Part 1: Fundamental Fix
“To have one examination determine a future pathway for a generation of youth is folly akin to forcing them to put all their eggs in one basket”
The Class 12 Examination of the various boards are one such hurdle. They have been since living memory, and thus, it seems they will continue. Each student is bound to a particular board by the school they sign up to – and there is no other way. One could of course step out of the schooling system and go the NIOS way, but then, very few in India take the results of that board seriously. Already, even before we have begun talking about these – we are hit by the fact that all boards are not created equal.
Nor do they need to be. But they do need to be able to calibrate on equivalent examinations.
For a student, there is no greater prison than to be beholden to one exam, one board, and one set of criteria for success.
My appeal is to the Universities to expand their range of requirements, my appeal to the MHRD is to allow students to take multiple exams across boards, and/or, start a series of professional exams at the level of Class 12 that are voluntary, inexpensive and accessible nationally such as the SATs and other certification exams. Each subject could be a separate specialist examination board, or each industry… these are discussions going forward. These break the monopoly of specific exams, and are more inclusive – lifelong learners can join in anytime and upgrade their basic qualifications. Let each student have more chances at success.
The current situation must never be repeated – and from this should emerge some policy level changes. (1) One needs a national level examination designed professionally to be able to calibrate the various papers and examinations. At this time there is no data that allows the standard statistical tools of adjustment across various boards to be applied. The statistics and the tools exist, and are relatively easy. The data is not there. (2) All Senior Secondary Boards must be asked to declare their methodology for aligning the level of questions, their marking schemes and their moderation policies. Most boards globally do this so that there is informed participation in an examination. (3) The various boards need to build transparency in their goals, and in their redressal mechanisms. Finally (4) Build a free flow of information and learning in assessment sciences – the current education boards have some excellent faculty and knowledge in the area that is not visible to the direct consumers of their work. This is unfair to both sides and must be fixed.
There are other suggestions that will improve the Senior Secondary Exams, but these are basic – and we must make a start.
Assessment and Moderation
(i) Tweet collation
(ii) Principles of Assessment
(iii) Principles of moderation
Policy Reform Opportunity