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Amid pandemic, Delhi schools gear up to conduct pre-board exams online

Now, with the possibility of conducting pre-boards online as well, schools have two primary concerns: giving students the practice of writing the exam with the complete syllabus and ensuring no unfair means are used

Written by Sukrita Baruah | New Delhi | Updated: November 26, 2020 9:24:31 am
In pre-board exams, schools try to simulate the experience of writing board exams to give students the practice they require.

With the Delhi government suggesting that schools in the capital will not open any time soon, and with no notification yet from CBSE about changes in the 2021 board exam schedule, Delhi-NCR schools are gearing up to conduct pre-board examinations for Class X and XII students.

For these students, this entire academic year has been conducted online.

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In pre-board exams, schools try to simulate the experience of writing board exams to give students the practice they require. Now, with the possibility of conducting pre-boards online as well, schools have two primary concerns: giving students the practice of writing the exam with the complete syllabus and ensuring no unfair means are used.

Several schools said they had hoped to conduct pre-boards offline but this now seems unlikely, especially in Delhi where Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia said Tuesday that city schools are likely to remain closed till a vaccine is available.

“Earlier, we had hoped to conduct the pre-boards offline by getting board-class students to appear for the exam in small numbers at the school. But it seems unlikely now, so we have decided to conduct the exam online. Most board papers are 80-mark exams, and we want to give students the practice of writing the whole paper. But we also want to make the experience simpler for them. So, we have decided to divide each paper into two parts, so students can write and submit both parts in one day with an interval in between, or on two separate days. This will make the logistics of converting the photos of their answers into PDFs and submitting them easier, and make evaluation less stressful for teachers,” said Rashmi Biswal, principal, DAV Public School, Pushpanjali Vihar.

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In their first attempt at conducting online exams, Biswal said they found it difficult to check unfair practices. “We require students to keep their webcams on during the exam. We encourage the use of two devices — one to download and refer to the question paper and the other in which the camera can be on continuously to monitor. Of course, two devices may not be possible for all students,” she said.

A Class XII student at Indraprastha International School, Dwarka, said she has found it easier to use two devices. “There are some students who have been giving their exams with mobile phones. So every time they need to open the question paper on their phones, the camera goes off. The teachers tried to ask students to avoid that but they can’t implement it,” the student said.

Some schools have tried to take the invigilation further. A student at a prominent NCR school said they will also need to keep a mirror behind them so that the camera captures more angles.

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Other schools are trying different ways to get a clear assessment. “We still hope to conduct pre-boards offline later, but we will hold mid-terms in December. Our board students will be writing three-and-a-half-hour exams, but we cannot force them to keep their cameras on if they say they cannot. So, we will also be conducting oral exams for an honest assessment,” said Minakshi Kushwaha, principal, Birla Vidya Niketan.

In NCR cities of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh, where the governments have permitted schools to reopen for senior students, schools are still more hopeful of conducting the exams offline. However, in Haryana they were closed again after a rise in cases.

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