Open Book Exam (Representational pic)
Open Book Exam (Representational pic)

Indore: Even as schools in Madhya Pradesh are closed for offline classes, they must keep up with the schedule. While the first challenge is teaching, a bigger challenge is assessment.

As per academic schedule, half-yearly examinations are to be conducted in all the government and private schools. Unusual times, call for unusual measures. Hence, for the first, examinations of Madhya Pradesh Board of Secondary Education (MPBSE) will be held in ‘Open Book’ format.

School education department issued instructions to all the school's instructors and asked them to prepare for half-yearly examination. Teachers need to prepare unique test papers for conducting half-yearly examination in open book method and submit them.

Following the instructions of the Central Government, children of 9th to 12th schools can attend school for taking guidance from teachers in the morning session.

Permission of parents for students to attend schools for doubt clarification is mandatory. Although schools are opening and the staff is also coming to the school, teaching and assessment is still a challenge for schools.

What is an Open Book examination?

An ‘open book examination’ is an assessment method designed in a way that allows students to refer to either class notes and summaries or memory aid, textbooks, or other approved material while answering questions. An open book exam can also mean that students are provided with the exam questions prior to sitting the formal exam or are to complete as a ‘take home’ exam.

A challenge for teachers

The main difficulty is which many teachers are facing is setting the paper. The test paper should require students to apply their knowledge through analysis and critical thinking.

“Questions in open book exams need to be devised to assess the interpretation and application of knowledge, comprehension skills, and critical thinking skills rather than only knowledge recall,” Sunanda Yadav, principal of a private MP board school, said.

The objective of an open book exam is to assess the learner’s ability to interpret the question, sift through their concepts, and

· interpret some aspect from the text,

· apply the understanding to a context,

· generate a new idea from input given in the text.

“Until now, we have been asking students about what they learnt, now we have to re-design our test papers in a way that students have to explain what they understood and its applications,” Yadav said.

Time to change teaching technique

Further, in order to ensure that students are able to attempt such test papers, a different approach of teaching will be required. An educationist Dr Sonali Bhattacharyya said, “We must now apply Socratic questioning technique, which is an excellent classroom teaching strategy, it is effective as a testing strategy too.” She added that the technique trains students on the following parameters:

· provide clarifications,

· probe assumptions,

· give reason and evidence,

· locate source,

· predict implications and consequences, and

· search for viewpoints and opinions.

Important Note: Test items for an open book exam could be short or long. A good way to check for concept internalization would be to design questions that require problem solving through the application of existing concepts and you have an opportunity to see the step by step process that the learner uses.

(To download our E-paper please click here. The publishers permit sharing of the paper's PDF on WhatsApp and other social media platforms.)

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