CBSE Class X Exam Paper Format Change: What Parents Should Know

The CBSE has come up with a new proposal to change the board examination paper format for classes 10 and 12 from 2020. Here's all you should know.

By Team ParentCircle

CBSE Class X Exam Paper Format Change: What Parents Should Know

A lot of brainstorming is going on in our country about the need to change our education system. Policymakers and corporate bigwigs are pushing for the move from the system of rote learning towards meaningful learning.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has decided to take a step towards this direction. It plans to improve the quality of education in its schools by focussing on a student’s analytical skills rather than rote learning. 

According to reports, the board has decided to revamp the pattern of the examination paper for classes 10 and 12 from the year 2020. A proposal to this effect has been submitted to the Ministry of Human Resource Development with plans to implement the changes from the next academic session.

A parent from Chennai is pleased with the change in the system. She says, “It is a good initiative and a welcome move by the board. Learning by rote will slowly go away.” However, she does have some reservations about the sudden introduction of these changes. “The change has to happen systematically. They should introduce it when the children are in Class VIII itself. There is no clarity as to when this exercise is going to begin. Children should be able to adapt to it,” she says sounding worried.

On the other hand, Sharmee, a Class XII student says, “This is a good move. It will help us prepare for JEE. Normally, the preparation and question paper for board exam and JEE is different. For JEE, students need more analytical ability, which is honed by practice and continuous assessments. As a student, I’m always running out of time preparing for two different patterns. If both the CBSE board and JEE test our analytical skills, it will be easier to practise and save time.”

Here are the important changes proposed by CBSE:

  1. The board examination schedule will be split in two parts – main courses and vocational courses. The class 12 board exams will be conducted from 15 February to 3 April and class 10 board exams from 21 February to 29 March.
  2. The examination will take place from 10.30 am to 1.30 pm. But the students will be given their answer books at 10 am, so they can fill in the necessary details. The question papers will be given at 10.15 am.
  3. The examinations for the vocational subjects will be held in February and the examinations for the main subjects will conclude by the end of March.
  4. The results will be declared by the first week of June.
  5. The paper will now have more short answer-type questions carrying marks between 1 and 5. The aim is to test a child’s problem-solving and analytical skills rather than his ability to memorise and write the answers.
  6. More time will be given to the examiners to evaluate the papers.
  7. The board also plans to introduce new by-laws. These are for evaluating the academic quality of an institution before declaring it as an affiliated school or to renew an affiliated school's certification. The institution and its infrastructure will be inspected by the authorities of the state's education department.

Sreenivasa Raghavan, Prinicipal of Bala Vidya Mandir, Adyar, Chennai believes that the change in scheduling will be beneficial to students. According to him, “Finishing off all the papers in the month of March will ensure that results are released early and give students more time for college admissions." He did not believe that conducting the exams earlier in the year would put pressure on the students because practical exams for science stream subjects are already being conducted in the month of February, along with theoretical exams for some vocational subjects. When asked if the teaching pattern in CBSE schools would be affected by these changes, Sreenivasa replied, “By and large, CBSE schools finish their portions by the month of November or December, at the latest. After this, revision examinations are conducted in the months of January and February. The teaching pattern shouldn’t be overly affected by the revision in the dates.”

However, Seetha Kiran, Regional Director of the DAV Institutions, Telangana Zone, does not believe that this is a good move. "Children hardly write anything in the examinations anymore. A question carrying five marks is answered in bullet points where each bullet carries one mark. Marks are given too easily nowadays and the student gets the benefit of doubt every time. This is not conducive to learning. What will a child write for one mark? The emphasis should be on making children lifelong learners by enabling them to answer open-ended questions, where they are forced to think and analyse their answers and then write them down," she says.

Seetha Kiran suggests that the board should introduce methods like open book examination and mind mapping which will help the child to think more from an analytical point of view. "Then we will bring our examination standards to a level that will be recognised internationally," she concludes.

The CBSE faced a lot of criticism from different quarters earlier this year when question papers of classes 10 and 12 leaked, and some students had to go for a re-examination. The new changes being brought are also aimed at ensuring such incidents don't happen again and board examinations are conducted seamlessly.

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