The recent decision of introducing internal assessment at the ninth class level by C.B.S.E. is a positive approach towards reducing stress in students.However the internal assessment should be made as objective as possible so that the teacher's personal prejudices don’t affect the marks he gives to the student. It is often seen that assessments which are subjective in nature lack validity and the variation in marks allotted by different examiners to the same answer script is too great! There is a plan to award 40 marks to internal assessment, and 60 marks to the traditional written exam in each session.Of the 40 marks, from April to September, 20 marks will be awarded, and the next 20 will be awarded from October to March. Sixty marks will be awarded for the written exams. Looking at the scenario, I believe that this system is more suited to schools where there are only 35-40 students in each class. Assessing 70-80 students in a class(which is the standard for many government School) would be a Herculean task!
Everyone knows that “favourite” students get better marks in assessments. Bias and prejudice creep into the teacher who is a human being after all! Mr.Koch, Einstein’s History teacher considered Einstein to be a misfit, a poor students.The teacher’s misconception was because Einstein was not able to mug up the date of the battle of waterloo and how many soldiers died as a result! Einstein’s unthinking honesty made the History teacher think that he was being rude and impudent towards him. Einstein told the History teacher that he he was more interested in the learning of ideas and why the soldiers were trying to kill each other.He was not interested in the statistics and the data, because these can in any case be found in books!
If Einstein could be a victim of prejudice, why not others? The idea behind these radical changes in assessment of students is reduction of stress. However if the students are to be given an internal assessment which is subjective in nature, then it will worsen the problem of stress. The teacher will have to be pleased and kept happy so that he might give more marks in internal assessment.
Objectivity in internal assessment can be ensured only through multiple choice question papers where there is only one answer. These answer sheets can then be scanned and there can be less interference by the teacher as the marks would be awarded by the scanning machine, or computer! However, this objective tool of assessment should be introduced in a phased manner! For Languages preparing an objective tool for assessment is going to be difficult. Imagine grading students for fluency in spoken English! Few of us can pronounce English words properly so I wonder how equipped English teachers are for assessing students in spoken English! Added to this the fact that most of our students do not live in an environment where English is spoken so an internal assessment in spoken English would be utterly Insane! Government School students will be at a great disadvantage!
Somehow or the other, I feel that because of the continuous evaluation, there will be more stress in the students, there will be more workload for teachers (what with maintaining records) and of course there will be little or no teaching in classes. Imagine the confusion chaos which will be created in Government schools where you have seventy to eighty students in each class!
Somehow, students today are more stressed than not because of the system of continuous evaluations! The policy makers had thought about doing away with one board paper, a pen and paper exam because of the stress factor. What is really happening today is that instead of one pen and paper exam per subject at the end of the year, a student has to face four formative assessments per subject per term ( which makes it eight formative assessments in a session) and add to this two summative assessments which really stress out the students. A common complaint made by parents of students studying in classes ninth to tenth is that the projects and assessments are more of a task for parents than their children. This slew of internal assessments has added to the burden of parents who, of course are partners in education.