New Curriculum Framework: 5 ways board exams will change from 2024

    The new National Curriculum Framework (NCF 2023) envisions major changes in state and CBSE board exams from 2024 and beyond.

    The National Curriculum Framework for School Education (NCF) 2023, released by the education ministry on Wednesday, requires major changes in how board exams are held across school boards including state agencies and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) from 2024.

    These include holding board exams twice a year, doing away with streams such as science, commerce and humanities, specifying how board exams should evolve in the next 10 years, and making exams easier from board exam 2024.

    According to the new National Curriculum Framework 2023, the changes are being introduced to “eliminate the need for studying large amounts of material at once” thereby “reducing the need for coaching”. The board examinations will primarily aim to assess understanding and achievement of competencies rather than months of coaching and memorisation, the NCF said.

    The top five changes proposed in the NCF 2023 are listed below.

    Board exams twice a year

    The National Curriculum Framework 2023 has proposed that all school boards should hold board exams twice a year. This means that students will be able to appear in board exams such as the CBSE board exam 2024 twice a year. Although board exams are to be held twice a year, the best score of the students will be taken as the final score from board exam 2024..

    “To further eliminate the ‘high stakes’ aspect of board examinations, all students will be allowed to take board examinations on at least two occasions during any given school year, with only the best score being retained,” the NCF says.

    The NCF states that the way board examinations are currently held, underperformance on one day can severely affect board examination results since these examinations are held only once in a year. Holding two board exams in a year will give the students the opportunity to improve their score.

    Syllabus change: Two compulsory languages in Classes 11, 12

    The new curriculum framework has mandated that all students of Classes 11 and 12 should study at least two languages, including one Indian language, compulsorily. At present, students can select only one language.

    NCF 2023 also says that this option should be made available immediately to students starting from board exam 2024.

    “Schools and examinations boards should be prepared to offer a minimum of two languages for Classes 11 and 12 from the beginning of the implementation of this NCF,” it says.

    Science, arts and commerce streams to be replaced

    The NCF has proposed to do away with rigid classification of subjects through streams such as science, arts and commerce. These streams will now be replaced by four “groups” of subjects which students can pick from.

    Group 1 is languages. Group 2 consists of art education, physical education and vocational education. Group 3 has social science and interdisciplinary areas. Group 4 has mathematics and science.

    Class 12 students will need to pick two languages from group 1 and then choose four subjects from at least two of the groups from group 2 to group 4. Subjects in group 2 – arts education, physical education and vocational education – will have local assessments instead of central assessments.

    The NCF also said that schools should be prepared to offer subjects from at least two groups amongst groups 2, 3, and 4 immediately. Within five years, schools should be ready to offer subjects from all four groups. Within 10 years, schools should offer many more subjects covering all curricular areas, and students should study subjects across all four groups.

    Board exams will become easier

    The NCF 2023 says that all board examinations, including CBSE board exam 2024 and state board exams such as those by the Rajasthan board, Uttar Pradesh board, and others, should strive to make board exams easier for students.

    This, according to the education policy, should be done by testing basic concepts and competencies across subjects without “any compromise on assessing genuine learning”. According to the new curriculum framework, this is done to move away from rote learning.

    NCF also proposes that all school boards move on from an annual system to a semester system.

    “The current system of study in annual and two-year patterns should move to a semester and/or annual design. This would allow for greater flexibility in the design of courses as well as course options for students,” it said.

    Board exams to be replaced in 10 years

    The National Curriculum Framework 2023 also proposed that the board exams, whether they are held annually or twice a year, should be replaced by ‘modular exams’ in 10 years. Modular exams allow students to take exams on a subject soon after it is taken in the class.

    Over the next 10 years, annual or biannual board exams will be replaced by “modular exams”. Students will be tested on a topic soon after studying it in class.

    NCF also said that all school boards should eventually offer ‘on demand’ exams wherein students will be able to take the exams on a particular subject whenever they are ready. The final marks will be based on cumulative results. NCF proposes the creation of competent assessment tools to make this process easier.

    “The mode of conducting examinations should be liberalised in due course from the rigid annual examinations. Modular Examinations can be offered by boards as opposed to a single examination at the end of the year. These can be offered at different times of the year. In due course, examination boards should develop capacities to offer ‘on demand’ examinations. The final certification will be based on the cumulative result of each of the examinations,” the NCF 2023 says.


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