Open Book Exam in CBSE

June 4, 2013

open book exam

The CBSE board which is leading the revolution in India to make education more holistic, meaningful and application-based is including open book exam-based type of evaluation for classes IX and XI for the new academic year.  This will encourage higher order thinking and move students further away from the dry and rote-based type of evaluation they were earlier subjected to.  Open-book examination will encourage students to have a deeper conceptual understanding of the subject, enhance their research skills and encourage them to come up with different ideas and strengthen their analytical skills.  This will gear them towards a more research and application-based approach to learning and foster and strengthen their problem-solving and innovative skills in the new-age careers and societies of the future.

The introduction of open book examination type of evaluation is for classes IX and XI.  For class IX, it will be for all main subjects and will form 15% to 20% of their summative assessment II in March.  For class XI, it will be part of the evaluation for three select subjects, Biology, Economics and Geography during the main examination at the end of the academic year.  The students will be given case studies four months earlier which they need to analyse and study in depth and are linked to the topics of their current syllabus.  All the schools will be provided with case study situations, mind maps and other resources related to topics which will aid them in deepening their analytical and research skills.  They will then be evaluated for their analysis and deep conceptual understanding of the topic rather than memorization which has been rampant in the Indian system of education.  The questions in an open book system are application-based rather than direct questions and encourage free and independent thinking.  This is the first initial step towards open book exams which are already conducted in many countries and allow students to carry select reference materials to the exam and refer to them.  The questions are tougher in an open book exam but are rewarding for students who have done enough research on a topic and have a deep understanding of the topic.  This method encourages students to think beyond the textbook and refer to other books and information sources.

Most CBSE schools, teachers and students welcome the move towards a more open book exam type of approach.  However, like any newly introduced reform, it will take time for schools, teachers and students to completely adjust to new modes of evaluation and reform.  The change will benefit the entire learning community as learning will happen in a more application and research-based manner and lay the foundation for an innovation and problem-solving society.

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