In this edition we bring you more excerpts from the Brainstorming Session on CCE that we organized at IIC on 30 October 2010.
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- Ms Goldy Malhotra — Is CCE stress-free learning for children & a boon for teachers?
- Ms Sangeeta Sheel — Is CCE a boon for teachers?
- Ms Richa Sood — Parents’ Response on CCE
- Ms Rina Singh — On understanding the implementation of CCE
- Ms Ameeta Mulla Wattal, Principal, Springdales School, Pusa Road, New Delhi, Resource Person for (NCERT) and (CBSE), National University of Educational Planning and Administration (NUEPA)
- Rev Br L D Lobo, Principal, St Columba’s School, New Delhi.
- Ms Suman Nath, Principal, Tagore International School, East of Kailash, New Delhi.
- Ms Nina Sehgal, Director, Delhi Public School, Vasant Kunj, New Delhi.
- Ms Goldy Malhotra, Principal, Modern School, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi.
- Dr Ruchi Seth, Principal, Delhi Public School, Sushant Lok, New Delhi.
- Ms Sangeeta Sheel, Headmistress, St Columba’s School, New Delhi.
- Ms Richa Sood, Principal, Dehradun Public School, Ghaziabad.
- Ms Rina Singh, Principal, Gargi Girls School, Meerut.
There is no examination phobia, but the stress has shifted from one aspect to the other. Earlier there was stress about the last day’s preparation, now there are different kinds of stresses.
Earlier too the teachers worked hard, but no matter how brilliant they were, they were ignoring certain factors because the evaluation system was different but now every child is being observed very minutely. Here the stress is of a different kind. The child has become conscious that he/she may be observed for small little things also.
We never had a system where we had to sit down every day, and have this kind of continuity. Now children who are not of that temperament, for them it might be stressful to have this kind of continuity. However, from the evaluation point of view it is extremely helpful.
There is stress on those students who do not come forward to take part in any thing. They are good at writing, they are good at reading, but they are not good at dancing, not good in the performing arts but now, they will have different kinds of stress, so we will have to guide them out of that stress.
One problem which we have initially faced is that there are retests. Suppose earlier if a child could not appear in an exam, the child who had a medical certificate was given the average at the end of the year. There was no need for him to appear again for the test. But now CCE says you have to test the child again.
The achievers have always wanted to get good marks. Now they are slightly disheartened, they are under stress that they are bracketed under the top level 85% or onwards. So some kind of motivation is needed for those students, because they may not be good in other activities. There are many students who may appreciate the arts yet may not be participating. These are brilliant children, they get 90% and above. They are under some kind of stress and they may say that we are not being recognized in our own sphere.
CCE is wonderful in principle, but is it meant for a class of 40? We have not been able to implement fully in a class of 40–45 – No! 20, yes! You give me 20 students individually, and I will give you excellent results.
From the teachers’ point of view it is a boon. They are far more systematic now and they are not going to ignore any student and they are going to study each and every student in detail. No child is going unnoticed and they are sharing a lot with their colleagues, which is wonderful interaction and there is division of work.
Yet at the same time, it has become a little burdensome. It has become clerical and time-consuming. I think they need to learn a little more, they need many more workshops and maybe some software needs to be prepared to facilitate their report-card-making.
I’d like to begin with a thought – I would say that, it is not because things are difficult that we do not dare – it is because we do not dare that things are difficult. Is it a boon? A boon for the teacher? Well, I would say that it is all so inchoate that it is difficult to take a judgement call. But from what I have experienced myself, and we have been involved with it for a number of years, almost two years, and not just with the 9th and 10th. I had implemented CCE right from Class 4 to 10. We cannot have CCE unless we change the mindset right across, from the parents, to the children and us together.
The boon is in the long term. In the long term, maybe down the line, when they see the result, when the children are really opening up and we are in a comfort zones then it will be a boon. Presently, teachers are under stress. How much of training? What areas do they need to be trained in? Changing their mindset, to moving on how do we assess them? We have to strike a balance, saying we can do this much and no more. Or we may take one small step at a time. We are constrained because of our software or getting our reports going, and at the end of day it has to be a win – win situation!
How are parents responding to CCE? In my opinion there are six categories of parents (from my experience of meeting parents in the school.)
- Educated and connected parents
- Literate and attentive parents
- Parents of first generation learners
- Educated and busy parents
- Semi-literate and unaware parents
- Illiterate parents
The first category – parents who are educated and thoroughly connected with their children have a positive frame of mind. They display a welcoming response to CCE. They understand the positives and even appreciate, the continuous and comprehensive evaluation of the students.
The second category is of educated but busy parents who are not able to take time out of their busy schedules due to their jobs. They show a 50-50 response to CCE. They understand the system, but they want the Board’s help for their children so that they secure good marks in the exams and stay pressure free.
The third category of parents are literate and attentive. They understand the meaning of education and literacy. They want board exams for their children – they generally belong to the middle class who think in the manner that their child will become stronger and will be ready to face challenges in life.
Even though the fourth category of parents are semi-literate and unaware, they also want the same – they want board exams to be conducted for the students. They also feel that board exams are the foundation for their children becoming stronger to face life’s challenges.
A maximum number of parents in India are from the third and fourth category, and their children face the maximum challenges in life.
The fifth and the last category comprise of first generation learners and illiterate parents and they think as long as the board was in control they children would succeed in life.
When CCE was introduced I was one of the happiest persons as I have been the victim of seeing teachers and educators getting disillusioned with children by the time they come to class 9.
I firmly believe in CCE. It is very important that the leader of the school must believe in the system. I converted that into a small flowchart of one page. Different stakeholders of the school have to be kept in mind before the implementation of any system. First and foremost, I would say, it is the management of your school. The board results are the criterion for deciding which school will be good. So, we have to convince the management that despite the fact that there will be no examination in Class 10 our school can still be unique, different and good.
The second is definitely the teachers, the second important stakeholders – and as I said, my flowchart made them start a conversation. CBSE has given us a wide framework but that does not mean that we cannot customize it as per our local requirements Assessment is an integral part of getting feedback about the teacher-learner transaction in the classroom and whether the teacher had been effective in teaching. It is a kind of testing of the teacher too. Unless you get feedback from the children, you do not know if the classroom transaction has happened properly. So, the concept-assessment chapter-wise, has to be explained to the teachers.
Also, to make life easy for the teachers, believe me, the administrative office sat down to discuss how the documentation and record-keeping business can be shortened.
We integrated Information Technology (IT) a lot. Help Tasks where teachers can go back home and through software could record, and the marks would be automatically converted into grades. Then only could they concentrate on the lesson and teaching actually.
Then there are the students. Classroom conversations have to begin after the workshops. Students need to be told transparently that you are also a part of the assessment system. The concept of self-assessment has to be inculcated in the minds of the students. Then obviously the parents. Apart from the workshops we used IT, we used the SMS system, mailing system, to keep parents updated on what was happening. Not only at the end of the term, but constantly. We discouraged students from making charts, surveys and projects at home, and informed the parents that these were meant to be done in the school. We tried to remove all fears from the parents’ minds and organized numerous coffee mornings class-wise to dispel their fears and to address whatever issues they had. All this needs to be consolidated before the implementation of CCE.
Don’t you think the parameters for measurements are intangible and subjective? How can we make them objective and tangible?
Ms Suman Nath: Just like at home, we have to extend a set of values and attitudes to the school which every child must follow. So there should be some basic values that we may want the children to follow which may differ from other schools.
Dr Ruchi Seth: As teachers, we need to be less subjective and more objective. Change in the mindset is what is most important. We really need to learn this! It is difficult, and I agree there are many overlapping criteria and some of these descriptive indicators are ambiguous. So, if we can be objective a lot of problems will be solved.
Ms Himani Jain: We can just convert these suggested indicators to a five-point scale according to our convenience and reduce the subjectivity.
Ms Homi Astavan: Salwan Public School
How many retests should be there and how long? Is it really serious? How do the children take it?
Ms Suman Nath: The schools should take a call on this as there is no set rule. As for the Formative Assessment, we are supposed to take it again and again. A child who is an A grader will remain an A grader even if he is absent once. But the Summative Assessment is up to the school. We are not going to give a retest on Summative I as it will give a chance to children to not come for the test, and take the test again. We have left it at that, and the average of SA 1 can be taken from SA 2.
Dr Ruchi Seth: Can we not do moderation at our own level? We can allow the borderline cases to come to a higher level and get a D grade instead of an E grade. Instead of having to go through the whole system of retesting which also means that the responsibility of remediation lies on you then you give easier tests to make sure the child passes, so better to moderate at the first level itself.
Ms Mansi Ansa: Sardar Patel School
In life we always have failures and success, unless we work hard enough we cannot succeed. So why do we keep pushing children, giving them a false sense of hope? You have to work for success, that’s the way life is, why do we keep pushing children, giving them retests, giving them the false impression that all is hunky dory when they go out in life it’s not going to be like that.
Ms Ameeta Wattal: I think the whole issue is not about success, it is about a child who is fourteen years old, being able to cope with the school system. We are not looking at schools like mine or yours – we are looking at India. Keeping a child back has never been the answer to learning.
Dr Ruchi Seth: There’s a very heavy emotional cost when you make the child stay back, so you must try to help the child go to the next level, not push him, but help him, by interventions, remediation, emotional support, or parental cooperation.
Ms Goldy Malhotra: Is all this not about learning? The child is not preparing to sit for an exam. We are teaching the child so that he learns. We equip the child. This in fact, is not the test of the student, it is the test of the teacher. Evaluation is about saying that my teaching has been successful and now the student is equipped to move on.
Ms Deepa Narula: Shiv Vani School, Dwarka
Some software needs to be developed to facilitate teachers keep records. What is the general consensus on the software which is available and are schools doing it on their own or through agents?
Ms Ameeta Wattal: There are different software, like the one we are using, but we’ve asked for it to be customized. But yes, teachers cannot function without software.
Ms Nina Sehgal: I haven’t found any software yet which suits my need. Actually, the risk is that teachers may not apply their minds and may automatically slot children in grades in a mechanical way in statements made in predefined software modes. I haven’t yet come to a conclusion about the software. Currently, we are struggling with individual assessments.
Ms Suman Nath: It should be need based. We have put the formative assessments, value points, etc. on our website for the benefit of parents as well as teachers.
Ms Renu Srivastava: St Teresa School, Indirapuram
Can we do all formative assessment tasks without pen-and-paper tests, based absolutely on activities?
Ms Ameeta Wattal: One formative pen-and-paper assessment test is necessary, but it depends on how you want to devise it. Now even our science practicals will not be a part of formative assessment.
How will the scholastic and co-scholastic grades help children decide their subject streams in IX Class XI? How much weightage for co-scholastic and so on?
Ms Ameeta Wattal: CBSE has categorically stated that the High Court also says that we cannot take a seat from a child but the streams can be done by the school as we were doing earlier. You have the GPA (GP Average) in your hands. I am not doing the Aptitude in my school. It can become complicated. They may take the test but their aptitude is not going to affect my stream selection.
Ms Sumiti Anand: Gyan Mandir Public School
If a child wants to appear in the board exam is it necessary for him to appear in Summative Assessment 2?
Ms Ameeta Wattal: Board exams will only be taken by a child who is moving from one board to another board. They have given it to you in writing that they are moving out to another board. If they later say they want to come back to you then tell them they may or may not get it as it will be given on merit now. By and large make it clear to the parent community in your PTAs that you can only take the board if you are moving out of the board system.
Will the timing of SA 2 and the board exam be the same?
Ms Ameeta Wattal: Yes, it will and if a child does not take the board, the certificate by CBSE is going to be exactly the same.
Ms Teena Goel: St Peter’s School, Vikaspuri
We got a revised report card recently with a circular which says that the score/grades of co-scholastic areas can be upgraded with scholastic areas. Can this be done?
Ms Suman Nath: When you grade the co-scholastic, they have points. When you add up all the points, they have given us a range. So, when we found some children did not do well in the scholastic areas, we looked into their co-scholastic grades. Generally, we found a very interesting co-relation the children who did not do well in scholastic areas also did not do well in co-scholastic areas. What came to my mind was that if children work in their co-scholastic areas, they will definitely do very well in their scholastic areas also.
Ms Meenakshi Chopra: Balwantray Mehta School
How can CCE help children with special needs? Can Summative Assessment be modified for those children?
Ms Ameeta Wattal: Absolutely! It has to be modified! Not only for challenged children but in my own school. I’ve got three levels of assessments. ‘A’ child may not have the same learning capabilities as ‘B’ child but an ‘A’ child can get ‘A’ within his own self.
Ms Nina Sehgal: It provides a certain kind of flexibility in the system for children who are not able to cope with conventional and traditional ways of learning. We must keep in mind that we want all children, regardless of their learning abilities (unless they are really challenged) but we want all children coming from all social backgrounds and all kinds of learning abilities, to attain a certain level of learning so that they may become independent earners of their livelihood. I think any system that says that either you do this or you have no way forward, closes all doors, can be very damaging to a lot of people, because for one reason or another, there will be some children who will not be able to cope with that written exam so what happens to those children who after repeated attempts, are not able to attain that. The closing of all doors and the closing of opportunities is a terrible thing to happen to anyone.
Does CCE provide any flexibility about the syllabus to be covered within a particular time frame?
There are many things the schools need to take a call on. What schools can do is that the school can decide what percentage of the syllabus is required to be taught and learned, acquired and tested, in a conventional way. Schools can also reduce the amount and quantum of things children need to memorize. If we can do that, I think we would have achieved the purpose.
Ms Sangeeta Sheel: St Columba’s School. What we are doing is exactly like what Mrs Sehgal just said. We have an enrichment centre in my school and we have children who are dyslexic, they have special disabilities and they have learning gaps. We have special syllabus.
Mr Sanjeev Kumar Jolly: Maxfort School, Rohini
Many principals were struggling to complete the curriculum before the boards. What do we do now when the content and syllabus is the same but we have different things to do? The desire to excel is lost in children: the child who aimed to get 99% or school first in class. Does CCE compromise with the fact that we are not going to produce children now who want to go beyond their levels?
Ms Ameeta Wattal: I have a huge issue about this Mr Jolly. Till last year we had schools across the country where children between the ages of fourteen and sixteen were wrapped around those five text books, would not enter libraries, they would not take part in programmes, and I am not talking about some influential Delhi schools here, I am talking about the rest of the country because that’s all we are. Even within ourselves there were children who were perpetually with coaching centres and so on. Now we’ve been given so much space to do so many wonderful things with children, I mean we don’t have to just knock off after October. We can go all the way to March. There’s so much time on our hands, to transact with content. Having said that, what are we talking about the whole issue of excelling? Are we saying that excelling means that I have to be much better than Ms Goldy Malhotra? No, I have to be better than who I am, bette! r than myself. Ms Malhotra here or any other colleague of mine have their own level of excellence, but if I am constantly aspiring towards outdoing them, I will lose myself.. causing angst within me. And it is this angst, this public posting of marks which has done terrible damage to our children’s psyche. We’ve had suicidal situations. It is a sociological disaster!. . .
Dr Ruchi Seth: You see the high achievers, where does the motivation come from? From within. There are two types – one who are motivated from within, and the others who are motivated by external sources. The high achievers usually are from within. Now the pressures are so tremendous and if they can’t cope with that pressure, if they are pushing themselves for that every ½ mark. And that’s where grades are reducing that pressure, because you are not pushing them for that half-mark and that’s where suicides are happening. The vagueness has helped in reducing that high point of tremendous pressure.
Ms Ameeta Wattal
There cannot be an exact one overview of such a wonderful churning session. Thank you every one for sharing your views. After thanking Ratna Sagar, I want to end with Buddha, the Sakhyamuni’s short story. Once it happened that in the Sangha of Buddha, one of his pupils or students was against him just like our children who are very restless. He wanted to make Buddha look small and foolish in front of others. So, he planned to fool the Buddha by keeping a live insect in his hand and ask Buddha if it was alive or dead. If the Buddha said it is dead, then he would show him the alive insect and if Buddha said it’s alive, then he would crush the insect and show the Sangha the dead insect and thus prove Buddha wrong. The next day in the Sangha the student asked exactly the same question to Buddha. After a lot of thinking the Sakhyamuni answered, “it’s in your hands”
So, CCE and its transactions is in our hands, it depends on us. Thank you and God Bless us all as we definitely need His blessings to do wonders with the CCE system!
CCE and its transaction depends on you, and I want to thank Ratna Sagar for this wonderful sharing. And I want to thank all my wonderful colleagues whom I have tremendous respect for. Thank you all and God bless you all because I know we all need the blessings of our teacher family. Thanks a lot.
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You can also read and discuss these at our blog http://discuss.ratnasagar.com
- Unravelling CCE: A Brainstorming Session on CCE Part 2, Feb 2011
- Unravelling CCE: A Brainstorming Session on CCE Part 1, Jan 2011
- CCE4U: A Principal’s Experience, Dec 2010
- CCE4U: Dealing with Concerns, Oct 2010
- CCE4U: Formative Assessment — Facilitation vs Teaching, Sep 2010
- CCE4U: The Integrated Approach, Aug 2010
- CCE4U: May we help you? Jul 2010