CBSE plans open book exams for Classes 9 to 12; pilot test on six subjects in November

    CBSE will design and review open book tests for English, mathematics, science and biology subjects by June 2024.


    The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has proposed open book exams for students of Classes 9 to 12 for six subjects. A pilot test will be conducted in schools in November this year to check the effectiveness of the open book assessment. The decision was taken by the board members in a governing body meeting held in December last year.

    As a first step, the open book tests will be prepared for subjects including English, science, and mathematics for Classes 9 to 10 and English, mathematics, and biology for Classes 11, 12.

    The recommendations of conducting open book tests for higher secondary classes were given in the National Curriculum Framework for School Education (NCFSE) 2023. The pilot test will be held to examine the time taken by students, and whether the type of assessment will be suitable for formative or summative assessments. The perceptions of students, parents, teachers, and others concerned regarding the conduct of an open book exam for school students will also be evaluated.

    Based on the outcomes of the pilot test, the board will take the decision to use open book exams for assessment of students for the secondary stage, the minutes of the meeting said.

    CBSE will complete the process of designing, developing and reviewing the open book tests for the mentioned subjects in June this year, as per the meeting. And the pilot run of the prepared materials will be held in schools in the months of November-December 2024.

    CBSE assessment strategy, OBE content

    During the meeting, the director of academic assessments said that the board plans to develop a content for OBE which focuses on higher-order thinking skills, application, analysis, critical thinking, creativity, and problem-solving.

    Professor Radhey Shyam gave a proposal of having teachers take the open book exams first while professor Jyoti Sharma suggested referring to Advanced Placement (AP) exams held in the United States for preparing the tests.

    In an open book exam, students are allowed to answer questions with the help of textbooks and approved materials. Delhi University (DU), Banaras Hindu University (BHU) are some of the educational institutions which conduct OBE assessment for semester exams. CBSE will consult with DU regarding the challenges of open book exams, it was told in the meeting.

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