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Explained: CBSE’s new bifurcated Board exams format and rationalised syllabus

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the CBSE has announced changes to the academic terms, examination schedules and syllabi for students of Class 10 and 12.

Written by Aranya Shankar , Edited by Explained Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: July 6, 2021 3:44:23 pm
cbse new rules, cbse new rules 2021, cbse new rules for session 2021, cbse new rules for session 2021 22Students wearing masks due to the Covid-19 pandemic in New Delhi. (Express Photo: Praveen Khanna, Representational)

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) Monday announced that the academic term for students of Class 10 and 12 will be bifurcated, and two separate exams to be held at the end of the academic year 2021-22. Results of both exams will contribute to the overall final score. The move has been made keeping in mind the Covid pandemic.

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When will the two Board exams be held?

As of now, the CBSE has planned to hold the Term I exams in November-December 2021, and Term II exams in March-April 2022. The format of the two exams will also be different.

Term I exams will have a “flexible schedule” with a “window period of 4-8 weeks for schools situated in different parts of the country and abroad”. “The question paper will have multiple choice questions (MCQ) including case-based MCQs and MCQs on assertion-reasoning type. Duration of the test will be 90 minutes and it will cover only the rationalized syllabus of Term I only (i.e. approx. 50% of the entire syllabus),” CBSE Director (Academics) Joseph Emmanuel said Monday in a circular.

Term II exams will be held at examination centres fixed by the Board. “The paper will be of 2 hours duration and have questions of different formats (case-based/ situation based, open ended- short answer/ long answer type). In case the situation is not conducive for normal descriptive examination, a 90-minute MCQ based exam will be conducted at the end of the Term II also,” said Emmanuel.

What will happen to the syllabus?

The CBSE has said the syllabus for both terms would be “rationalised” like it was done last year when it was reduced by 30%Stu.

“The syllabus for the academic session 2021-22 will be divided into 2 terms by following a systematic approach by looking into the interconnectivity of concepts and topics by the subject experts and the Board will conduct examinations at the end of each term on the basis of the bifurcated syllabus. This is done to increase the probability of having Board-conducted classes X and XII examinations at the end of the academic session,” said Emmanuel.

The CBSE has also said “efforts will be made to make internal assessment/ practical/ project work more credible and valid as per the guidelines and Moderation Policy to be announced by the Board to ensure fair distribution of marks”.

What all will constitute internal assessment?

Students of Classes 9-12 will have to go through internal assessment throughout the year “irrespective of Term I and II”. For students of Classes 9 and 10, internal assessment will include three periodic tests, student enrichment, portfolio and practical work/ speaking listening activities/ project. For students of Classes 11 and 12, it will include end of topic or unit tests/ exploratory activities/ practicals/ projects.

What happens to assessment if Covid strikes again?

Keeping in mind the dynamic situation due to the pandemic, the CBSE has drawn up four possible situations of evaluation.

1. If students are able to sit for both term-end exams, they will be held at schools/centres and the theory marks will be distributed equally between the two exams.

2. In case Term I exams cannot be held at centres and Term II exams are held, then the Term I exams will be held from home” and will be “MCQ based online/offline. The “weightage of this exam for the final score would be reduced, and weightage of Term II exams will be increased for declaration of final result”.

3. If the situation is reversed, and Term I exams are held physically but Term II exams can’t be held due to Covid, the results will be based on the performance of students on Term I MCQ based examination and internal assessments. In this case, the weightage of marks of Term I examination will be increased.

4. In case both term-end exams cannot be conducted, results will be computed on the basis of the internal assessment/practical/project work and theory marks of Term-I and II exams taken by the candidate from home in Class 10 / 12 “subject to the moderation or other measures to ensure validity and reliability of the assessment”.

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