Paper setting has a huge potential for reforming education in Pakistan

Yasser Chattha

Paper setting has a huge potential for reforming education in Pakistan

by, Yasser Chattha

Federal Board of Intermediate & Secondary Education (FBISE): Technology-led Initiatives: a comment on a selected component

FBISE administers Federal Territory, Cantonments, other Federal jurisdictions spread across country, and overseas schools and colleges secondary & higher secondary exams, technically called summative assessments.

It’s consistently on its pathway in upgrading its systems of assessment and evaluations. This is a praise-worthy reform orientation and must be appreciated as such for its forward looking approach.

There can be many aspects from which we can see things and comment upon, but this scribe will delimit his comment to its paper setting aspect.

It might be reminded that a year or so ago FBISE arranged a comprehensive training of a reasonably large sample of the examiners: paper setters and evaluators, etc.

That was thought to be a very constructive and hope inducing initiative and activity. That training assumed like all trainings that setting papers critically and creatively are transferable skills and attitudes.

The select sample of the trainees were brainstormed, talked to, instructed of and administered practice of setting question papers following/demanding certain knowledge, skills and attitude areas in a systematic way.

See more: Why education reforms fail in Pakistan by Dr. Shahid Siddiqui

Algorithmic science  by, Ahmed Alkhateeb

One wonders after seeing a papers set after that training, with consternation and administering steroids to ones critical assessment of the situation.

1. Has FBISE conducted any audit of papers set after that training?

2. What has been FBISE assessment of the impact of that training?

What is the state of affairs through any serious and systematic assessment, evaluation of the training impact might remain one of the crucial questions.

But observably, perhaps with a casual glance, the situation and change intervention, intended professional development outcome(s) remain the self-same and status-quo dumped.

This is immensely unfortunate thing. We as a society have been unable to nurture ourselves as knowledge society, knowledge persons and individuals. Being methodical in our madnesses might be a luxury, but we have not afforded ourselves to be systematic and methodical in our professional and serious moments of activities. We are such a sham contradictions in ourselves… .

Putting aside critical assessment of society and setting aside moments of mere catharsis, one might again recall that harnessing potentials of technology in improving mechanisms, processes and evaluations is ever a praise-worthy initiative as well as state of mind.

But FBISE immensely need to ensure that exam papers, questions constructed in them should essentially follow/and be audited on the basis of Revised Bloom’s Taxonomy, etc.

This might go a long way in nurturing critical thinking in

● teaching,

● learning,

● presenting

● re-presenting

● creating

● co-creating

● constructing

● co-constructing

What has been:

● learnt

● unlearnt

● and co-learnt

in this dynamic equilibrium process.

However, one might qualify that such a recommendation or belief that assessment might be only one component in the over all process  of a wholesome and responsive education. But a realistic assessment of the general community expectations, and value this community grudgingly attaches to, or has systematically been led to attach value to, makes one emphasise upon reforming summative assessment processes and validity of their outcomes. At the moment, and in realistically and optimally short term period, we can realise objectives of, critical thinking, analysis, solutions orientation, creativity and innovation through a demanding summative assessment system.

We, after all, live in a society which ideologically attaches too much importance to the Day of Judgment in which there’s nothing but an exam, a final stock taking.

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اسلام آباد میں ایک کالج کے شعبۂِ انگریزی سے منسلک ہیں۔ بین الاقوامی شاعری کو اردو کےقالب میں ڈھالنے سے تھوڑا شغف ہے۔ "بائیں" اور "دائیں"، ہر دو ہاتھوں اور آنکھوں سے لکھنے اور دیکھنے کا کام لے لیتے ہیں۔ اپنے ارد گرد برپا ہونے والے تماشائے اہلِ کرم اور رُلتے ہوئے سماج و معاشرت کے مردودوں کی حالت دیکھ کر محض ہونٹ نہیں بھینچتے بَل کہ لفظوں کے ہاتھ پیٹتے ہیں۔