to V) doing away with the terminal examinations in the year 2004 and decided to extend CCE to classes VI to VIII in 2006. India’s then HRD Minister, Mr. Kapil Sibal introduced CCE methodology for CBSE schools while making Class X board examinations optional in 2008, but it took almost a year to get rolled out, and was actually implemented from September 2009 for students in IX standard and extended to class X while making board exams optional in 2010. Several other school boards are now emphasizing the importance of CCE and have taken measures to implement it with the cooperation of state education departments.

 

Dr. R. Vijaya Anuradha

Assistant Professor, Indian College of Education, Opp. to VIT, Katpadi, Vellore.

[shc_shortcode class=”shc_mybox”]Published in: Contemporary Researches in Education, Edited by Dr.Asha J.V. and Naseerali M.K.[/shc_shortcode]

INTRODUCTION

Examinations have been proverbially described as the bane of our educational system. Successive commissions and committees on education have emphasised the need for examination reform and suggested specific measures towards this end. The University Education Commission (1948) went so far as to say: “We are convinced that if we are to suggest any single reform in university education, it would be that of examinations.” (p. 328.) The Mudaliar Commission on Secondary Education (1952-53) also recognised the lack of validity, reliability and objectivity in examinations. Much was not, however, done to remove the defects of the examination system until 1958 when the erstwhile All-India Council for Secondary Education which had always recognised the importance of improving examinations as a means of improving the quality of education, set up the Central Examination Unit to organise programmes of examination reform at the secondary stage. With the establishment of the National Council of Educational Research and Training, the Central Examination Unit along with the All-India Council for Secondary Education became its part and has, ever since, been working vigorously to refine and improve examinations. Efforts have been mainly concentrated at the stage of secondary education, although some work has also been taken up at other stages of education.

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Under the Constitution of India, education was a state matter until 1976. The central government could only provide guidance to the states on policy issues. In 1976 the constitution was amended to include education on the concurrent list. The central and the state governments have joint responsibility for education, with freedom for the state governments to organise education within the national framework of education. Educational policy planning is under the overall charge of the central Ministry of Human Resource Development which includes the Department of Elementary Education and Literacy and the Department of Secondary and Higher Education. The Ministry is guided by the Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) which is the national level advisory body. The education ministers of all the different states are members of the board. The National Council of Education Research and Training (NCERT) defines the National Framework for Curriculum for classes I – XII. It also functions as a resource centre in the field of school development and teacher education. State Councils of Educational Research and Training (SCERT) are the principal research and development institutions in all the states. At secondary level, school boards at state level affiliated schools have set examination standards in accordance with the national framework. The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), established by a special resolution of the Government of India in 1929, prescribes examination conditions and the conduct of public examinations at the end of Standard X and XII. The CBSE and Council for Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE) cover all India besides the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS).

According to the Kothari Commission (1964–66), education was intended to increase productivity, develop social and national unity, consolidate democracy, modernize the country and develop social, moral and spiritual values. To achieve this, the main pillar of Indian education policy was to be free and compulsory education for all children up to the age of 14. Furthermore, there is no common school system; instead children are channelled into private, government-aided and government schools on the basis of ability to pay and social class. At the top end are English-language schools affiliated to the upscale CBSE (Central Board of Secondary Education), CISCE (Council for the Indian Schools Certificates Examination) and IB (International Baccalaureate) examination boards, offering globally recognized syllabi and curricula. Those who cannot afford private schooling attend English/language government/aided schools, affiliated to state-level examination boards. And on the bottom rung are poorly managed government or municipal schools, which cater for the children of the poor majority.

The initial attempts of designing a National Education Policy were made in 1968 but it was only in 1986 that India as a whole had a uniform National Policy on Education. The National Policy on Education 1986, modified in 1992, defines the major goals for elementary education as universal access and enrolment, universal retention of children up to 14 years and substantial improvement in the quality of education.

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BACKDROP OF EXAMINATION REFORMS

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After India became an independent nation, the University Education Commission (1948) was equivocal in its criticism of examinations, stating that, if members were asked to make just one recommendation for reforming education, they would identify the area of examinations as the one where greatest priority and urgency for introducing reforms should be applied. Even before this, the Calcutta University Commission (1917-19) also identified several shortcomings in the examination system and specifically indicated its unhappiness about alternative questions, the mechanical system of marking, grace marks, frequency of examinations, and so on.

In 1948, the United Provinces (nowadays Uttar Pradesh) Government appointed a Committee on the Reorganization of Primary and Secondary Education. In the same year, a Committee on the Reorganization of Secondary Education was also appointed by the Government of Central Provinces and Berar. Both committees deliberated on the problems of examinations in the context of education and suggested immediate action for reforming them. Soon afterwards, a Secondary Education Reorganization Committee (1953) was appointed in Uttar Pradesh. This committee made the positive suggestions that external examinations might be replaced by an assessment made by the teacher, and that continuous evaluation could be the main basis for a final assessment of a student. We are still working to forward these aims (Srivastava, 1979). The Secondary Education Commission, popularly known as the Mudaliar Commission (1952-53, p. 237), made the following specific recommendations with regard to examination reforms:

  1. The number of external examinations should be reduced, and the element of subjectivity in the essay-type tests should be minimized by introducing objective tests and also by changing the type of question.
  2. In order to assess the pupil’s all-round progress and to determine his future, a proper system of school records should be maintained for every pupil. These would indicate the work done by him during successive periods, and his attainments in each of the different spheres.
  3. In the final assessment of the pupils, due credit should be given to the ‘internal’ (in-school) tests and the school records of the pupils.
  4. A system of symbolic rather than numerical marking should be adopted for evaluating and grading the work of the pupils in external and internal examinations, and in maintaining the school records.
  5. There should be only one public examination at the completion of the secondary school course.
  6. The certificate awarded should contain, besides the results of the public examination in different subjects, results of the school tests in subjects not included in the public examination; as well as the gist of the school records.
  7. The final public examination should be transformed into a system of compartmental examinations. These were conceived as supplementary to the main public examination. They provided an opportunity for students who had secured the minimum qualifying marks in most subjects, but had failed in one or two subjects by a small margin, to retake the examinations in the deficient subjects.

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Further, Kothari Commission (1964) established by the Government of India was different from the earlier ones as its terms of reference extended to all stages of education. It could, therefore, study India’s education system as a whole and, inter alia, give concrete recommendations on examination reforms for all stages of education – the new approach to evaluation will attempt: (a) to improve the written examination so that it becomes a valid and reliable measure of educational achievement; and (b) to devise techniques for measuring those important aspects of the student’s growth that cannot be measured by written examinations. Internal assessment by the schools should be comprehensive enough to evaluate all aspects of student growth, including those not measured by the external examinations. It should be descriptive as well as quantified. Written examinations conducted by schools should be improved, and teachers trained appropriately. The internal assessment should be shown separately from the external examination marks.

Assessment of students’ learning has always been an important concern, featuring centrally in almost all policy documents. Committees and policies such as the Kothari Commission 1966 and the National Policy on Education (NPE- MHRD, 1986) have in the past outlined the futility of an examination system that caused stress for students and essentially tested their ability to rote memorise the content of prescribed textbooks. In a study prepared for the International Educational Reporting Service on Experiments and innovations in Education: Examination Reforms in India for International Bureau of Education, Srivastava (1979) urged that –

Continuous evaluation of the development of the pupils in all aspects should be a regular procedure. In fact, there should not be any pass or fail in any examination. What is important is to use evaluation for the furtherance of learning. School’s cumulative assessment in each subject/unit should be placed on record and given to each student. A record of such assessment should cover both scholastic and non-scholastic areas, and be without any aggregate. Thus, there should be no pass or fail in the final school-leaving certificate. This certificate should give only the letter grades (A, B , C , D , E . . . ) of each student in the school. Gradually, as the system of internal assessment takes root and a system of checking any biases (which lower standards) is evolved, the external public examination at the end of class X will become redundant and can be abolished. It would be necessary for each board/state to evolve a phased programme in order to accomplish this.

Learning without Burden, popularly known as the Yashpal Committee Report (Department of Education, 1993) pointed out ways in which a skewed examination system aggravated the academic load on school children, burdened as they already were with the incomprehensibility and joylessness of learning situations that the formal schools placed them in. This not only converted testing into a screening device for eliminating students but also made it textbook-centric. It took away teachers’ autonomy in assessing students, placing them instead in the hands of anonymous examiners.

Attitudes, emotions and values are an integral part of cognitive development of an individual, and are linked to the development of language, mental representations, concepts and reasoning. As children’s meta-cognitive capabilities develop, they become more aware of their own beliefs and capable of regulating their own learning. Accordingly, National Curriculum Framework -2005 (NCF-05) proposing Examination Reforms has stated –

“Indeed, Boards should consider, as a long-term measure, making the Class X examination optional, thus permitting students continuing in the same school (and who do not need a Board certificate) to take an internal school examination instead”.

Further, The National Curriculum Framework (2005) points out the need for plurality and flexibility within education while maintaining the standards of education in order to cover a growing variety of children. The Framework recommends that learning shifts away from rote methods and that the curriculum reduces and updates textbooks. It also proposes changes within the examination system (examinations for classes X and XII) allowing reasoning and creative abilities to replace memorisation.

The more recent National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) position paper on examination reforms (2005) also criticised the short comings of the present system of examination, particularly the boards. It further noted that besides failing to test higher-order skills like reasoning and analysis, the system was inflexible and unjust and did not make any allowance for different types of learners and learning environments. Prominent among these shortcomings are: emphasis on memorization; subjectivity; poor content coverage; and administrative shortcomings. Until quite recently memorization occupied a dominant place in all written examinations, which almost completely overlooked the testing, of higher objectives like understanding, and the application of knowledge and skills. This, in turn, reflected very badly on the instructional programmes where the development of these higher abilities on the part of the students was also invariably overlooked. Whatever their limitations may be, examinations have come to occupy a very dominant position in our education system. The modern reform point of view asserts that they should, as a part of sound educational strategy, be wisely employed to bring about qualitative improvements in education.

Changes in evaluation practices imply concurrent changes in courses and their objectives, instructional methodology, textbooks and other teaching aids, and teacher training (both pre-service and in-service). Even though, the programmes of examination reform in India have made considerable progress, so that significant improvements in the practices and procedures of conducting examinations are visible, we have still a long way to go.

According to the National Focus Group on Examination Reforms constituted by NCERT (2005), school-based Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) system be established in order to (i) reduce stress on children, (ii) make evaluation comprehensive and regular, (iii) provide space for the teacher for creative teaching, (iv) provide a tool for diagnosis and for producing learners with greater skills. The CCE scheme should be simple, flexible, and implementable in any type of school from the elite one to a school located in rural or tribal areas. Keeping in view the broad principles of the scheme, each school should evolve a simple suitable scheme involving its teachers, and owned by the teachers. It is a very well known fact that the evaluation practices carried out in schools aim to measure the knowledge and understanding outcomes of learners, neglecting the evaluation of skills and higher mental abilities.

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ASSESSMENT AND EVALUATION

Educators use two distinct processes to help students build lifelong learning skills: assessment and evaluation. There is a lot of confusion over these two terms as well as other terms associated with assessment, testing, and evaluation. Assessment and evaluation both have their purposes, and, when used correctly, both can add significant value to teaching/learning. Assessment provides feedback on knowledge, skills, attitudes, and work products for the purpose of elevating future performances and learning outcomes. Evaluation determines the level of quality of a performance or outcome and enables decision-making based on the level of quality demonstrated. These two processes are complementary and necessary in education.

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As accrediting agencies have become increasingly interested in improvement, it has become imperative to have a word that describes feedback for improvement that is distinct from one that describes the determination of quality. To add another layer of confusion from the literature, the word “formative” has typically been used to describe an improvement process, while the word “summative” has been used to describe a decision-making process (Brown, Race, & Smith, 1996). In the literature of the last several years, assessment has usually been used to indicate that at least some hint of improvement is expected in the assessment process (Bordon & Owens, 2001; Palomba & Banta, 1999). Similarly, evaluation is usually used to indicate that some sort of judgment of quality will be made.

Assessment is the term used to look at how the level of quality of a performance or outcome could be improved in the future; it includes strengths that should be sustained as well as high priority areas for improvement. The assessment process is not concerned with the level of quality; only with how to improve the level of quality. Evaluation is the term used to describe the determination of the level of quality. The evaluation process focuses only on the actual level of quality with no interest in why that level was attained. Educational evaluation is a process of estimating and appraising the degree and dimension of students’ achievements. The main purpose of evaluation is to see how far the set objectives have been achieved through the curriculum. This process is naturally related to the learning experiences and methods of teaching that must have been used.

Although assessment and evaluation are used for different reasons, they do have some similar steps. Both involve specifying criteria to observe in a performance or outcome. Both require the collection of data and other evidence by observing the performance or by looking at the outcome or product. Both require a performer and a person who collects information about the performance. Both processes also conclude with a report of the findings which include all the similarities and at least as many differences. The relationship between the people involved is different in the assessment and evaluation processes. In both cases a person observes or collects evidence about a performance or outcome; another person performs or develops an outcome. In assessment, the locus of control rests with the performer; in evaluation, it rests with the observer. In the assessment process, the report includes information about why the performance was as strong as it was, and describes what could be done to improve future performances. In assessment, there is no mention of the actual quality of the performance; only how to make the next performance stronger. There is no language indicating the level of quality, such as ‘good’, ‘bad’, ‘worse’, or ‘horrible’. Conversely, in the evaluative report, only information regarding the actual quality of the performance is given. This might be in the form of a grade or a score or an evaluative comment, such as “good work.” The purpose of the evaluative report is to report the level of quality and possibly any consequences based on the determined level of quality. It is not used to suggest improvements in future performances.

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PLACE OF EVALUATION IN THE CURRICULUM

A curriculum is what constitutes a total teaching-learning program composed of overall aims, syllabus, materials, methods and assessment. In short, it provides a framework of knowledge and capabilities, seen as appropriate to a particular level. The syllabus provides a statement of purpose, means and standards against which one can check the effectiveness of the program and the progress made by the learners. Evaluation not only measures the progress and achievement of the learners but also the effectiveness of the teaching materials and methods used for transaction. Hence evaluation should be viewed as a component of curriculum with the twin purpose of effective delivery & further improvement in the teaching– learning process & also;  

  • Should help students grow as social beings and thus save them from unnecessary pain, anxiety, harassment and humiliation.
  • Should develop the requisite healthy attributes among the students.
  • Should be consistent with its purpose and should provide a reliable and valid measure for students’ performance.
  • Should reflect the outcomes of each learning intervention and would provide all the students the same opportunity to display their individual potentials.
  • Should be built in with the teaching-learning process and thus will be carried out during the entire period of education.
  • Should take into account both the background and the prior experiences of students.
  • Alternative evaluation procedures should be used for students with special needs making it humane, learner friendly and flexible.
  • Procedures for grading and their reporting will be appropriate and easily understood by one and all.
  • Should restore faith and trust of masses by ensuring transparency in the procedures.

NEED FOR REFORMS IN THE EVALUATION SYSTEM

In present education system, teachers, instead of assisting learning, spend most of their time assessing learning. Instead of enabling and equipping students to learn, schools have taken on the function of examining and screening out on the basis of those examinations. So, the need of the hour is to make possible changes in the education system as a whole and evaluation system in particular. Because-

  • The examination system usually call for rote memorization and fail to test higher-order skills like reasoning and analysis, let alone lateral thinking, creativity, and judgment.
  • They induce an inordinate level of anxiety and stress among students as well as parents. In addition to widespread trauma, there are a growing number of exam-induced suicides and nervous breakdowns.
  • There is need for a functional and reliable system of school-based evaluation.
  • They are just marks oriented and not knowledge and skills based.

As the National Advisory Committee (1993) on ‘Learning Without Burden’ opined: Board examinations, taken at the end of Class X and Class XII, have remained rigid, bureaucratic, and essentially uneducative… and mainly a source of awe because of the amount of information they demand in a manner ready for instant recall.

While the need for meaningful examination reforms can hardly be under stated, it is important to exercise caution in proposing reforms and in understanding their potential, both in terms of addressing the malaise associated with the existing examination system and implications for facilitating and enriching the equitable teaching-learning processes in classrooms.

At the moment, India is at a crucial juncture with education having been made a fundamental right for all children in the age group 6-14 years [Right to Education Act (RtE), Ministry of Human Resource Development or MHRD, 2009]. Concerns are simultaneously being expressed about providing uniform good quality educational experiences to all children, irrespective of their socio- economic and cultural backgrounds. The Indian school education system has often been subjected to severe criticism, ranging from its inequitable and hierarchical nature to the poor quality educational experiences that children go through in its classrooms. Among the several limitations pointed out, the nature and manner in which students’ learning is examined has also been a central and repeated concern of educationists, policymakers, teachers and parents alike (Disha Nawani, 2013).

Keeping all this in mind and to reform the existing examination system at school level, Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) is a term currently being used in the context of educational reforms, particularly reforms in assessment and evaluation. The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) had introduced and implemented CCE in primary classes (I to V) doing away with the terminal examinations in the year 2004 and decided to extend CCE to classes VI to VIII in 2006. India’s then HRD Minister, Mr. Kapil Sibal introduced CCE methodology for CBSE schools while making Class X board examinations optional in 2008, but it took almost a year to get rolled out, and was actually implemented from September 2009 for students in IX standard and extended to class X while making board exams optional in 2010. Several other school boards are now emphasising the importance of CCE and have taken measures to implement it with the cooperation of state education departments.

OBJECTIVES OF CONTINUOUS AND COMPREHENSIVE EVALUATION (CCE)

The CBSE Manual (2010) in one of its appended circulars asserts that – the objective of this exercise is to shift the focus of academic activities towards enrichment of the total personality of the learners and to facilitate learners to address the various facets of learning encompassing the cognitive, affective and psychomotor domains. Overemphasis on examination marks that focus on only the scholastic aspects in turn makes students assume that assessment is different from learning, resulting in ‘learn and forget’ syndrome. Besides encouraging unhealthy competition, it also produces enormous stress and anxiety among the learners. The multiple modes of assessment proposed are supposed to reduce the emphasis on recall-type questions and enhance emphasis on questions which test higher order thinking skills of students. Further –

  • Encourage development of cognitive skills and de-emphasize rote learning
  • Make the entire education process a student-centric activity
  • Help develop cognitive, psychomotor and interpersonal skills
  • Make holistic evaluation an integral part of entire education process
  • Improve student’s accomplishments through regular diagnostics and remedial instructions
  • Use evaluation to control quality and maintain desired performance
  • Take decisions about the learner, learning process and learning environment by determining social utility, desirability & effectiveness of the programme

PROCESS OF CONTINUOUS AND COMPREHENSIVE EVALUATION

CCE refers to a system of school-based evaluation of a student that covers all aspects of a student development. It was designed to reduce the student stress related to board exams, and to introduce a uniform and comprehensive pattern for student evaluation across the country. It is a developmental process of student which emphasises on two- fold objectives: (a) Continuity in Evaluation and (b) Assessment of broad based learning and behavioural outcomes on the other. Clearly, it attempts to shift emphasis from ‘testing’ to ‘holistic learning’ with an aim of creating young adults, possessing appropriate skills and desirable qualities in addition to academic excellence. There is also an implication that an assessment of this kind is not only about assessing learning as an end in itself, but also as a means for improving teaching-learning processes in schools and assisting students to optimally develop their potential in both scholastic and co-scholastic domains.

CCE has scholastic and co-scholastic activities. The scholastic domains are to be assessed on a five-point scale, grades for which vary from A (9.1 to 10) to E (0 to 1.0). Assessment in Scholastic areas is done informally and formally using multiple techniques of evaluation continually and periodically. There are 2 types of Assessments, in an academic year, to test the Scholastic areas: Formative Assessment (FA) and Summative Assessment (SA). Formative assessments (FA) and summative assessments (SA) are to be used for assessing the scholastic components.

Formative Assessment is carried out as a part of the instruction methodology and provides continuous feedback to both the teachers and the learners. It comprises of assignments, quizzes, projects, debates, elocution, group discussion, Class work, Homework, Oral questions, etc. Main features of Formative Assessment are (CBSE, 2010)

  • It is diagnostic and remedial
  • It makes the provision for effective feedback
  • It provides a platform for the active involvement of students in their own learning process
  • It enables teachers to adjust teaching to take account of the results of the assessment and to incorporate varied learning styles in deciding what and how to teach
  • It recognizes the influence of the assessment on the motivation and self-esteem of students
  • It offers an opportunity to the students to improve their performance post the feedback is given

Summative Assessment is carried out at the end of a term. It measures how much a student has learnt from the course and is usually a graded test i.e. Examination. SA might not be able to yield a valid measure of the growth and development of the child. It might only certify the level of achievement only at a given point of time. An academic year is divided into 2 terms and in each term there will be 2 FAs & 1 SA and weightage is allotted to each in the following manner: FA1 and FA2 carries 10% each in Term1 & Term2 and 40% in Final Assessment, while SA1 and SA2 carries 30% each in Term1 & Term2 and 60% in the Final SA. Therefore, Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation is designed to measure continuous assessment in the form of Formative Assessment, along with the Summative Assessment.

The co-scholastic domains are to be assessed on a five-point scale, grades for which vary from A1-(91-100) through E2- (0-20). Co-Scholastic areas of evaluation include-

  • Life Skills i.e. Thinking, Social & Emotional Skills
  • Attitude & Values i.e. towards Teachers, School-mates, School Programmes , Environment and the Value System
  • Co-curricular Activities which are further divided into activities like – Literary & Creative Skills, Scientific Skills, Visual & Performing Arts, Leadership & Organization Skills etc.
  • Health and Physical Education, that includes areas like Sports, NCC, Gardening etc.

Each of these domains has descriptive indicators against which the students are to be continuously observed and allotted marks. An average then needs to be calculated by dividing the total score obtained by a student by the number of items in that component. Finally, the average score in each domain is to be converted into its corresponding grade (CBSE, 2010). The role and importance of Co-scholastic areas of evaluation has been further emphasized by an up-gradation policy of CBSE that allows students to upgrade their Scholastic grades depending on performance in co-scholastic areas.

CONVENTIONAL SYSTEM OF EVALUATION VS CCE

 

 

Conventional System of Evaluation Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation
Focuses only on the end term examination and evaluates only Scholastic aspects of education a) Focuses equally on both scholastic and co-scholastic areas of development of the students, thus taking into account the holistic development of the students

b) Evaluates students continuously at regular time intervals on small portions of content which helps teachers in employing a variety of remedial measures of teaching based on learning needs and student potential

Declares results of the students as “pass” or “fail” on the basis of their marks leading to undesirable competition among students a) Shifts the focus of the education community from marks to grades thereby reducing pressure, of getting “good marks”, on students from their parents and teachers

b) Prevents cut-throat competition among the students


 

CHALLENGES IN IMPLEMENTING CCE

CCE implemented in a hurry, thus teachers are still very much on the starting block in terms of comprehension and adoption of CCE.

  • The success of CCE is largely hinged on the adoption of the model by the teachers
  • So far, our teachers have been conditioned to the traditional system of evaluation and will take time to understand, apply and realize the value of the CCE
  • It is an evolving methodology which implies teachers need to be continually educated to ensure that they are equipped with necessary knowledge and skills
  • Due to hasty implementation of CCE students are facing increased stress and pressure in the form of project work
  • Implementation ambiguity at teacher’s level has resulted into an overdose of project work for students, resulting in lesser time for self study.
  • A typical report card runs into 6-7 pages
  • Manual generation of report cards can take more time
  • Although the entire process of student evaluation is decentralized, CBSE holds control on issuing the final certificate of assessment to Class X students which requires schools to send student’s performance data for Classes IX & X electronically to the board at the end of the academic session that further calls for maintenance of performance data in different formats by the school, resulting in duplication of effort Result is increased stress for teachers
  • No uniform model of recording the assessment has been followed anywhere so far
  • Personal attention for the students by the teachers, which is important for the success of CCE, is not possible in many schools as the student-teacher ratio is widely skewed, ranging from 40 to 60, thus resulting in ‘efficiency and effectiveness’ related issues
  • The CCE scheme does create the additional pressure of constantly requiring teachers to be on the lookout for those proposed indicators against which relevant information on students has to be collected and the extra task of filling up those elaborate formats.

The entire CCE evaluative framework is quite exhaustive and elaborate. The various steps outlined for assessing the co-scholastic aspects of a student by teachers include identifying qualities, specifying behaviours/indicators, collecting evidence, recording, analysing, reporting, converting marks into grades, averaging them and finally putting them in a report card. Teachers are expected to keep a “watchful eye” (CBSE, 2010, 43) on their students and record any significant behaviour that may shed light on the various descriptors under different domains. Very clearly, all this has implications for not just the workload of teachers but also their perceived role as skilled technicians capable of implementing the reformatory scheme with finesse.

 

 

IMPACT OF CCE

Dramatic increase in record keeping and documentation duties is a common lament of teachers of CBSE schools countrywide. Under CCE’s formative assessment which covers evaluation of non-scholastic attainments, teachers have to maintain assessment sheets on each student’s co-curricular and extra-curricular activities as well as records in the form of anecdotes or achievements for proof of life skills, team work and attitudes towards teachers and peers. According to Joshi (2013), the difference in standards of schools, roadblocks in communication with stakeholders and diversity of socio-economic backgrounds has been the biggest challenge in implementing CCE. The results of the research study of Singhal (2012) revealed that currently the perception of government school teachers about CCE is average which indicates moderate acceptability of CCE by the teachers. The teachers are not adequately prepared for the effective execution of CCE in government schools. Further, the study of Rao (2001) revealed that the large number of students in the classes, lack of appropriate training, inadequate infrastructure and teaching materials and increased volume of work act as barriers in smooth execution of CCE. Lack of seriousness among the students towards academics was also reported as a serious concern of the teachers (Anuradha, 2014a).

Since implementation of CCE in CBSE schools countrywide, there’s been a steady increase in the number of students clearing the class X board examination, and an unprecedented rise in the number of 90-plus percenters. In the very first year of CCE in 2011, the percentage of students passing CBSE’s class X exam rose to 98.6 percent (91.1 percent in 2010), with the number of students averaging 90 percent-plus recording an all-time high. Of the 1 million students countrywide certified by CBSE in 2011, 3.8 percent (38,377) scored a perfect cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 10 (91-100 percent) and 76,900 students got perfect CGPA of 10 this year i.e. 2014. Assessment liberalisation has clearly set in. The national pass percentage in the CBSE class X exam of 2012 rose to 98.19 percent and 98.94 in 2013. CCE has prompted grades inflation. In many schools marks are given liberally or tests made simple to boost institutional reputation. Also after the introduction of CCE, academic syllabuses have been diluted especially for science subjects, and standards have fallen.

Some CBSE officials admit that the implementation of CCE in the board’s affiliated schools is far from satisfactory. For instance, in the first-ever internal study (2013) of proof of assessments submitted by schools, CBSE found only 31.57 percent of schools following CCE “in letter and spirit”. The board had asked 5,000 randomly selected schools to show the evidence of assessments they made for the first term of the 2012-13 academic year. After examining the evidence for over a month, CBSE found most schools had turned the formative assessment under which teachers are advised to evaluate student performance through assessment of project work and practical’s rather than paper-pencil tests, into just ‘another test’. While 31.57 percent of schools were categorised as ‘good’ for having successfully implemented CCE, nearly half were rated ‘average’. According to the feedback report prepared by the board, 18.28 percent of schools needed to radically improve existing CCE practices.

CONCLUSION

The Implementation of CCE is a curricular initiative, attempting to shift emphasis from memorizing to holistic learning. It aims at creating citizens possessing sound values, appropriate skills and desirable qualities besides academic excellence. It is hoped that this will equip the learners to meet the challenges of life with confidence and success. It is the task of school based co-scholastic assessment to focus on holistic development that will lead to lifelong learning. To make the process more comprehensive in nature, it is important that assessment of learning be done in a wider range of situations and environments both in and out of the classroom. The assessment process should provide information and feedback on the extent to which the school and teachers have been successful in realizing the expected outcomes of education.

Before looking at how assessment is to be undertaken, teachers need to determine objectives for achievement at various levels. They need to look at what education should develop in children, not only in cognitive domain, but also psychomotor and affective domains. Along with these attributes, they need to incorporate different age related indices and behaviours into the assessment criteria and practices. They also need to determine what their expectations are from the learner at the end of each stage, and what kind of profile report is required in relation to different aspects and learning areas, that reflect the child’s personal development.

Indian schools need reasonable teacher-student ratios and changes in the nature of the teacher-student relationship, from an unequal, hierarchical relationship to that of co-participants in a joint process of knowledge construction. So also the creation of adequate resources and opportunities in schools for the development of the multiple facets of students’ personalities, involving students and parents both in understanding the aims of assessments and ways of achieving it. It is critical to resist the tendency to use assessment results for multiple purposes, especially as a tool to evaluate teachers and schools. Most importantly, the key is not simply training teachers to implement the framework, but empowering them by involving them in all aspects related to teaching, learning and assessing and having a realistic understanding of the conditions under which they work.

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