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In a surprising move, the Central Board for Secondary Education (CBSE) has scrapped the Problem Solving Assessment (PSA) mid-year. These tests were introduced in 2013 for students of standards 9th to 11th to test them on their problem solving ability. However, schools were not happy with these tests as they brought down students' scores.

The board conducted one PSA in four subjects-the first language, science, math & social studies. For Std. 9, the PSAs are held in January. For Std. 10, these scores accounted for 10% of students' subject marks. Std. 11 students were issued separate certificates for this test. 

Schools received an email informing them about the Board's decision on Friday evening. "Board has decided to do away with the conduct of PSA from the session 2015-16," said the circular sent to the schools by K K Choudhary, controller of examinations. In place of the PSAs the Board has advised the schools to to conduct formative assessments for Std. 10 students who couldn't give the test in the previous year or would like to improve their scores.

Rakesh Joshi, Principal, Apeejay School, Nerul said, "It is good news that the assessment has been scrapped because children were facing a lot of stress over this module." Students found the PSAs tough because of the lack of a defined syllabus to study from. "I am glad that the assessment has been scrapped. I had a hard time preparing for it," said Sejal Mishra, a CBSE student from Navi Mumbai.

Some school principals, however, feel that the assessment could have been reworked and not scrapped completely. Says Anvita Bir, Principal, RN Podar School, "The assessments were a problem in the first year that they were introduced in, especially in Social Studies. Students' grades fell that time, but schools gradually realized the kind of skills they needed to impart in order to train the students for the PSAs." She also states that the assessment was a progressive one and should not have been scrapped.


Source: Hindustan Times and The Times of India (November 1st, 2015 Issue)