Need For A Shift In Examinations Landscape

(MENAFN- Kashmir Observer) Analysis of recently declared results

In the month of June 2024, three major results were declared, be it the NEET, JKBOSE 12th result followed by JKBOSE 10TH result. There has been much ado and chest thumping on the part of coaching institutes, schools and educators across the spectrum and literally social media platforms were flooded with congratulatory messages. Is our current examination system in sync with the holistic assessment of the core competencies? What actually is assessed? is still greater emphasis being given to rote learning which caters the lowest levels of competencies : be it remembering or understanding. What about the higher competencies of the learning pyramid? Are the higher learning competencies such as applying, analyzing, elaborating, evaluating and creating assessed in the existing examination system? In the existing scheme of things , these highest order learning competencies are not assessed to the level they should have been by the existing examination system. If the examination system still demands a student to be pure rote-learner, where he is supposed to do cramming or mug up
the content, how we can expect our 21st century modern day learners to be future innovators: to mitigate the daunting challenges of 21st century , to be co-creators of knowledge , effective communicators , inclination towards inculcation of scientific arousal etc. Our examination system still heavily relies on pen-paper tests and a student is expected to vomit out the content in the stipulated time, which determines the fate of
his career progression.

Survivorship bias Model

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As the saying goes, success is never ending, failure is never final but this saying goes for a toss when the mentors, coaching institutes and schools glorify the students who vomit out maximum content in the three hour pen –paper test and emerge out as meritorious
.The glorification is not confined to within the four walls of the institution and even the life sized hoardings and banners are installed in public spaces to further add to the miseries of the lot
who have not made the cut or have got comparatively less marks. The mentors, coaching institutes and schools never highlight the plight of underperformers
or those who have not made it
to the selection list and therefore left to God's mercy without any handholding and counseling either from the parents or from faculty members of coaching centres and schools. Lack empathy on part of the parents, tuition centres and schools alleviate stress levels among students already in distress, which at times compels them to commit suicide and it is there in the public domain that innumerable student commit suicide in case they fail to qualify or obtain lower grades. The students even leave their studies in the mid way leading to high dropout rate. The psychological distress children even resort to drugs, thus ruining their life and career. A coaching institute, an academy or for sake of the matter a school, where thousands
of students are toiling hard to excel in the cut throat competition facilitate survivorship bias
to remain relevant in the eyes of the public. These institutions instead of backing and rendering support to each and every student irrespective of success or failure, unfortunately relay behind the successful ones and promote and glorify
them through posters, banners, advertisement in print and
electronic media and on all social media platforms which has penetrated deep into the strata of the society. This glorification of selected few and disowning of larger lot is referred to as survivorship bias model.

Current examination pattern prioritizes competition over comprehension

The modus operandi of existing examination system is such that it prioritizes competition over comprehension fostering a culture of rote learning rather than comprehension. Although NEP 2020 strongly envisages holistic development of the child, be it the physical development, cognitive development, linguistic development, psycho-social wellbeing but right from inception of the academic career of the child , the child is subjected to intense cramming as a means to secure high marks thereby by creating a situation which is intensely competitive and stressful, which seriously compromises
his overall wellbeing.

National Curriculum Framework for School education 2023 (NCFSE 2023) has to greater extent streamlined and rationalized the curriculum to accommodate diverse learning needs and interests. The existing examination system therefore
must provide space to assess the domain of critical thinking , problem solving skills and real world application of knowledge over rote memorization. Infact there is need to introduce modular examination formats that allows students to demonstrate proficiency in individual subjects over an extended period. There needs to be a shift from high stakes, one-size-fits all examinations to a more nuanced assessment framework that values continuous learning and growth and provides opportunities for formative assessment and feedback throughout the learning process to facilitate personalized learning trajectories.

The principal determinant of effective pedagogy is the nature of assessment

The central provision of NEP 2020 is transition from rote memorization to attainment of age-appropriate competencies. The NEP 2020 strongly advocates in shifting from a behavioristic model of teaching –learning to a more engaging model of constructivist approach, where students are supposed to construct new knowledge based on prior experiences. Students can meaningfully co-construct knowledge when the teacher will create a conducive learning environment. I am of firm conviction that the type of pedagogy to be employed by the teacher is strongly governed by the nature of the assessment. The transition from chalk and talk pedagogy to a more meaningful and engaging constructivist approach can only be replicated provided the examination system evaluates and assesses the student in 3600 approach: the holistic assessment, wherein the scholastic and no-scholastic domains are equally assessed , which in the longer run can play a pivotal role in meaningful transformation of the individual and thereby contribute positively in society. In contrast, when the examination system is designed and executed in such a way that it largely revolves around assessing the rote learning or mug up of information, the teacher obviously has to align his pedagogy accordingly and thereby becomes a dominant stakeholder in the teaching–learning process, leaving minimal scope for the child to imbibe the skills of creativity, critical thinking , collaboration and communication.

To expect turnaround in the pedagogical domain on part of the teacher, the assessment pattern has take into account the evaluation of all the requisite learning competencies : be it understanding, applying , analyzing, elaborating, evaluating and creating, which will certainly
go a long way in stimulating teachers to update their pedagogical skills and shun the traditional approach.


There is a need to invest in comprehensive training programs for educators to deepen their understanding of pedagogical principles and assessment practices. Educators need to be equipped with the tools and the resources to implement learner –centered approaches and cater to diverse student needs effectively. The holistic evaluation criteria need to encompass a broader range of competencies including creativity, collaboration and emotional intelligence. Implementation of diverse and alternative assessment methods , such as portfolios , projects , and presentations to capture the multifaceted nature of student achievement. There must be a transition towards authentic, contextually relevant assessments that reflect real –world challenges and opportunities.

Views expressed in the article are the author's own and do not necessarily represent the editorial stance of Kashmir Observer

  • The author is an educator

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