CISCE Stop Assessments for 5th & 8th Standard!

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In a world where autonomy, freedom of choice and creativity are given so much credence, we have a decision to micro manage school curriculum and test children at the tender age of 10yrs.

CISCE (Council for the Indian School Certificate Examination), in a decision made without stakeholder consultation, introduced prescriptive guidelines for teaching from Preschool to Grade 8. This "broad-based syllabus" would then be assessed through student testing in Grade 5 and Grade 8. CISCE states "that these will be a non-threatening diagnostic assessment unrelated to classroom academic scores. The new assessment program will be designed keeping in mind the best global practices to assess and measure the current level of learning of children enrolled in CISCE affiliated schools".

As a parent and key stakeholder in my child's development I have the following concerns:

- Standardisation and the consequent testing are useful for institutions like an Education Board (CISCE) and the Government. They provide regular benchmarks and statistical information on the performance of the children studying in that Board. However this comes at a price. Standardisation does not take into account the individual uniqueness of a child, let alone a homogenous set of children. It presumes a stereotype and only caters to that. It takes away flexibility from the teacher/school and makes finishing the 'syllabus' the primary goal. The joy of learning is lost as the children, teachers and parents are all striving to ensure that the portion is completed and that the results are good.

- Testing in any form called, whether 'Board Exams' or 'non-threatening diagnostic assessments', once in the public domain and made comparative, spell PRESSURE. Children will strive to do better than their peers; parents will strive to enable the children i.e. extra study time and/or tuitions and teachers will strive to perfect the test-taking ability of the child. Precious time will be lost in preparation which could have otherwise been spent in imparting more or better knowledge. Is this the way the Board proposes to lay a "strong learning foundation so that both the ICSE and the ISC Examinations become less demanding and more stress-free for students"? Does the answer lie in early and regular testing? There are examples of regular student assessments by other national boards which have resulted in anxiety and stress for young children. Let us learn from these experiences.

- There is an age appropriateness to testing and many evolved schools have delayed testing for that very reason. Some of the most evolved education systems in the world conduct formal testing only towards the latter part of the student's school life. Are these assessments so critical that we start them at the tender age of 10yrs?

- Furthermore, parents who are lawyers have advised that the attempt by CISCE to impose tests on students in Grade 5 and Grade 8 is contrary to and in violation of The Rights of Children to Free and Compulsory Education Act, 2009, which states that no child shall be required to pass any Board examination till completion of elementary education.

CISCE, standardization leaves no room for flexibility, innovation and creativity in teaching practices. And early testing is NOT a sign of progress! Children deserve a childhood.

Sign my petition and make CISCE stop standardization and assessment tests for 5th and 8th Grade children.



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