CBSE grants 30 minutes extra for open book exams

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has decided to give 30 minutes extra to students of Class IX and XI in the March 2014 final exams, specifically for the open book exam. The Open Text Based Assessment (OTBA) will debut in March as a separate section within the main question paper. The OTBA questions will be addition to the original number questions as per last year’s pattern, hence the central board decided to allow an extra half-hour to students.

CBSE director Sadhana Parashar wrote to schools saying, “It has been provided in the circulars that OTBA questions will be in addition to usual questions set for three hours. In view of the above, schools are directed to give time of 3-3½ hours to the examinees in each of the subjects where open text based assessment has been introduced. This time will be in addition to the 15 minutes allotted to read the question paper.”

TOI was the first to report in July 2012 itself that CBSE was planning to introduce the open book concept. The board officially announced it a year later. OTBA will be conducted only for Class IX and XI as part of the final exams in March. For Class IX the OTBA material has been released for all main subjects like English, Hindi, Mathematics, Science and Social Science. For Class XI, the text material is for Geography, Economics and Biology. OTBA will be applicable only to these subjects this year.

As reported by TOI earlier, in OTBA students will be given text material months in advance. Later, during the exam, students will be allowed to refer to it while giving the test. However, the CBSE has ensured that OTBA’s format does not dilute the process of conducting an exam. The board has also reworked the marks distribution to accommodate OTBA scores in the main subject marks itself. The question papers in main subjects at SA-II will be of 90 marks (in English, of 70 marks + 20 marks for assessment of speaking and listening skills) based on prescribed syllabus and question paper design. The question paper in each main subject will have a separate section of 10 marks for OTBA. The OTBA section will comprise text material accompanied by two or three questions based on that text. The questions based on text will be of HOTS requiring students to apply to the situations given in the article/ report/ case study and draw inferences/conclusions from. The questions based on the text will be open ended, extrapolative, inferential and look at personal response justifying a point of view.

What is in the text material?

– Text material for each subject is between 12-18 pages long

– Material is inclusive of diagrams and illustrations

– Text material for each subject is divided into two themes

– Themes are relevant not only to existing syllabi but also recent events

– Uttarakhand tragedy is discussed for the theme ‘Environment and Development’

– Theme in Mathematics discusses about area and distance through planning of garden layout

How will the exam be conducted?

– OTBA only for Class IX and XI

– OTBA will be part of Summative Assessment – II

– 10 marks (out of 100) will be for OTBA

– OTBA question paper will have maximum of three questions

– Each school will have to prepare its own question paper

– Text material will be made available to students inside exam hall for reference

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