CBSE Board exams: Students excited, experts doubtful

City Education Top Story

Students praise offline new board exam pattern requiring them to answer multiple choice questions , leaving parents worried.

Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) term one board exam that started today have been welcomed by the students for their Multiple Choice Questions (MCQs) pattern, while the experts doubt the quality of knowledge retention.

Noor H., a 10th standard student at a CBSE school in Bangalore said, “I am really happy that we are having offline exams as the pattern is easy to follow. Answering MCQs was easy as compared to writing long answers. I want offline classes as well as they help me learn better.”

Class 10 major papers will have case-based MCQs and  assertion-reasoning type MCQs. Students have appreciated this change in the exam pattern as they believe online classes have not helped them with their subjects.Jeevan Gowdaks, another student at a CBSE school in Bangalore said, “It is very easy to appear for multiple choice based exams as subjective exams is tough. Teachers have been supportive in helping us prepare for these exams. Given the problems in online education, it is better to have MCQs rather than writing answers.”

However, experts believe that MCQ based exams would not be beneficial in the longer run as their concepts would have a weaker base. Given the current situation, CBSE decided to come up with this pattern, but until students follow the repetitive mechanism to write and learn, they would not retain concepts said Dr. Shashi Kumar, General-Secretary at Associated Managements of English Medium Schools (KAMS), Karnataka.

“Students are excited for offline exams as they are getting to visit schools after a long time. But the MCQ based pattern is going to affect their quality of retention. Studying for MCQs gives superficial knowledge and hence students lack in-depth understanding of their subjects,” Kumar added.

However, Radhika Mitter, a special educator said that preparing for MCQ based exam requires a deeper knowledge of the subject as one-word questions can only be answered when the student is well-versed with the topic. “They will exactly know the answers only when they have an in-depth understanding otherwise, they would not be able to answer questions,” she added.

No vaccination for students below 18 years is a matter of concern for parents as the government’s decision to roll out the vaccine for them is still being discussed, said Kumar.

Covid-19 concerns

Noor’s parents are concerned about her vaccination status. Since vaccination for people below 18 years has not been rolled out yet, her parents are worried for her to go out and sit for offline exams, she added.

“My parents are okay with me going out for offline exams but they are not in favor of offline classes due to Covid-19 concerns and the new variant,” Jeevan added.

“School authorities are trying to handle the situation in the best way possible by asking us to wear double masks and following the Covid-19 protocols strictly,” said Noor.

“At some point of time we will eventually have to let them step out. However, uncertainty about vaccination bothers us but we are hopeful that schools will take enough precautions to keep the students safe when they are appearing for their board exams,” said Anu Krishna, parent of a student appearing for  class 10 board exam.

However, people are going out to visit malls and other places, reopening schools with proper sanitation and strict covid protocols is required for better learning, said Mitter. An official from Alpine Public School said that the attendance is almost full for the board exams and all of the required protocols are being followed.