One of the reasons why the innovative science education programme running in Bombay’s municipal schools was closed down was because the municipality refused to permit any changes being made in the Board examinations. It was clear to the teachers that their students would not be evaluated for the kind of things they were learning in science because the Board examinations only ask questions about formulae and memorized information. So their students would be at a disadvantage and would suffer.

This was an important lesson from the Bombay experience. That’s why when B.G. Pitre met Sudarshan Kapur and Anil Sadgopal in Rasulia with his proposal to start a science education programme in Hoshangabad, he told them that they should first get permission from the government to change the examination system before implementing the innovation. This point was mentioned in the 1972 proposal although it was not emphasized strongly enough. Anil Sadgopal puts it succinctly: “Examinations are the stumbling block of all innovations because they are a powerful weapon to maintain the status quo.”

Changing the examination system was a major concern of the HSTP from the very beginning. The basic approach was that an examination should evaluate what children are taught or what they are expected to learn.

Like the HSTP’s other components, the examination system was developed on the basis of field experience. So examination methods kept evolving over the innovation’s 30-year lifespan, although the basic thrust remained the same.

One thing needs to be mentioned at the outset. The HSTP group was clear that the best examination would be one the teacher himself/herself conducts. That is, every teacher should have the freedom to test his/her students. The purpose of this examination would not be to pass or fail students, or place them in first/second/third class. It would be to assess how much and what the students had learned till then, which topics they were now equipped to learn, where they needed more time and support, and what more they needed to experience. This topic was discussed threadbare by the resource group and the teachers during the first phase, with the resource group constantly demanding that the teachers pay more attention to internal assessments.

Board examinations during the early days of the HSTP wre held at different stages of the school cycle in Madhya Pradesh. The first examination was held in class 5 and was conducted at the district level. Next came the upper middle school Board examination (class 8) that was held at the divisional level, followed by the class 10 and 12 Board examinations that were conducted by the state-level Board of Secondary Education.

The first batch of HSTP students reached class 8 in 1974-75. At that time, Friends Rural Centre and Kishore Bharati again broached the subject of conducting its own examinations with the state government. Taking an important - and bold - decision, the government permitted the two organizations to organize and conduct the class 8 examination in the 16 HSTP schools, recognizing this examination as equivalent to a Board examination. In other words, the government had accorded two non-governmental organizations the status of an examination Board. This was an unprecedented step for any state government to take at its importance cannot be lost on anyone working in the field of school education.

So the class 8 Board examination in the 16 schools were conducted by Friends Rural Centre and Kishore Bharati from 1975 to 1980.

After the district-level expansion of the innovation, the HSTP group came out with a paper in 1977 describing the kind of examination system it had developed. This paper is given below. I have added a few points in parentheses to clarify some aspects. The paper goes into the thinking and logic behind each element in the examination system, which we shall discuss later. It also gives the learnings from the field experiences until 1977. Many of the elements were experimentally tested during these five years and we shall throw more light on these aspects. The third point is that the examination system was not adopted exactly in the form developed during the pilot 16-school phase. Several changes were made in the details. We shall discuss these as well. And finally, we shall go into the field experiences in implementing this examination system and the impact it had on the teaching-learning process...... Read More... [PDF]

Question Bank / प्रश्न बैंकA compilation of questions formulated by HSTP resource teachers over years and used in board and other examinations. Both for written and practical examination.

Cover and Index pages 

Question Bank / प्रश्न बैंक -class 6 - Written and practical exam questions

Question Bank / प्रश्न बैंक -class 7- Written and practical exam questions

Question Bank / प्रश्न बैंक -class 8 - Written and practical exam questions