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Exams in Kolkata schools bare learning gaps from pandemic years

There are students who are still struggling to finish an exam paper and their handwriting is ‘poor’

Jhinuk Mazumdar | Published 14.10.22, 07:12 AM
Students are missing out on steps when solving math problems and there is no clarity of thought, said a teacher.

Students are missing out on steps when solving math problems and there is no clarity of thought, said a teacher.

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A significant number of students are still struggling in exams and their academic performance is below what it was in online exams, said teachers across schools.

Six months into in-person classes, many students have settled into class but the learning gaps remain.The gaps are more glaring in areas where there is concept-building and the children are often failing to apply their knowledge of a subject or topic, teachers have noticed. There are students who are still struggling to finish an exam paper and their handwriting is “poor”.

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“A student in Class IX was in Class VI before the pandemic. While they coped in the last two years because it was a much shorter exam paper, they are unable to sit through an exam and answer an 80-mark paper now. The preparation is not enough,” said Souvic Jati, math teacher and academic coordinator for Classes IX and X at The Heritage School.

Students are missing out on steps when solving math problems and there is no clarity of thought, said a teacher. Students have gotten out of the habit and practice of studying, said Aruna Gomes, principal of Loreto House.

“They were used to shorter, objective type questions and are unable to write long answers. The syllabus had also been reduced in online, which is making it difficult for them,” said Gomes.

In many schools, the first exams since the resumption of classes are over. Answer scripts are being corrected and in some schools, parent-teacher meetings have been held.

Teachers are pointing out the differences from online to parents during meetings with them. What the children scored during online exams was not what they deserved, it has become apparent, said teachers.

During online exams, because of lack of monitoring, some students allegedly resorted to unfair means and the exam protocol was not maintained in many homes.

Barely a handful have maintained their performance in in-person exams, said an economics teacher of Class XII at a city school.

“Few children took the online exams under exam conditions,” said Amita Prasad, director of Indus Valley World School. The school recently held a parent-teacher meeting for Class XI and XII. Teachers shared their feedback with parents — students were required to pull up their socks.

Prasad said that for students, the jump from Class X to XI is high and students are unable to come to terms with it because their concentration and hard work in the last two years has reduced.

“They are unable to concentrate on the text and sit for long hours to study,” said Prasad. 

The base itself is weak for many students because of the topsy-turvy two years, said teachers.

“We had anticipated learning gaps and offered revision classes but the gaps remain. Performance in assessment exams, responses in class and submission of work has suffered from what it was during online classes,” said Damayanti Mukherjee, principal, Modern High School for Girls.

“The gaps are apparent in areas where deep thinking or building of concepts is required,” said Mukherjee. Some teachers said that they knew that performance would dip in in-person exams but the problem is acute for board classes where they do not have enough time to practice.

Last updated on 14.10.22, 07:12 AM
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