Report cards out, grade sheets in
As per the new assessment model, students are judged not just on their examination scores but their overall performance inside and out of the classroom. Photo: K. Manikandan | The Hindu

Grade sheets have replaced report cards for students of classes upto VIII in government and aided schools in the State.

School authorities have started distributing results of the recently-concluded first term. The school education department had introduced the trimester system at the beginning of this academic year.

While students and parents are yet to realise its significance or note any visible change, teachers, block resource teacher educators (BRTEs), supervisors and senior officials of Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) say this is part of an ongoing process to provide quality education to students of government institutions.

BRTEs and teachers at St. Thomas Mount and Kundrathur panchayat unions say the new system has increased workload for teachers but the end results are rewarding.

“Students are judged not just on their scores in the quarterly, half-yearly and final examinations but their overall performance is taken into account during formative assessment (FA),” an official says.

“Factors taken into account include life skills, yoga, physical exercise and extra curricular activities,” says K. Gunasekaran, block resource supervisor, SSA, St. Thomas Mount block (rural).

He says that in the earlier system of ranking students based on their scores, slow learners tend to develop an inferiority complex. The new grading system, he hopes, will motivate under-performers to catch up, score better grades and join their peer group.

In the new system, followed by CBSE schools and others, the grades range from A1 (91 marks and above) to E2 (20 marks and below).

Teachers of Government High School in Manimangalam, a rural pocket, say it will take a while for them to explain the new system to parents, most of who belong to the lower economic strata and are either illiterate or school dropouts.

Class V student K. Navin, son of Kumar, a construction worker in Chitlapakkam, says he is excited to receive the grade sheet. “I want to become a collector,” he says brimming with confidence.

In Manimangalam, Jayaraman, whose daughter Pavithra is a class VIII student, says it is a welcome move to judge students not just on marks scored in exams, but on their overall skills and activities outside the classroom as well. “It will help us to understand our children better,” he says.

SSA officials say, under the new grading system, teachers have to pay more attention to students’ performance in the classroom and document every detail before preparing the final grades.

Teachers say they find it a little difficult initially, but in the end, it is a wonderful experience as the new system is bound to improve students’ all-round performance.

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