International schools in Bengaluru say they have come across such instances after which they have even conducted counselling sessions for parents.
Aloysius D’Mello, Principal, Greenwood High International School, said, “Classroom learning with personal touch and mentorship from teachers has gone for a toss. The discipline and decorum of writing examinations is abysmal too.”
He said the school is using simple objective assessments through Google forms for classes 1-5, while MS Teams and Exam.net are used to conduct these virtual exams for classes 6-12. “Over 500 teachers of the school invigilate a group of nine to 12 students, whereas an exam coordinator and I make virtual rounds of the online classrooms. The students must know that there is someone keeping a watch. We assured parents that in case there is a technical problem, they can write to us. The school conducted exams for its international curriculum and unit tests for its national curriculum in July,” said D’Mello.
To keep a check on younger students, a few measures have been adopted. Video assessments of students will be done by the class teacher individually, screenshots of each online assessment will be examined and an impromptu assessment on the topics will be held. “There were cases where parents tried to nudge a ward towards the right answer in an assessment. Here, we counsel the parent and ask them to let the child be on his/her own. As the student is not at fault, there’s no reassessment,” added D’mello.
Ted Mockrish, Head of School, Canadian International School, said, “The question is not how we can prevent students from cheating, but why we are still using an outdated method to assess students. With no simple ‘correct’ answer, students must use their thought process in a complex manner, which cannot be cheated from someone else.”
What are the alternatives?
“In addition to project-based learning, presentations based on research that seek to answer and address complex questions like “Why do we have conflict?”, demand more from students than multiple-choice responses. With no clear “right” answers, students develop critical skills to research, organise, synthesise and defend their own perspectives, providing them with transferable skills that support their own agenda in their learning. We cannot continue to think that rote memorisation is an acceptable form of assessment,” added Mockrish.
What about pre-schools?
Jayant Gauri, founder of Raintree School, said, “We successfully conducted assessments for all classes, including preschools. We did not have any instance of parents directly helping students. But they may have helped them in the assessment that was taken in Google forms. For lower grades, students would have found this format new and the natural tendency for parents is to help.”