In 2014, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) introduced an Open Text Based Assessment (OTBA) for classes 9 and 11. However, it has now decided to discontinue the test and students can no longer carry the textbooks inside the exam hall. As per sources, CBSE had received negative feedback from schools regarding the OTBA system.
OTBA was introduced by CBSE in Class 9 for English, Hindi, Science, Mathematics and Social Science and the final examination of Class 11 in few subjects such as Economics, Biology and Geography from March 2014.
The board now says that the objectives of the OTBA system were hardly met and based on the feedback of the stakeholders, the board has decided to withdraw OTBA from the Scheme of Studies in Classes 9 and 11 from the academic session 2017-18.
What is OTBA?
Under this system, the students were provided with text material in advance and they were allowed to carry these during the exams. A senior official said that the schools had to prepare the question papers from the material provided. The main focus of OTBA was not on rote-learning, but on applying the information critically.
However, the system was not utilised to its full effect by some schools and had many flaws. While the focus was on developing critical abilities of a student, certain schools misused the system by telling the questions to the students in advance and they prepared just that. This helped them score well. The source added that after the consultation of everybody, the decision was taken to discontinue the system.
In 2015, the HRD ministry had urged the state and central school boards to consider introducing open-book tests in secondary and senior secondary level examinations. The suggestion was made by the School Education Secretary at a meeting of 42 education boards held on October 28, 2015.