Board examinations are considered to be one of the most high-stakes exams taken by school students. The National Education Policy (NEP) 2020 stresses the need to reduce the high-stakes nature of board exams and to focus more on the holistic learning of students.
Board exams should aim at testing core capacities/competencies rather than months of coaching and memorisation. In such a context, it is of utmost importance to ensure that board exams are redesigned for testing essential knowledge, skills, and dispositions expected of students at the end of schooling.
Tripura Board of Secondary Education (TBSE) collaborated with Azim Premji University in an endeavour to strengthen its state-level Board examinations. The University has been working collaboratively with a working committee of approximately a hundred subject matter experts on Mathematics, English, Science, and Social Science from the state since March 2021.
A series of three capacity-building workshops were conducted with this group. The core purpose of the workshops was to capacitate the working group in the state to anchor the process of revamping certification examination development processes.
The three workshops addressed the following areas of capacity building:
As a result of this collaboration, a comprehensive item bank has been put together which is a collation of model items in english, mathematics, science, and social science, for secondary grades, Tripura Board of Secondary Education. A robust process has been adopted to develop the items in terms of their alignment with the subject-specific learning outcomes, competencies, and cognitive levels.
The item bank attempts to showcase items in such a way that they are well aligned to the learning outcomes; using diverse contexts and assessing core disciplinary understanding; subject skills, and perspectives.
The item bank consists of Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) and Constructed Response Questions (CR). An attempt has been made to develop the items which tend to bring out the nature, skill, and disposition of the subject. A wide range of item formats has been used for MCQ and CR items to assess learning in multiple ways.
This item bank can be used by test paper developers, secondary school teachers, teacher educators, researchers, and others interested in designing valid and reliable competency-based questions.