Halfway through the school year, the Central Council for Secondary Education (CBSE) decided on Friday to remove the Problem Solving Assessment Test (PSA) from the 2015-2016 school year. Assessment began in 2013 for students in grades IX and XI, who had to solve application-based problems in order to hone their research and analysis skills.
Since the ASP was introduced, it has been felt by faculty members and students, who cited the ambiguous nature of the assessment, especially students inclined to be interested in humanities and social sciences subjects. The test aimed to help students assess their ability to understand and process information and was not limited to assessing material.
On Friday afternoon, to the surprise of CBSE principals, an email arrived from the regional office informing them that the PSA was being dropped with immediate effect. KK Choudhury, Exam Controller, in his communication to school principals, said the board has “decided to end PSA driving in classes IX and XI from the 2015-2016 session”.
Students who were unable to attend the PSA in Class IX and who scored poorly were allowed to take a formative assessment test in Class X. The Friday circular issued by the board, however, asks the school to conduct a formative assessment for the students who were in class. IX during the academic year 2014-2015 and were unable to attend the PSA or wish to improve their scores.
While a section of teachers welcomed the decision, saying there was a lot of “ambiguities” and that it was a difficult assessment to resolve, a teacher at the Bengaluru-based school said however stated that it was a “good experience” of the board which failed because it did not have clear instructions.
Deepa Sridhar, director of Sri Kumaran’s Children’s Home, Bangalore, said she was not happy with the move as she felt it was a good method for students to analyze their skills. “Particularly in light of the emphasis on the continuous and comprehensive assessment method, assessments like the PSA would help children as well as us to assess their abilities,” she said.
What is PSA?
One of the objectives of the assessment was to help students analyze, understand and interpret real-life situations. The test assesses three aspects such as language convention, qualitative reasoning, and quantitative reasoning. In Class IX, students had three formative assessments, one PSA, and two summative assessments. For class XI, students received a separate certificate for assessment. Once students go to grades X and XII (which appeared for PSA when they were in IX and XI), they have the opportunity to improve their PSA score. It consists of 60 multiple choice questions which carry 60 points.