Testing Times.....

Monday, February 9, 2009

I think I am going back in time.

Back to school, studies and exams. Only this time my daughter's.

Though my daughter has been going to school for 4-5 years now, I have not really spent too much time with her on studies and stuff. But now looks like all that is going to change...and she is only in Grade 2.

I don't want to be one of those mothers who treat a Grade 2 exam as an IAS exam and lose sleep on those 1 or 2 marks the poor kid loses in the exam.

I was happy that my daughter was studying in a school where there are no exams till Grade 5 and the assessment is supposed to be done continuously based on the child's performance and attention in class. I figured that by the time she has to start writing exams, she will be old enough to study on her own too....

Looks like I was mistaken....

The continuous assessment that these guys talk about are slightly different. It means that there are worksheets instead of question papers. Instead of the exam dates, you get subtle warning messages in the form of diary notes that say 'revise chapter so and so in English'. When you get a message that runs like this, it actually means that 'Hey...make your kid learn that stuff well in another 3-4 days...one of these days, she has to do the worksheet'. This message is repeated every day. When it stops,you know that the worksheet has been done.

As far as my understanding goes, the continuous assessment system works in such a way that the entire learning happens in school. There is no extra coaching required at home. The children are given surprise tests in class and they perform based on how well they have been taught in class and how much attention they have been paying in class.

This is not going to work in a class of almost 40 children.

This is also not going to work if 80% of the mothers sit at home and teach their kids and even send them for tuitions and extra classes.

Once this happens, then the remaining 20% is also forced to do the same...so that the grades their child gets is the one they really deserve in comparison with the rest of the class.

If this is the case, then I'd prefer the exam system itself. At least you get the exam time table in advance and the child just needs to prepare for the exam.

Now the system is all mixed up..so they say revise and give a huge list of stuff...without any dates...which means you have to make the kid ready with the whole stuff all together and then wait for the surprise tests!!!!

It's not easy, especially for a working mother...or a travelling one, to spend so much time every day.Either they should be able to totally avoid teaching the kid at home or they should be at least able to plan their time...is that too much to expect...especially when you spend so much money on education these days.

In fact, the revise warning notes are actually meant to help the working mothers to plan their time and I will not deny that they do help. But what I say is that the whole purpose of the assessment system is lost when things happen this way.

That said, there are schools where they get it right as well. My mother is a teacher and she tells me that in her school, they do the assessment system the right way. They insist that parents do not teach the children at home and they do not even send the books home with the children. The entire learning is done in the class and the assessments are purely based on their performance in class and the surprise worksheets that test application of knowledge than the lesson itself.

7 other wanderers:

Reflections said...

Hehe....when I read the title I thot it was a post on recession.

Yeah a lot of my friends are complaining abt this system.... saying tht now the exam system looks better than this:-P.

As for me....I feel the school where my kids study are burdening the kids with too much information at such a young age:-/.
Naina is learning addition & subtraction in PREP...can u imagine it:-/.

Bins said...

I have another year to go and then I have to seek admissions for Neha in a formal school. As I am making the rounds of schools and taking feedback from parents, I am baffled. It is the case of whether chicken came first or the egg... I am going to blog about it, otherwise this comment is going to run into pages.

WannabeWriter said...

@reflections: hee hee..nothing I can say about it that hasn't been said already! ;) I have heard that about the school too...that would mean you definitely have to spend time teaching....

@bins:Choosing the right school is important...will wait for the post..and give suggestions! :D

Tys on Ice said...

personally i dont see the reason behind this...iam paying a school to eductate my child and its hud be their duty to do that...if i was required to teach him , i wud have opted for home education...iam really against homework...there shud be a balance in education and fun...its childhood, they shud be able to enjoy it...iam really not for everything oriented only towards future work...whts the solution?...no clue...

WannabeWriter said...

@tys: Exactly...this assessment concept aims at doing that...but which school wants to restrict the number of kids in a class to 20-25? All that money!

agnes said...

I have met many people who didn't do too well in school and yet have a successful career/business.

I have also met several people who had 2 PhDs and 5 masters... yet I wouldn't hire them to clean my house because they looked so clumsy and incompetent.

WannabeWriter said...

@agnes: Oh yes! That's a topic that can be discussed for hours.How relevant is the stuff that we are taught and evaluated on? You know..I still sometimes suddenly tell myself..'Oh this is why I was taught that at school'..after so many years, I learn the application of something I was taught!

 
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