One of the chief objectives of education at St. Xavier’s is to develop the whole range of cognitive abilities of the students. Progressively the tests and exams of the school reflect this objective. Testing is not focused on mere recall and reproduction of facts gathered in the classroom or memorized from the textbooks. Understanding of the subject matter and the ability to apply knowledge in novel contexts are at least as important skills. In other words, the tests also probe for higher order thinking skills. Consequently, it would be erroneous to contend that in the assessment of children what is stated explicitly in the textbook or taught in the classroom should be included verbatim.
The school helps the students to form the habit of regular and sustained academic work by a system of continuous assessment. In recent years formative assessments (FA) have been given due importance in order to reduce the examination stress that students experience resulting from overemphasis on rote learning. Besides, formative assessments can facilitate effective diagnosis of learning and remediation of deficiencies in what is learned.
The academic year is divided into two semesters with summative assessments (SA) at the end of both. These exams carry 50 marks for each subject in Classes Prep-V and 90 in Classes VI-X. Students should expect a fair proportion of age-appropriate unseen problems and indirect questions in all school examinations.
In the academic calendar five formative assessment (FA) activities each carrying 10 marks are scheduled for each semester for Classes Prep-V. These activities may include role plays, recitation, drawing, spelling, reading, conversation, handwriting, group discussion, pair work, written work, simple projects, and so on. Subject-specific instructions on each assessment activity will be given to the students in the course of the year.
Each semester students of Classes VI-X are required to complete two group activities (one of them an interdisciplinary project), two individual activities and two pen and paper tests. One of the individual activities will be practical or lab work for the subjects like Science, Computer and Mathematics. Reading, writing, listening and speaking skills are tested for each language. Marks obtained for three such assessment activities will be counted for each FA contributing 10% of the annual evaluation. Each semester has two FAs. Thus each semester the FAs contribute 20% of the annual assessment and the SAs contribute 30%.
In the first semester Std XI has two class tests and a practical exam in subjects with practical. Each of these assessments is for 10 marks. Std XII has three class tests for all subjects in the first semester. For subject with practical, there is a practical exam as well. Both the terms the semester exam in the Board pattern is for 70 marks for these subjects and 100 for others. The ratio of the summative and formative components in the first semester assessment for all subjects is 70:30. In the second semester there is an additional assignment in the form of an investigatory project for all subjects of Std XI. Their annual assessment gives 25% weight for first semester, 25% for the second term assignments and 50% for the final exam. Investigatory projects as per CBSE requirements and the Pre-Board examinations are completed by Std XII in the second semester.
The school aligns its assessment practices with the policies and directives of the CBSE. The progress reports of the students reflect the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) of both academic and co-scholastic areas. Parents of the students whose marks/ grades in each of the tests and exams are found to be unsatisfactory should meet the teachers frequently and take guidance for improving the performance of their wards. Parents who do not show sufficient interest and willingness to follow up the performance of their children cannot be assured of continuation of their association with the school.
The CBSE conducts Problem Solving Assessment (PSA) in Class IX and XI. The PSA tests students’ quantitative and qualitative reasoning as well as language skills. The marks obtained for the PSA takes the place of FA4 in Class IX and X for English, Mathematics, Science and Social Studies. Std XI students are given a PSA certificate by the Board. The students have an opportunity to improve their PSA scores of the previous year in Class X and XII. In 2013-14 the CBSE has started Open Textbook Based Assessment (OTBA) in some subjects for Class IX and XI. This may be extended to Class X and XII and to other subjects coming years.
In Class X, the students take the optional assessment conducted by CBSE known as Students Global Aptitude Index (SGAI). This test helps the students to identify their aptitudes and a corresponding choice of future career and the appropriate stream of studies at the higher secondary level. CBSE conducts Proficiency Tests in English, Hindi, Mathematics, General Science and Social Studies for students of Std X. The students are free to opt for all or any of these subjects.
All the formative and summative assessments of both Class IX and X count for the Secondary School Certificate issued by the Board at the completion of Class X. The SAs are conducted in the school using the questions provided by the CBSE. The teachers of the school evaluate the answer papers using the marking schemes provided by the Board. Those students who wish to leave the CBSE system to continue their education under some other board opt for the Board Conducted SA at the end of Class X.