Far fewer candidates are likely to find question papers in the 2020 CBSE board examinations lengthy. As part of big changes in the paper pattern for Class X and XII examinations, the Central Board of Secondary Education plans to reduce the number of questions in a majority of subjects.
For example, in the stipulated three-hour exam for Class XII mathematics, a candidate will now need to solve just 12 questions as against 19 in 2019. Not just that, examinees are likely to get more choices. There will be 33% internal options, that is, candidates will need to attempt 10 out of 13-14 questions.
Another big change is the increase in number of objective (one-mark) questions which range from 16.25% to 95% in some subjects, up from 10-12%. The changes are listed in CBSE's document, "Details of internal and external assessment in the year 2019-20", accessed by TOI . To wean students away from rote learning, internal assessment/practicals has been introduced in all subjects.
Even in a few subjects like English (language and literature) for Class X and Hindi, history and biology for Class XII where descriptive questions have been increased, CBSE sources said there will be more two-mark questions and fewer five to eight-mark ones. For example, there will be 20% two-mark questions in the biology paper for Class XII, "which are objective in nature but are accounted in the descriptive questions," said a senior CBSE official.
Key subjects across streams (though CBSE doesn't' bunch subjects stream-wise) will have less number of mandatory descriptive questions. In the Class XII Sanskrit paper, the number of descriptive questions will reduce from 53 to 37, while in political science it will drop to 14 from 25. Similarly, for physics and chemistry, the number of questions to be attempted in 2020 will be 17, down by five.
The objective (one-mark) questions will primarily be in the format of 'fill in the blanks', single sentence answers, 'true or false' and multiple choice questions. In fact, "even the two-mark questions will also be mostly objective type," said the official.
Apart from a majority of the subjects having at least 25% objective questions, there will be 33% internal options as well, just as in subjective questions. The only subjects with less than 20% objective questions are Hindi (B) for Class X and Hindi (core and elective) and dances such as Odissi and Bharatanatyam for Class XII.
Moreover, all subjects will have either practicals or internal assessments. Internal assessments will have 20-mark weightage while the marks for practicals (in the relevant subjects) will range from 30 to 70.
Stating that reducing the length of the question paper will not mean a compromise with quality and difficulty level, CBSE secretary Anurag Tripathi said: "The question papers will be developed scientifically without any compromise on quality. In fact, with more objective type questions, the students will need more detailed study. With internal assessment/practicals, students will move out of the habit of rote learning and schools can engage them with more experiential learning."
According to CBSE sources, sample papers are being prepared by subject experts and these will be made available on the board's website soon.
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