Tuesday, September 15, 2009

How to Prepare for Exams?

Exams can be a dreaded word, especially if you’re teaching to high school students. Students’ notion of exam is memorization, comprehension and pressure. So this time around, aside from teaching them lessons that they will be quizzed on, why not impart several nuggets of wisdom on how to prepare for exams? After all, exams do not end in high school. And the better adjusted they are to the concept of exams, the better the grades they’ll get.

Set realistic expectations and goals
Not everyone is an honor student, so expecting to jump a year level or two overnight is just a road to disappointment. Improving grades by doing well on exams should be set over a realistic time period. This way, the student is in control and is motivated.

Goals can be set with to-do lists, priority lists, notes on monthly calendars. But the fact that students have goals will not be worth anything if they are not achieved. Try to get them to write their goals in these broad categories: career, family, health, finances, intellectual, and hobbies, among others. This way, all the things they do can fall into one big picture.

Take a break
In Stephen Covey's book “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People”, he wrote that people should sharpen their saws. It refers to a story of someone meeting a guy in the woods trying to cut down a tree with a saw. The guy asked the woodcutter to take a break and sharpen the saw so it would go faster, but the woodcutter replied that he had been cutting for five hours. He didn’t have time to sharpen his saw!

Stress gets relieved with exercise, when the body gets an influx of endorphins. In order to stay motivated and alert, students should do enjoyable exercises, get proper rest and eat properly. This could also serve as the much-needed break of the mind and body from stressful situations (like cramming for exams). Taking time to recharge physically and emotionally increases productivity.

Prepare in advance
Cramming is not the answer to most exams, and so does the myth that facts stick easier to the brain if studying is done on the day of the exam. Preparing in advance is much more effective, and makes the student more confident in taking the exam. This is because there was time allotted for background research, perusal the school’s exam databases for past exams on the subject, and total comprehension of the issues raised in the lessons.

Get rid of barriers
The biggest barrier is procrastination, and the best way to overcome it is the “Swiss Cheese Method.” It means dividing things to do into smaller chunks (ex. 15 minute tasks) with rewards at the end of the task. This helps students and even you to focus on one issue at a time.

The next biggest barrier is interruptions. If there are phone calls, visits and other problems to deal with, just leave the premises, and fit them into another schedule. Lastly, the third barrier is stress. Did you know that 75% of all worries never happen, but stressing over them can waste so many hours?

The best way to get rid of these barriers is to manage time properly. Make it into a habit, and see the concrete improvements in the students’ academic and overall performance.

Nurture yourself
Nurture the greatest asset your students have—themselves. To be an effective student, an effective time manager, they should enhance not just the physical and mental dimensions of their lives, but also the social/emotional and the spiritual.

Light reading is better than watching television, as it integrates academic issues into real life situations. Develop good communication with friends and family. Engage into activities and pursuits that can make students find out more about themselves. Discover spirituality so there will be a core in their lives.

These things, if taken seriously, can be beneficial to students in the long run. Achievement does not come with just a snap of the fingers. So never give up!

Monday, September 7, 2009

CBSE's New Grading Sysatem for class X


With Board exams being made optional from the academic year 2010-11, a new system of evaluation – Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) – based on grades has been approved. It comprises formative and summative assessment of the student to be done over two terms – first and second -during the year-long academic calendar.

Summative Assessment Based on the term-end examination
1) There will be two evaluations each in the first and second terms.
2) Each evaluation will carry 10 marks apiece.

Formative Assessment To evaluate and grade class work, homework, assignment and project work
1) There will be one term-end exam for each term.
2) The first term-end exam will carry 20 marks.
3) The second term-end exam will carry 40 marks.

EVALUATIONStudents of class IX and X will be evaluated on a 9-point grading system. Each grade, given on the basis of both formative and summative assessments, will correspond to a range of marks as indicated below:
A1 95 and above
A2 90 to 94
A3 85 to 89
B1 80 to 84
B2 70 to 79
C1 60 to 69
C2 50 to 59
C3 33 to 49
D Less than 33

Points to Remember:
(i) Assessment of theory/practical papers in external subjects shall be in numerical scores.In addition to numerical scores, the Board shall indicate grades in the marks sheets issued to the candidates in case of subjects of external examinations. In case of internal assessment subjects, only grades shall be shown.

(ii) Subjects of internal examination in Class X the assessment shall be made on a five point scale I.e. A,B,C,D & E.

(iii) The grades shall be derived from scores in case of subjects of external examination. In case of subjects of internal assessment, they shall be awarded by the schools.

(iv) The qualifying marks in each subject of external examination shall be 33% . However at Senior School Certificate Examination, in a subject involving practical work, a candidate must obtain 33% marks in the theory and 33% marks in the practical separately in addition to 33% marks in aggregate, in order to qualify in that subject.

(v) For awarding the grades, the Board shall put all the passed students in a rank order and will award grades as follows:

• A1 : Top 1/8th of the passed candidates
• A2 : Next 1/8th of the passed candidates
• B1 : Next 1/8th of the passed candidates
• B2 : Next 1/8th of the passed candidates
• C1 : Next 1/8th of the passed candidates
• C2 : Next 1/8th of the passed candidates
• D1 : Next 1/8th of the passed candidates
• D2 : Next 1/8th of the passed candidates
• E : Failed candidates

(a) In case of a tie, all the students getting the same score, will get the same grade. If the number of students at a score point needs to be divided into two segments, the smaller segment will go with the larger.

(b) Method of grading will be used in subjects where the number of candidates who have passed is more than 500.

(c) In respect of subjects where total number of candidates passing in a subject is less than 500, the grading would be adopted on the pattern of grading and distribution in other similar subjects.