Cancellation of exams: Any guarantees?

Students henceforth perhaps will take attendance and ongoing school assessments a lot more seriously.

By   |  Madhu Sharma  |  Published: 11th Jun 2021  6:20 pm

As an aftermath of the times we live in, came the pragmatic decision of cancellation of Grade XII examination. The decision was widely applauded and hailed by parents, students and schools alike. It came after a lot of pondering and weighing of a range of options from reduced lengths of examination to having online exams and postponement of examination to July and August, even suggesting an option of deferment to a later stage.

However, none can deny that the situation is extremely fluid and there are no guarantees. Can we compromise with the welfare and health of our students? Besides, there is the issue of deadlines facing college admissions internal and international. A rather muted criticism did come from the disappointed, meritorious students and others who vouched for the rather lenient, student-friendly outcomes from the external examinations.

There is a lot of talk about criticism of one external examination deciding the fate of students, reforms and digital divide but the concern should be about redressal of immediate issues. These steps include tabulating results in a fair manner, preparation for the entrance examination and vaccination of students and teachers as frontline workers.

Assessments may include a comprehensive plan of internal, formative and summative assessments from grade IX, along with the inclusion of X external boards are some of the suggestions. Another issue is about the possible malpractices used in online tests and whether they are a true testament of students’ skills and achievement. Notwithstanding these are the lack of relevant resources in government, less-resourced private schools and the rural-urban divide.

There is bound to be unfairness with schools giving higher marks to their students. While others may not have the testing tools and rubrics to pass an impartial verdict. Nevertheless, a comprehensive system of assessment with the projects, practical examinations, extracurricular activities along internal examinations, will be explored. Students henceforth perhaps will take attendance and ongoing school assessments a lot more seriously.

Besides online examinations, the need is to work on the logistics of conducting physical, entrance examinations across different colleges and universities. Nobody needs reminders about hygiene, sanitisation, social distancing and vaccination of staff and students alike. The task ahead is of mammoth proportions with the lurking fear of the virus and disguised super spreaders with asymptomatic symptoms. For now, let us prepare a stringent and rigorous plan for the roadmap for the next step.

Madhu Sharma

Education Consultant,

Gyan Global Consultancy

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