The decision of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to permit students in affiliated schools to omit Class X board exams from 2011 was controversial. Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) format was a part of the school board's idea in revamping the methodology for student evaluation, was condemned for abandoning the academic diligence in a bid to reduce the stress in students.
However, the newly published CBSE report on CCE's years of execution vindicates the decision of the board, finding that the students who skipped the Class X board exams performed better than those who did not, both in terms of highest and average scores. The gross pass percentage of students taking their Class XII board exams also increased by 2 percentage points.
The emphasis now must be laid on the quality of learing at school by the government. The poor performance of school children of our country in the third-party evaluations of learning levels, like Pratham's Annual Status of Education Report (ASER), shows that Indian school system is ill-equipped currently, to decide whether students are learning properly.
The end-of-year examination is rigid and accounts for memorisation and surface-level understanding. As found by ASER, this results in only one in every two students of Class V to be able to read the prescribed textbooks for those three years in their junior term.
Also the CCE structure, which has replaced final examinations and which has a series of ongoing evaluations which should give a continuous insight on needs of each student while maintaining longitudinal records of their performance from Class I to VII, is utterly reliant on the discretion of the instructor.
However, teachers are seldom trained to depict appropriate mechanisms to verify conceptual understanding, or to address individual needs for learning. If government commits to focus on improving the teacher-student interaction,then better learning outcomes will be more enduring.