Students to be promoted without conducting regular examinationsExperts say the pandemic could be taken as an opportunity to improve the assessment system.
School students will not need to take the usual examinations this academic year to be promoted to the higher grade.
The Curriculum Development Centre has asked the schools and teachers to follow the continuous assessment approach and test the practical knowledge of students, rather than using the traditional examination format. As virtual learning has replaced in-person classroom study due to Covid-19, the centre says there will be changes in the evaluation process as well.
Under continuous assessment, teachers will evaluate the day-to-day performance of students and rate them based on their overall performance in the entire academic year. Under practical assessment, students will be asked what life skills they have learnt. For instance, a student can explain how a particular crop is cultivated or how Covid-19 has affected the economic and social aspects of their family.
“We need a departure from regular three-hour tests to promote students,” said Ganesh Bhattarai, director at the centre. “Teachers shouldn’t be limited to evaluating the knowledge of students and how well they can comprehend their curricula.”
Bhattarai said unlike in the past, students’ evaluation will be done only twice—in mid-December and in mid-April next year—before students are promoted to the higher grade. Two terminal and one final examinations are held, in normal conditions, to promote students.
The new testing modality, however, will not apply to students from grades 8 and 10. “There will be standardised tests following the usual grid for grade 8 and 10 students. The new format will be applicable only for other grades,” he said.
The respective local governments conduct the examinations for grade 8 while the Office of the Controller of Examinations holds the Secondary Education Examinations.
The decision from the centre comes at a time when most of the private schools have already conducted their first terminal examinations online. Government officials, however, say the schools are free to hold the tests in the usual formats if it is feasible for them.
The new rules will mostly apply to the students from public schools, most of which are still struggling to commence teaching-learning activities. Among seven million students, over five million are enrolled in the around 29,000 public schools across the country.
The government claims that the students have been provided with various platforms for virtual learning. However, reports suggest that a majority of the students are not engaged in teaching-learning activities due to the pandemic. The Education Ministry has already reduced the curricula by 30 percent to complete the current academic session by the usual time, mid-April.
Education experts say it is a right move to promote students based on continuous assessment and after evaluating their practical knowledge. Besides, they argue it’s time to start open book evaluation rather than sticking to the traditional format.
“The pandemic could be an opportunity for a shift in our evaluation process, which prioritises rote learning,” said Binay Kusiyait, a professor at Tribhuvan University. “It is necessary for the evaluation process to test the practical knowledge our children have, which is useful for their entire lives.”
Kusiyait says the students could be given project work and be evaluated on how innovatively they complete it. The new evaluation model could be adopted even during the normal times, he suggested. “However, there is a need to train our teachers first.”