Material for open book exam released by CBSE

Material for open book exam released by CBSE

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on Tuesday released the text and pictorial material from which the question paper for the Open Text Based Assessment (OTBA) will be prepared. The news of introduction of this revolutionary open book exam concept came out in July 2012 and was officially announced by CBSE a year later.

OTBA will be conducted only for classes IX and XI as part of the final exams in March. For class IX, the OTBA material has been released for all main subjects including Hindi, English, Mathematics, Science and Social Science. For class XI, the text material is for Geography, Economics and Biology. OTBA will be applicable only to these subjects this year.

An open text-based assessment does not mean students will be allowed to take books to the examination hall. In fact, the board will provide case studies to the school much in advance. About 15-20 per cent questions in the paper will be based on this material. However, the CBSE has ensured that OTBA’s format does not dilute the process of conducting an exam.

A few months ago, the Board’s chairman Vineet Joshi had written to schools that “OTBA will have questions of higher order thinking skills (HOTS) and some of which may be subjective, creative and open-ended”. He added that textual material will be related to chosen concepts taken from the syllabi. The content given to students may be in the form of an article, a case study, a diagram, a concept/mind map, a picture or a cartoon, problem/situation based on the concepts taught to students during second term.

The Board has also modified the marks distribution to accommodate OTBA scores in the main subject marks itself. The question papers in main subjects at Summative Assessment (SA)-II will be of 90 marks (in English, of 70 marks + 20 marks for assessment of speaking and listening skills) based on prescribed syllabus and question paper design. The question paper in each main subject will have a separate section of 10 marks for OTBA. The OTBA section will comprise text material accompanied by two or three questions based on this text. The questions based on text will be of HOTS requiring students to apply to the situations given in the article/ report/ case study and draw inferences/conclusions from.

After releasing the content for OTBA on Tuesday evening, CBSE’s academic director Sadhana Parashar wrote to schools that the teachers concerned “are expected to read, discuss and analyze” it. She added that the focus of teachers regarding OTBA content must be to understand its objectives and outcomes.

“They (teachers) should assign this text material to their students in groups for further understanding, analysis and discussion. It is reiterated here that the main objective of introducing OTBA is to relieve the students from the burden of mugging up of content and provide opportunities in acquiring skills of information processing, comprehension, analysis and inference. The teachers should guide them, provide feedback and encourage open responses in solving situations. The text also gives some questions as samples. The teachers should develop more such questions which are based on the given text but require answers through application of concepts, further extrapolation, comparison and inference,” wrote Parashar.

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