UAE: CBSE schools begin pre-board exams

Educators say students are being tested on their comprehension, inference and analysis skills rather than ‘mere recall’

CBSE schools across the UAE have begun the pre-board exams, ahead of the final board exams, which are scheduled for mid-November.

India’s Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has shared date sheet for Grade 10 and 12 exams, both of which can be downloaded from the official site. CBSE had previously announced that the board exams for both grades would be divided into two terms.

Term 1 will consist of objective questions, while Term 2 will be subjective. Each set of exams cover 50 per cent of the curriculum.

Muhammad Ali Kottakkulam, principal at Gulf Indian High School Dubai, said pre-boards are scheduled to begin on Sunday.

“In preparing the students for the exams, they need to be taken through the new process of answering the MCQs in OMR sheets, both manually and by filling in the bubbles. Students are basically thrilled to be exposed to a different sort of assessment practice,” he said.

The board exams at Gulf Indian High School are expected to begin on November 15, with main subjects starting from November 24.

“Students’ own schools will be the examination centres. External observers deputed by CBSE will monitor the conduct of the examination. The encrypted question papers sent to the school will be printed at the school itself. The board exams will be conducted in the offline mode only and OMR sheets need to be valued at the school itself the same day and the marks uploaded to CBSE,” he said.

Term 1 exams will last for 90 minutes, while Term 2 exams, which are scheduled for March-April 2022, will be 120 minutes.

Bushra Mansoor, head of secondary school, Springdales School Dubai, said: “We have already started with our second pre-board, rightly anticipating the final boards to start mid-end of November. With minor subjects starting from mid-November, our assessment roadmap was spot on.”

Students are being tested on their comprehension, inference and analysis skills rather than ‘mere recall.’

“The MCQs with reasons and assertions require focus and tests the students’ ability to confidently assess their own knowledge. The multiple sample papers and webinars set by CBSE have trained the teachers to guide the students accordingly,” she said.

Although the new format of examination is an extension of the pattern followed by standardised testing methods, Mansoor said: “We are not facing any impediments at the moment, but the fluidity and rigour of the CBSE website during the exam will have to be impeccable to enable schools to download papers and upload marks within the given timeframe. I am certain that the CBSE will rise to the occasion as they did during the last academic marks moderation period.”

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CBSE has also shared the guidelines to be followed at the exam centres to ensure the safety of the students.

Meanwhile, the board has urged students not to panic and instead concentrate on their preparation that includes practising all the typologies of questions, familiarising with the latest exam pattern, solving stand-alone MCQs, case-based MCQs, passage-based MCQs and assertion-reason-based MCQs.

Deepika Thapar Singh, CEO and principal, Credence High School, said, “The syllabus of the first term will not be carried forward to the second term. Students are well-prepared and any change in the pattern of assessment must be welcomed and accepted as it is well thought through by the authorities.”

Nandini Sircar

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