Open-Book Exam on the Cards for CBSE Students

Inspired from US and UK, the Indian HRD Ministry planning to introduce open book examination system for class X and class XII CBSE students from next year. The objective is to do away the rote learning system.

A committee on school examination reforms, headed by CBSE Chairman Vineet Joshi, is working to give final shape to the proposal. The ministry is keen on introducing the new examination system in the CBSE schools in 2013.

Under the system, situation-based subjective type questions would be set that would require a student to think, analyse and apply his knowledge to arrive at the answer.

This will assess the students’ understanding of their subjects and encourage critical thinking instead of their capacity to memorise and reproduce the same, which causes much “stress” on their minds.

Although, it is being termed as open-book examination, students will not be allowed to answer questions while keeping books with them in the examination hall. They will rather be informed in advance about the passages or chapters in their books from where questions will be asked.

“The basic objective behind introducing the open-book examination system is to encourage students towards understanding the subject rather than just memorising the contents of their books and reproduction of the same in the examination. A shift in emphasis to testing the competencies away from memory would certainly reduce stress among children,” a ministry official said.

Another aspect is that it will have a “tremendous impact” on promoting the right mental sets in both learning and teaching, subsequently adding value to the education system, he said.

The system has been successfully introduced in countries like the US and UK where analytical question papers are prepared to assess students’ understanding of a subject than their memory.

In these countries, though candidates are allowed to keep their textbooks with them in the examination halls, they are of no use as questions are set in such a way that they cannot find direct answers just by flipping pages, the official said.


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