What about exams or tests?

One of the most common questions we encounter as parents of three homeschooled kids is: What about exams?

Let us start with the basics: An examination, commonly known as exam, is a test to see how good somebody is at something.

If that ‘somebody’ is your child and he or she happens to attend school, the only way the teacher and you as a parent can find out how much your child has understood is by giving him a formal test.

A test or examination is an assessment intended to measure a test-taker’s knowledge or rarely skill.

A test may be administered orally, on paper, on a computer, or in a confined area that requires a test taker to physically perform a set of skills. Tests vary in style, rigor and requirements. For example, in a closed book test, a test taker is often required to rely upon memory to respond to specific items whereas in an open book test, a test taker may use one or more supplementary tools such as a reference book or calculator when responding to an item. A test may be administered formally or informally.

An example of an informal test would be a reading test administered by a parent to a child.

An example of a formal test would be a final examination administered by a teacher in a classroom.


Figure 1 A formal test in process

So what people really want to know is what about formal tests for homeschooled children?

The beauty of homeschooling is that the parents, being the teachers of the child, know exactly what their children are learning and have understood at any point in time, by giving them informal tests all the time. So for them there is really no need to do any formal testing at all! Who else needs to know how much their child has understood? Who cares for their child more than they themselves, the parents? We as parents often go beyond testing too, to find out the heart of the child, something that cannot be measured by any test.

So my simple answer to people who ask me this question is: ofcourse we as parents test them regularly and informally. There is absolutely no need to do formal testing, with all its associated tensions for the child, parent and teacher as the case may be. As the homeschooled child grows older, he or she can take formal tests as deemed fit by the parents, if they wish to prepare him or her for entry into colleges.

There are different options for homeschooled children to take formal exams at different levels, like the Macmillan International Assessment for Indian Students, The NIOS and the IGCSE etc. You will find out more details of these on my other blogs. Relax and have a nice relaxed exam-free day J

 

 

 

City NIOS candidate moves HC over no extra answer sheets rule

City NIOS candidate moves HC over no extra answer sheets rule

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MUMBAI: A clause in the rules governing the flexible National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS) exams, which says that candidates are not allowed to ask for extra answer sheets, has now been challenged in court.


Jeremy Fernand, a Class 10 student,[whose parents are part of Swashikshan, the All India body of Homeschoolers], couldn’t complete his Math paper in the October exam session, didn’t know he wasn’t entitled to an extra sheet till he asked for one, because no announcement was made at the exam centre, he claims.

When his father Max subsequently wrote to the authorities, they were told the rules didn’t contain a provision for supplementary sheets.

Fernand has now moved the Bombay high court through a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), praying that the rule be amended so students can use more than one answer sheet.

He has alternatively prayed that the rule be better publicized through the hall ticket and admission form well in advance so that students are prepared for it during the exam. “We are not saying that the rule is right or wrong, we are only asking that candidates be made more aware about it,” said Fernand. “Students shouldn’t find out the rule after it’s too late.”

The petition came up in the court on Friday, when a division bench of Justice SJ Vazifdar and justice BP Colabawalla said it should be heard as a writ petition. It is likely to come up before a different bench soon.

More than 20,000 students across the state appear for the NIOS exams every year.

The NIOS is an alternative system that allows greater flexibility as compared to mainstream schools.


The petition has pointed out that other boards allow the use of extra sheets and that the rule is arbitrary. “While the purpose of the NIOS is to foster the needs of the children in promoting educational programmes, such arbitrary rules are only counterproductive to the objectives of the NIOS,” it said.

  • 20 Jan 2014
  • Hindustan Times (Mumbai)
  • Bhavya Dore bhavya.dore@hindustantimes.com

IGCSE and Homeschool

Some of us parents met with Ms. Tanya Valecha, Principal of Rustomjee School http://www.school.rustomjee.com/ on Tuesday 18th June 2013. We mentioned to her that we are part of an All India body of Homeschoolers called Swashikshan whose website is http://homeschoolers.in/

The main points discussed were:

  • Homeschooled students giving the IGCSE 10th grade exams
  • Handholding partnership with the school for homeschooled kids who are younger

The Principal was very open and supportive and patiently answered all our questions. She

Homeschooled students giving the IGCSE 10th grade exams

Homeschooled children are most welcome to give the IGCSE exam in Rustomjee. Homeschooled Students are free to choose any subject, only English is compulsory, and the minimum number of subjects is 6. Exams are held in November every year, except Hindi which is held in May. The school can administer exams for most of the subjects except those which need special examiners like for Spanish or German. For these subjects, if the Student arranges Cambridge-certified Examiners, the school can still hold exams.

Since the student will be giving the exam as a private candidate, the school only facilitates the exam and does not provide any training. The school will also not be providing any Leaving Certificate, which is one of the requirements for admission into Junior Colleges in Mumbai.

The IGCSE results come after three months, and they give actual percentages obtained now, previously they used to give grades. This helps the student to know exactly how well they have done. Also in IGCSE there is no artificial boosting of percentages with internal assessments.

She also suggested that a child should take a minimum of 6 subjects at 10th level for admission into colleges.

Handholding partnership with the school for homeschooled kids who are younger

Some parents expressed a desire to homeschool and yet at the same time wished their child to attend ‘exciting’ activities, some classes and exams conducted by the school. The Principal is most happy to accept such students.

Such students will be admitted to the age appropriate grade after an assessment is done, basically for English and Math in lower grades. They are free to attend the class or activity of their choice. They can give the exam as mutually decided, either the Final exam with the whole year’s portion, or divided in three parts. Passing percentage is 40% in all subjects.

If the student leaves the school for whatever reason, the school will give a Leaving certificate, and if the student rejoins, a fresh assessment will be done before the child is taken on the rolls of the school.

The fees applicable for such students will be 50% of the regular fees. I requested the Principal on behalf of Swashikshan to consider reduction in the fees and she promised to discuss this with the management.

She also mentioned that text books can be purchased from book stores first hand or second hand, and course worksheets are also available in case the child wants to do them.

We thank Ms. Tanya Valecha and look forward to further interactions with her and the school.