“Everybody feels we have done injustice to our student community by this series set pattern. We are doing disservice to the society as it has not served its objective,” Prof Zahoor Ahmad Chatt, chairman JKBOSE said on Tuesday about controversial question series pattern of the board.
He was addressing a one day workshop on “Examination Reforms” with “setting of series based question papers” as theme.
The resource persons from National level institutions like COBSE, NCERT and CBSE also participated in the workshop. The workshop was organized to review the existing system of question paper setting and the various complaints received by BOSE regarding the difficulty level of the question papers in the three paper series in public examinations (class X and Xll).
The workshop was inaugurated by Prof. Zahoor Ahmad Chatt, who stressed that the question paper should test the knowledge, understanding and interpretative capacities of the learners. “The purpose of the examination is not just to promote the learners into higher class but to test their mental growth and intelligence in general.”
He emphasized that the Board shall have to prepare itself on the basis of the recommendations from the academics.
“I am surprised even with the terminology because series means questions will be same, only at different numbers, but here we have three different sets of question paper,” said Zahoor.
He said he contradicts with the objectives with which BOSE had initiated the pattern.
“Are we setting the question paper where we are evaluating the knowledge of students, aptitude level of students, intellectual level of students, or we are just evaluating their cramming power?”
Veena Pandith, secretary JKBOSE asserted there were two primary objectives of introducing this series pattern in 2010. “One was to avoid leakage and other was to avoid copying. But we ourselves are not satisfied with question papers, we need to ponder over.”
She said this year she received many complaints from parents and even mass media highlighted the problem faced by student community. “How could we determine positions when we have given different papers to students?”
She questioned the objectives of this series pattern and said: “Its main objective was to avoid leakage but has it really helped.”
“We will have to evolve consensus whether there will be 1st, 2nd and 3rd position for each series or a complete grading system,” she added.
Prof M C Sharma, Joint Secretary, Council of boards of school education in India, who has worked for 25 years in CBSE explained why CBSE has been successful since 1996 in this series exam pattern.
“We set 9 question papers with three master sets A1 B1 C1, independent of each other. Then A2 is 70 per cent common but 30 per cent different and likewise.”
He suggested there should be rigorous exercise at paper setting level like they do. “Paper sitters sit for 30 days together before final blueprint.”
Most students in Kashmir complaint about the long length of question papers which they are unable to complete within stipulated time.
Sharma asserted, “We take certificate from paper setters whether they themselves can complete that paper within given time or not. When examination is going on, simultaneously our committee is judging blueprint of paper.”
Dr Kumar, a representative of NCERT opined there should be a pilot test before setting papers; board should call few students from different schools. “Give them few questions and see what kind of difficulties they are facing and moderator should notice where improvement is needed?”
Kaneez Fatima, Director Academics JKBOSE said they have identified many areas of priorities of reform and on top of them are question papers.
Prof Fazl Illahi, college of education Srinagar, proposed that JKBOSE should conduct a workshop on Bloom’s taxonomy for paper setters in order to learn how to transform lower order questions to higher order.
Bloom’s taxonomy is a way of distinguishing the fundamental questions within the education system. It refers to a classification of the different learning objectives that educators set for students. It divides educational objectives into three “domains”: cognitive, affective, and psychomotor; sometimes loosely described as “knowing/head”, “feeling/heart” and “doing/hands” respectively. A goal of Bloom’s taxonomy is to motivate educators to focus on all three domains, creating a more holistic form of education.
Fazl suggested there should be cues on question papers regarding terminology of “enumerate, explain, what, describe etc”.
Wahid Iqbal, lecturer at GHSS Magam showed reservations in adopting CBSE patterns and said: “our results will further dip.”
Rafi Masoodi, Ex CEO also opposed adopting CBSE pattern and said: “We can keep three papers but only numbers can be changed, we can jumble questions and can improve student supervisor ratio.”
MK Fazili, Principal GHSS Manigam asserted that three sets of question paper are even difficult for paper setters, it should be reduced to two.”