NEW DELHI: Bifurcating the academic session, holding two term-end exams and rationalising the syllabus were part of the special assessment scheme for class 10 and 12 board examinations next year announced by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on Monday in view of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The term one exams will be conducted by the Board in November-December, 2021 while the second term exams will be conducted in March-April, 2022, as per an official order by Joseph Emmanuel, Director (Academic) of the CBSE.
The syllabus for the board examination will be rationalised, similar to that of the last academic session, and will be notified in July 2021, it said and also announced plans to make the internal assessment and project work more "credible" and "valid".
At the end of the first term, the board will organise exams in a flexible schedule between November-December 2021 with a window period of 4-8 weeks for schools situated in different parts of the country and abroad.
"The exams will have Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) including case-based MCQs and MCQs on assertion-reasoning type. Duration of test will be 90 minutes and it will cover only the rationalised syllabus of the first term. The question papers will be sent by the CBSE to schools along with the marking scheme.
"The exams will be conducted under the supervision of the external center superintendents and observers appointed by CBSE. The responses of students will be captured on OMR sheets which, after scanning may be directly uploaded at the CBSE portal or alternatively may be evaluated and marks obtained will be uploaded by the school on the very same day," he added.
At the end of the second term, the board would organise Term II or year-end examination based on the rationalised syllabus.
"This examination would be held around March-April 2022 at the examination centres fixed by the board. The paper will be of two hours duration and have questions of different formats (case-based/ situation based, open ended- short answer/ long answer type).
"In case the situation is not conducive for normal descriptive examination a 90-minute MCQ-based exam will be conducted at the end of the second term also," Emmanuel said.
The CBSE has decided that in case the situation of the pandemic improves and students are able to come to schools or centres for taking the exams, the board would conduct Term I and II examinations at schools or centres and the theory marks will be distributed equally between the two exams.
"In case the situation of the pandemic forces complete closure of schools during November-December 2021, but second term exams are held at schools or centres, the Term I MCQ based examination would be done by students online or offline from home but their weightage will be reduced in the final score," he said.
Similarly, if the November-December exams are conducted in schools or centres and situation is not conducive in March-April, the result will be declared on basis of first term exams.
"In case the situation of the pandemic forces complete closure of schools and Board conducted Term I and II exams are taken by the candidates from home in the session 2021-22, results would be computed on the basis of their marks clubbed with internal assessment subject to the moderation or other measures to ensure validity and reliability of the assessment," Emmanuel explained.
The syllabus for the academic session 2021-22 will be divided into two terms by following a systematic approach by looking into the interconnectivity of concepts and topics by the Subject Experts.
"The Board will conduct examinations at the end of each term on the basis of the bifurcated syllabus. This has been done to increase the probability of having a board conducted classes 10 and 12 examinations at the end of the academic session," he said.
Schools will also use alternative academic calendar and inputs from the NCERT on transacting the curriculum.
"Efforts will be made to make internal assessment, practical, project work more credible and valid as per the guidelines and moderation policy to be announced by the board to ensure fair distribution of marks," he added.
The announcement by the CBSE comes after the COVID-19 pandemic forced the cancellation of board exams this year after much uncertainty.
Last year too, exams of some subjects were not held.
"The cancellation of exams also necessitated deliberations over alternative ways to look at the learning objectives as well as the conduct of the board examinations for next academic session in case the situation remains unfeasible," Emmanuel said.
The board said that the decision has been arrived at following stakeholder consultations with government and private schools from across the country including the ones from remote rural areas and a majority of them have requested for the rationalisation of the syllabus, similar to last year in view of reduced time permitted for organising online classes.
"The board has also considered the concerns regarding differential availability of electronic gadgets, connectivity and effectiveness of online teaching and other socio-economic issues specially with respect to students from economically weaker section and those residing in far-flung areas of the country," Emmanuel said.