In order to wean away students from rote learning, this year the central board of secondary education (CBSE) conducted the Open Text Book Assessment (OTBA) for grades eleven and nine since the second week of February. Depending the response of schools and students, the OBTA may be extended to 12th grade in future.
According to the CBSE, the open book examination has
been introduced to steer students away from rote learning. The
question paper was given with text in the form of reports, articles
or case studies to draw inferences from it. The test items were made
open-ended to apply analytical thinking during OTBA trialling.
My view point is that OTBA, in fact, has
implications for teacher preparation, classroom processes and quality
of teaching. Moreover, by changing the examination system, there are
fewer chances to improve classroom instruction which is matter of
hard work by changing the inertia of teachers. My interaction with
the parents in neighborhood reveals that there is a mixed response to
OTBA, most parents felt that it will promote the private coaching
industry all the more if it gets extended to grades ten and twelve.
As usual, some teachers have started labelling
students as 'weak students' and 'non-thinkers' instead of gearing up
for the appropriate teaching methods. However, the publishing
industry is upbeat that they will publish new volumes of fatter,
thicker and expensive textbooks helping students to 'crack' OTBA.