CCE – Is it testing time for teachers?

B Nagalakshmi

Too much agony and very little celebration seems to have followed the CBSE’s announcement of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation.

Teachers who were hitherto comfortable marking written answer scripts are now wondering how they can manage to assess a class of forty children or more without papers they can carry home to correct.

CBSE has been conducting training workshops for teachers, but unfortunately some participants who were expected to share their knowledge have transferred only the jargon, and there is more confusion than ever before!

Some teachers ask if it is possible for them to suddenly change the method of assessment, and question whether the change was necessary at all.

Every sensitive educator has been complaining about the seriousness with which parents and teachers approach the board examination. It is a first for the pupil, and is made out to make or break his/her life. This enormous pressure has resulted in unhealthy competition and some unfortunate incidents in the lives of young people. CCE removes this pressure and paves way for overall assessment throughout the course. It is therefore a change that will enable children to take pride in their achievements in different spheres, and not merely concentrate on just academics.

Let’s go back in time. How did teachers and pupils interact in ancient times in our country? The pupils were sent to the teacher, and the parents more or less disappeared from the scene. Knowledge was imparted by the teacher, and the teacher’s wife trained them in ‘life-skills’, be it collecting wood for the fire or fetching water.

Our literature contains ample illustrations of this nature. Thus, the children were constantly assessed, and when the learning was incomplete due to some weakness or a lack of clarity, remedial measures were taken by the teacher to address the gaps and ensure improvement. This has happened for ages, we now call it formative assessment. This would also give the teacher feedback on the teaching process, and help in achieving a better effect.

The phrase ‘anecdotal records’ seems to frighten some. Now, how could a teacher go about this?

The modern day teacher now has to spend ‘quality time’ with the children, observing them as they go about their routine, and making notes. One way would be to use a diary or designated notebook, like the ones used to enter marks. Only in this case, the teacher will have to probably reserve a couple of pages for each child. An indexed register would definitely help.

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Merely looking for examination patterns suggested by CCE is not sufficient. We need to appreciate the principle behind the new approach to assessment. It will soon be a routine that teachers should and will be increasingly comfortable with.

The author is Chief Editor (ELT) Ratna Sagar P Ltd., New Delhi. She can be reached at [email protected].

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