Board Exams Classes 10 and 12 to be Conducted Twice from 2024 Onwards: Explained


Content Team at Target Publications

 Board Exams Classes 10 and 12 to be Conducted Twice from 2024 Onwards

On August 23, 2023, the Union Education Ministry launched the new curriculum framework for school education in sync with the National Education Policy 2020 (NEP).

According to the new curriculum framework, board exams will be conducted twice a year and students will be allowed to retain the best score. 

Read our previous blog to get a hint of what all of this is about: Board Exams to Be Conducted Twice a Year: India’s New Curriculum Framework

In this blog, we will explain these transformative reforms, focusing on the challenges faced by current board examinations and the proposed changes in Class 10 and Class 12 assessments.

What Are the Challenges in the Current Board Examinations?

Before we get to know about the probable changes, let's first get to know what the reasons were that led to them. The existing board examinations at the culmination of Classes 10 and 12 have long been criticised for their shortcomings. These challenges include:

  1. Rote Memorisation: The current exams tend to prioritise memorising over understanding, resulting in a superficial evaluation of students' knowledge and abilities.
  2. Unclear Marking Schemes: The absence of transparent and standardised marking criteria often leads to subjectivity in grading, compromising the reliability and fairness of the assessment.
  3. Limited Opportunity: Students have only one shot per year to take these high-stakes exams, with no provision for retakes, placing immense pressure on them.

What Are the Proposed Changes?

The proposed changes in Board Examinations NCF 2023 present a comprehensive overhaul of the board examination system:

1. Competency-Based Assessment: Focusing on Skills

Board exams will now focus on assessing competencies outlined in the curriculum, ensuring a valid and reliable evaluation of student performance.

2. Distinct Roles: Ensuring Impartiality

The responsibility of designing the curriculum and articulating competencies lies with academic authorities like NCERT or SCERT, not boards of examination. This separation ensures impartiality.

3. Biannual Examinations: More Chances, Less Pressure

Board exams will be offered at least twice a year to ensure that students get enough time and opportunity to perform well. Students can then appear for Board exams in courses they have completed and feel ready for. This process could be made possible through the creation of a comprehensive test item bank which can be used to create tests using suitable software. This will enable the move towards a system of on-demand examinations in the near future as described in NEP 2020.

4. Rigorous Selection and Training: Elevating Quality

Test developers, reviewers, translators and evaluators will undergo a rigorous selection process and formal university-certified courses on test development. Continuous capacity building will support high-quality test instrument design.

5. Specialised Assessment for Vocational, Arts and Physical Education: Tailoring for Diverse Fields

These areas, with significant practical components, will be assessed differently from traditional subjects, requiring the development of high-quality test instruments.

6. Streamlined Test Development: Clarity and Precision

The process for written exams will be streamlined to ensure clarity and accuracy. This includes creating assessment frameworks, designing blueprints, developing quality test items and conducting rigorous reviews. Streamlining the development of written exams involves several key steps:

  • Assessment Framework: Start by creating a clear assessment framework. This framework outlines what needs to be tested, including competencies, learning outcomes and content areas.
  • Blueprint: Develop a planning document, often called a blueprint, based on the assessment framework. This document includes details such as what competencies, learning outcomes and content areas will be assessed, the format of test questions (like multiple choice or short written answers), test length and scoring methods.
  • Test Item Design: Create high-quality test questions and scoring guides. Test questions can be of two types: Selected Response (e.g., multiple choice, true/false) where students choose the correct answer and Constructed Response where students must provide a written response. Ensure that questions are clear, factually accurate and that distractors (incorrect answer choices) are well-crafted. Consider the use of supporting materials like graphics or illustrations where needed. Scoring guides are crucial for grading consistency.
  • Review: Implement thorough review procedures, such as expert panel reviews, for both the test questions and scoring guides.
  • Quality Assurance: Periodically review and maintain the quality of the test instruments developed.

Other Changes Proposed by NCF 2023

  • Two Compulsory Languages in Classes 11 & 12: Embracing Multilingualism

This change mandates that students in Classes 11 and 12 must study a minimum of two languages, with one of them being an Indian language. This is a move aimed at preserving and promoting Indian languages and encouraging multilingualism among students. It is expected to be implemented starting with the board exams in 2024.

  • Replacement of Science, Arts & Commerce Streams: Expanding Choices

NCF 2023 suggests eliminating the traditional categorization of subjects into science, arts and commerce streams. Instead, it proposes four distinct "groups" of subjects that students can choose from. These groups cover languages, art education, physical education, vocational education, social sciences, interdisciplinary fields, mathematics and science. This change aims to provide students with more flexibility and a broader range of subject choices.

  • Board Exams Will Become Easier: A Breath of Fresh Air

The NCF 2023 calls for a student-friendly approach to board examinations, including the CBSE board exams in 2024 and state board exams. The goal is to assess fundamental concepts and skills across subjects while moving away from memorization-based learning methods. This change is intended to reduce the stress associated with high-stakes exams and promote a more holistic evaluation of students' learning.

  • Replacement of Board Exams in 10 Years: A Vision of Continuous Learning

The NCF 2023 proposes a significant transformation by suggesting the replacement of the current system of annual or biannual board exams with modular exams over the course of 10 years. Modular exams are smaller and more frequent, allowing students to take exams on specific subjects soon after they are taught in class. This approach is designed to promote continuous and effective learning, reduce the pressure of taking large, high-stakes exams and align assessments more closely with classroom learning.

Conclusion: Embracing a Brighter Educational Future

The NCF 2023's proposed changes to board examinations in India mark a significant step towards a more holistic and student-centric evaluation system. These reforms aim to assess competencies accurately, provide students with more opportunities and enhance the quality and fairness of assessments. As India prepares for these transformative changes, students, educators and policymakers can look forward to a brighter future in education.


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