The Formative Assessment in CBSE Schools

November 8, 2013

formative assessment CBSE

Formative assessments have been introduced in CBSE schools in order to make learning a more wholesome and meaningful experience.  The traditional system of assessment was the examination system which encouraged rote-based learning instead of inquiry based and experiential learning.  Moreover, it tried to pressurize students and did not consider individual needs, did not encourage independent thinking and did not inculcate collaborative learning and group activities.

Formative assessments have introduced quizzes, group discussions, debates, role plays, group projects, field trip reports and reflections and other activities as part of the assessment component for students.  With the help of such formative assessments, students can learn in a joyful manner and will also find the learning experience more meaningful.  Imagine doing group projects and making a model solar car while studying about solar energy.  Students will remember such learning experiences and understand concepts better when such experiential and application-based learning occurs.

As per CBSE norms, schools should be conducting only 1 pen-and-paper test out of the 4 formative assessments in a subject per term which constitutes 40% of the total assessment weight-age per term.  The other 60% of weight-age is the summative assessment and is a pen-and-paper examination.   However, surveys have noticed that some schools are still conducting too many pen-and-paper tests and diluting the guidelines laid down by CBSE for formative assessments.  In addition, they may be bombarding students with too many assignments and home-work.  The very purpose of formative assessment of making learning joyful, meaningful and building the skill-sets of the students will be diluted if there are some schools which still operate from a traditional mindset while conducting formative assessments.

Students on the whole look forward to formative assessments and are very enthusiastic about participating in activity-based assessments entailed in the formative assessments from the debates and group discussions to the group projects and field trip reports.   Many enthusiastic teachers and many schools are conducting formative assessments as per the CBSE guidelines and enjoying the fruits of this kind of assessment.  It has helped students improve their soft skills as well as enabled students to deeply study topics and become inquiry-based learners and has helped students to become more wholesome with a very high level of improvement in grades as well.

photo credit: Ken Whytock via photopin cc

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