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In a move that has not gone down well with many, Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has decided to conduct a special test for Std XI students in the current academic session itself. The test will be called Problem Solving Assessment and go by the nomenclature 'CBSE-PSA'. It is to be held in January or February next year and shall test analytical skills and comprehension of written texts. It is compulsory for all students. Justifying the need for such a test, board chairman Vineet Joshi wrote to schools saying "21'st century life skills will greatly assist learners in acquiring higher order thinking skills such as problem solving and decision making".
He defines these life skills as "research and analytical skills, ability to apply basic concepts of different subjects, solve application based problems in mathematics and science, comprehend and analyze written texts and effective communication". Acquiring these skills can help students in higher studies and professional areas, Joshi added. The board will soon start the process of registration for the CBSE-PSA and more details will be made available in separate circular to be issued within a month.
Though Joshi's letter does not indicate it clearly, still it seems unlikely that CBSE-PSA marks will reflect in the mark list or have any bearing on a student's promotion to Std XII. Every student appearing for the test will be issued a certificate by the board. The CBSE-PSA will be of 90 marks and there will be 60 items in a MCQ format, however the exam's duration is not mentioned in the board's letter. There will be no specific syllabus for CBSE-PSA and no separate class will be taken by schools to prepare students. The test will evaluate three areas –
The board says students' ability to process, interpret and use information would be assessed rather than student's prior knowledge of subject. Joshi adds CBSE-PSA will be designed to improve generic and the higher order thinking skills. The board believes the test will help students improve scores in core school subjects. Since students of all academic streams will be appearing for a common test, some feel it is unfair.
Vedika Desai, a Std XI student, said, "What is the point in testing students in subjects that have got nothing to do with their streams? Moreover, we have our coaching classes’ tests and regular school exams to prepare for; how can they expect us to study math and science when our subject is social science?" Joshi however assures that the CBSE-PSA will make 'comparatively modest demand' on mathematical knowledge of students. He writes that the quantitative domain would 'emphasize logical and numerical reasoning and use of basic mathematical knowledge'. For the language section in the test, the questions shall assess grammar, usage, vocabulary in context and passage-completion.
Courtesy: Times of India
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