“Our marking was based on logical reasoning on why children felt he was being discriminated against. There were no right or wrong answer,” said teacher Jonaki Mukherjee, an expert on child and adolescent counselling. Mukherjee feels cognitive learning is critical but a child must also be taught to think, reason and deduce.
“At South Point, students have been asked to do analytical projects which, besides being multi-disciplinary, are research-based,” said Rupa Sanyal Bhattacharjee, principal. “They have also appeared for oral tests, where their understanding of the topics were tested. Timed quizzes were set to test the students’ analytical skills. To keep them in practice with board requirements, parent-proctored tests were administered.”
Indira Roy Mandal, a child psychologist associated with a school, said, “Unless kids are nudged to think on their own, they won’t be able to logically reason or explain. While MCQ is the standard format in post-school entrance exams and so, important, school syllabus for kids must go beyond that.”
Many principals of ICSE schools have instructed teachers to set at least 50% questions in a manner that will test a student’s analytical, decision-making skills and cognitive expertise. “Our aim is to test a student’s ability in solving problems. That is what education is about – to enable students to face problems with whatever resources they have,” said Nabarun De, secretary of the association of ICSE Schools in Bengal and principal of Central Modern School, Baranagar.