The revolutionary decision of CBSE board to revamp the exam pattern for upper primary (Gr. 6 ) to Gr. 10 from 2017-2018 academic year has created panic among parents and students. CBSE has 18,000 affiliated schools and lakhs of students in India and abroad. ‘To make students more confident about facing the class 10 board examinations when they join the upper- primary stage in class 6, we have decided to implement a uniform system of assessment, exam pattern and report cards’’ said CBSE chairman RK Chaturvedi. The new system will impact thousands of students studying in 65 CBSE schools in the UAE. In my experience with the existing CCE (Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation) system of CBSE, the newly introduced system will certainly affect the students especially Gulf school students. The new system requires more dedication from students. Students have to go back to text books from activities and projects.

Students have to read their text books and other sources of information extensively. Under current system the focus was on activities, group works and projects. Teachers, students and parents have to adopt an entirely different approach to learning. Before thinking about ways and methods of study style to face the new exam pattern, it is necessary to know the difference between old and new patterns. The CCE evaluation programme started in CBSE schools in 2009. Under CCE system Grade 10 students have options to take board or school based annual exam. It was highly helpful to weak students and those who suffer from exam fear. Annual board exams compulsory for grade 10 in the new system. Currently, there are four Formative Assessment ( FA) and two Summative Assessments ( SA) in which teacher evaluate a student with 70% of marks. In the CCE System , Formative Assessments ( FA) = FA1+ FA2+FA3+FA4= 40% and Summative Assessment (SA) = SA1+ SA2 = 60%. Present class X question paper comes of 90 marks but the weightage of this paper is only 30% and remaining 70% depends on how the student performed in the whole year.

However from 2018 onwards the weightage of marks in final examinations will be 80% and only 20% of marks will remain with schools. Therefore students have to work hard for their final exam and involvement in school activities should be minimised. Like most of the teachers, I personally favour the removal of CCE system because the CCE pattern involves lot of useless paper works. The new scheme has two terms, but the pen paper test weightage will be now 90%, which includes the 80 marks of the half yearly or yearly exam and 10 marks of the 20 marks set aside for periodic assessment in each term. 5 marks each have been allotted for note book submission and subject enrichment. Moreover, entire syllabus to be learned for final exam. Certainly students have to burn midnight oil to cover the entire topics for final exam whereas in the previous CCE system, students were required to learn the syllabus part by part. Schools will also have to issue uniform report cards that will carry logos of both CBSE and the school. BENEFITS OF NEW EXAM PATTERN Experts points out certain benefits of the new scheme. First of all, the uniform exam system to be followed from Grade 6 will boost the confidence of students to face Grade 10 board exam.

Those students who passed Grade 10 (Under Old CCE Exam System) with flying colours are struggling even to get a pass mark in plus two level. This was due to less emphasis on subject content and more emphasis on projects and activities in the CCE System. Due to more weightage on project marks, students moved away from reading and devoted more time for activities. The CCE system produced many high scorers with lack of subject knowledge. Secondly, the new system will avoid the difficulties students face when they migrate from one school to another. CBSE has over 18,000 affiliated schools which follow different systems of assessment from class 6 to 9 in the CCE pattern and issue different kinds of report cards to their students. Due to disparities in the system, students from classes 6 to 9 face several problems whenever they migrate to another school. In the new scheme, it is mandatory to issue uniform report cards that will carry logos of both CBSE and the school. STRATAGIES TO TACKLE THE NEW EXAM PATTERN

1. First of all the students should understand that, written test weightage is 90% (80% from final exam and 10% from internal exams) Moreover, students have to learn the entire topics. Therefore dedication to studies is imperative. Days are gone, when you collect marks from activities and group works. Students have to read the lessons thoroughly and look for extra reading materials for a comprehensive study.

2. Minimise the time spend for projects and activities. 90% of marks depend on written test and 5% for note book work. Only 5% is allotted for lesson related projects. Therefore, it not wise to spend your valuable time on activities.

3. Be a voracious reader. Students have to develop reading habits which is key to scoring high marks in the new pattern. When you read, note down important facts briefly.

4. Maintain your notebooks. Since 5 marks awarded for note books, it is necessary to maintain the note books from the beginning of academic year. Complete your notes on time.

5. Daily Review To achieve higher grades in exam, it is imperative to learn the lessons taught in school on the same day itself.

6. Weekly Review: Review your notes, school work and other class materials over the weekend. Successful students review what they have learned during the week over the weekend.

7. Read effectively: Many students complain about lack of concentration while reading. Use the SQ3R Method—survey, question, read, recite, review—to actively retain information. Just reading it is not enough. First of all, have a bird’s eye view of the topic ie. overall review of the portion. Then form some questions about the topic and read the portions to find out answer for the questions. Reading loudly helps for easy memorization.

8. Take Notes: Develop the habit of note taking during your class lecture and during home study. Write down the main points in orderly manner. Note taking would help to increase memory and fast revision.

9. Start at the beginning: Many students learn at the eleventh hour ie. Just before the exam. Don’t forget the proverb, ‘Slow and steady wins the race’. Start studying; from the first day of school.

10. Being successful in school requires a high level of study skills. Students must first learn these skills, practice them and develop effective study habits in order to be successful. If you want to be a successful student with high grades in exam, the need of the hour is to change the whole system of learning. First of all, the key to becoming an effective student is learning how to study smarter, not harder.

( Writer on teenage and education issues. Faculty at Gems Our Own English School Fujairah. Former faculty at Ministry of Education Maldives.)



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