Monday, 15 July, 2024, Reg No- 06
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Concerns reign over half-yearly evaluation tests in schools

Published : Wednesday, 10 July, 2024 at 12:00 AM  Count : 307

Concerns reign over half-yearly evaluation tests in schools

Concerns reign over half-yearly evaluation tests in schools

The schedule of half-yearly evaluation test witnessed four times change and finally it started since 03 July 2024 with the message of conducting it for four hours for grade six and seven and five hours for grade eight and nine and it will continue till 03 August meaning one-month long test that seems a serious test. Without the involvement  of any education board, NCTB centrally started conducting the evaluation and  the questions created a suspense among the students, guardians and teachers who were fumbling in the dark as how the pattern of question would be and so as soon as questions were sent to respective schools through Naipunna Apps, it got spread across the country in general and in several cities in particular and immediately many individuals and institutions came out publicly with  the solutions drawing  the attention of all concerned and students  in particular who began  searching for the solutions leaving books and study as it happened in the previous examinations. However, NCTB responded to it saying it would not affect anybody as the style of the test would be of different types where there is no scope to write anything from memory. It added, even if the questions really leaked, measures would be taken against the perpetrators but it got repeated the second day also.

Students are asked to get into groups and write down the answers discussing with  the members of the groups. However, no individual presentation was done. According to the plan, students would write down the answers in the written form and then they would give presentations individually to prove their worth and ability in presentation, art of speaking, but it was not done in any school as the number of students in one group register even around hundred though NCTB advised to make a group of twenty students. Schools could not afford to do it because of the paucity of rooms and teachers. As a result, in many schools the examination halls  turned into a fish market.

I spent   a good deal of time in teacher training that taught me that group work is an important activity in the training session and I am sure my colleagues would agree with me. It can be applied sometimes as classroom activity also and the same can be done in a workshop as well. Students can learn how to cooperate with each other, it helps remove their shyness and express themselves, gives scope to learn from each other. However, it has some potential dangers and one of them  is, the domination of the better performers who take the center stage and control everything of the group work marring the prime objectives of putting students into groups. Even then, as classroom and training session activities, group works must be done. However, it cannot be applied  to conduct any examination.

Examination is a serious matter! When students would be put into groups to conduct a test to learn their individual improvement and weakness, their level of understanding a subject, it does not give and cannot give the correct result. That has happened in this evaluation test. One or two better performers of the group did everything which was followed and copied by other students that in no way ascertain the individual performance. Even students used mobiles to get answers, wrote  readymade answers they collected and teachers wrote answers on the board that the students copied. Can we call it a test or evaluation?

The English question of class six goes thus --suppose, you are a member of the reading club at your school. You often meet your classmates to read and discuss books, magazines, newspapers etc. you and your classmates have just finished, reading a newspaper article on `Living Green. You are inspired and have decided to start a green movement. For that you have to complete the following task.

Task-1: Get into groups of four and discuss what you may do to keep your community green. Note down the main points of your discussion. Task-2: For your better understanding, another important article on Going Green is given here. Now read the article individually and complete the activity.

Students are to identify five adjectives and five nouns from the given passage which is set beyond the English textbook of class six. To teach grammar items and taking their tests in this way sound good. Then students are asked to identify one person of their locality to conduct an interview on how to make their area green and write down on the script the area green.

Another poem titled Kindness has also been set outside their text. Thats not bad. Students are supposed to learn about rhyming scheme from the pomes of their text and as examination one poem from outside of the text can be set in the question. The problem is eighty percent or more than that students cannot read the English text, cannot pronounce similar percentage of words from their text and its a common phenomenon with almost all the rural schools and many students of many classes in urban schools as well. In spite of this fact, these students used to manage good grades in the public examination showing a thumb to the quality.

That was the concern of the people in education including the conscious citizens that students are passing but they are not learning anything. And because of these facts, students did not show any kind of interest to come to the class, importance to reading or learning any facts. We had to work a lot on these issues and I have been shouting with this issue for long and expected that the policy makers would do something tangible and reasonable.

However, we saw new curriculum came with the promise to remove the examination fear of the students, they would learn through fun and cooperation and without just memorizing any questions. With many more positive points it saw its implementation and we hoped now students would try to learn the facts of subjects, and learn really with enthusiastic mind. We also saw  how their performance would be assessed was not transparent and the teachers, students and guardian have been in the dark for this one a half year. However, finally we came to learn that 65 percent would be or written test and 35 percent would be performance based such as presentation, group work, assignment and project work though the curriculum people had been dead against any kind of formal written test since the inception.

When the half-yearly evaluation began on 03 July, we found that no such performance was checked. I mean the students in the previous curriculum could not express themselves, did not know how to cooperate with each other, did not know the art of speaking and could not express the conceptual clarity of the subject they read in most of the cases. This curriculum has come to redress these issues. But paradoxically, 65 marks written test was not taken as was expected,  and students performance was not checked, that means, their presentation was not observed. At least the students of grade nine who are going to sit for SSC examination should have shown their performance. But it was not done, no direction of such type wasprovided  throwing the teachers, students and guardians again in the dark!

The writer is a President- English Teachers Association of Bangladesh ( ETAB)

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