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New format for Board exams

Liffy Thomas

The School Education Department has prepared the blueprint

— File Photo

A CHALLENGE:The new examination format in the Uniform System of School Education will test the application skills of students.

CHENNAI: High school students preparing for the Board examinations will have to start reading up more than just prepare for questions and exercises at the end of a lesson or what the question bank offers.

In an attempt to assess the subject and application knowledge of students of class X, the Board exams in 2012 will have a mix of open ended, difficult and easy questions. The blueprint brought out by the School Education Department is ready.

The State government introduced the Uniform System of School Education for academic year 2010-11 for classes I and V. It is scaling up across all the remaining classes for the next academic year, which means the classes have a new syllabus and class X students of 2012 batch will be the first to face the new examination format.

“We need the final approval from the board members of the Uniform System of School Education and the government, after which it will be on the website by December,” says a senior official from the School Education Department.

Based on the blueprint, question papers are set, and every school uses it to prepare their students for the Board exams.

According to school heads, they are looking forward to the changes proposed by the Department as 2012 will be the first time that S.S.L.C, Matriculation, O.S.L.C and Anglo-Indian streams will have one common examination.

Forty per cent of the questions will be in the “easy” category, 10 per cent in the “difficult” category, and the remaining 50 per cent of the questions in the “average” category.

A blueprint essentially has four levels – knowledge, understanding, application and skill, with the knowledge type easy to be answered by all and the skill questions being the most difficult.

“Most questions asked these days are of the knowledge type and there is very little of the application variety. We have tried to bring a balanced approach in the blueprint, where 50 per cent will constitute understanding-type questions, 40 per cent knowledge-based and 10 per cent difficult,” says S. Swaminatha Pillai, former director, School of Distance Education, Bharathiar University, who is one of the three consultants engaged by the Department. Experts, representatives from the four streams and heads of departments are part of the board. The blueprint will be applied for all subjects.

According to teachers, asking direct questions is the general norm in the State Board examinations, whereas CBSE tests students with ‘High Order Thinking Skills.'

Studying based on the existing blueprint makes learning meaningless, as students know which chapter to concentrate more on. The new approach will ensure more learning. This will also help in competitive examinations, say teachers.

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