CBSE decides to modify oral assessment skills

September 10, 2013, 12:29 pm

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has decided to modify oral assessment skills to provide a level playing field for students who suffer from speech and hearing impairment. The central board had introduced the Assessment of Speaking and Listening (ASL) skills last year as a way to make the oral testing more detailed and at par with international testing standards.

To be more inclusive and give equal opportunity to students with speech and hearing impairment, the CBSE has given some options which the schools can use while assessing. Students with impairment can now write a story instead of speaking on topics. Students of Std IX have to write a story which is 800 words long while Std X students have to write a 900 word story. In term II, students can select a school prescribed novel and write a review of the same.

The board wrote to schools on the need for change in the ASL format upon realizing the problems it created for speech and hearing-impaired students. The board’s director Sadhana Parashar wrote, "A number of issues emerge once any reform is affected in the policy of assessment. The issues related to academic reforms are required to be addressed. One very pertinent issue which has been raised relates to the assessment in oral skills of the students who have speech impediment or who are hard of hearing or who have both disabilities partially or wholly, such students will find it difficult to be assessed in the skills of speaking and listening in English language".

The ASL has been made compulsory in the formative and summative assessments. Parashar writes further "In respect of students who have the above mentioned needs, the board has tried to resolve the issue with the following alternatives as options. Two assignments of 20 marks each based on the novel/ long reading text prescribed for the class in which the student is studying".

For other students, the ASL will consist of a speaking test and a listening test.

Speaking test will last for a total 12 minutes maximum and will be conducted for two students at a time. A single teacher will function as the interlocutor and assessor for both students, and he/she must be an expert in English subject.

The Listening Comprehension section tests the candidate’s ability to listen for basic interpersonal, instructional and academic purposes.

Students will hear a set of recordings of the listening input or listen to a reading of the listening input. Each of the recording will be played twice and students are not allowed to ask questions or interrupt the teacher at any point. CBSE says this is crucial since students "are being tested for listening skills".