Why is student self assessment important?

You have been studying and taking formal assessment at school, but at times you feel unsure.

Have I really understood concepts?

Well, it happens. A conscientious student who likes to be sure of all that is done, finds feeling unsure difficult to bear. Sometimes concepts get confusing. For instance, when learning about gravity, we get the idea about why things fall. We understand why a feather floats before reaching the ground. Then the class joker asks, why doesn’t the sky come to the ground? Why is the moon still up in the sky?

And you start to think. And it appears that the class joker was on to something. Something that you didn’t know about. Suddenly you aren’t so sure about your understanding.

Different students need different types of assessments

Well, all of us have pondered about many wonders around us but missed out many others.

That is just the way some of us are.

But when the class joker asked a question that has probably played in their mind for a while, we find that despite having understood all there was to, the moment a different question arose, we were confounded. How much do I know?  Is the joker wasting time by asking irrelevant questions?

The class joker on their part hasn’t quite understood the concept of gravity. In fact, they probably have not focused much on the subject as much as on all that they can see. They have listened to the teacher, they have heard the discussions but now that questions have arisen, they are lost.

Formal education and formal assessments

We enter formal education so that our minds can be directed along a path and we are better able to understand events as they unfold. There are different types of learners. There is one who focuses on the subject and tries to apply their learning to different situations. There is the other who takes in a little information and looks around, trying to connect a variety of dots, with some hits and some misses.

The first is what formal education tries to do. It presents centuries of learning and observation, explains work that has already been done. Many concepts have been either successfully applied in everyday things or have formed the basis for much new thought that is arising in the world. Each successive generation has a lot of catching up to do, some students focus on doing only that.

The second approach involves educating ourselves, drawing our conclusions and checking back. This is certainly an effective means when paired with the first. Paired with the systematic approach of the first, it possesses the potential of understanding more than what the subject matter presents. In the absence of a careful approach, it risks falling to a side.

Usually, a student will pick up a mix of both with varying degrees of success.

How does self assessment help?

This is where self-assessment comes in. It isn’t important what style of learning you have. It is just a preferred method of doing something. What matters is knowing where you stand. If you are expected to have achieved a certain level of understanding at your level, are you there?

Practise papers help you to answer and check back what all you have learned, understood and retained in memory. But there is more.

Practise papers also give you scope to check whether you have learned the application of a concept. Often, an event is explained by a variety of concepts together.

In the above example, hot air rising is in direct contrast to the force of gravity. It brings out the presence of different factors that get together to form a single event and allows a student to widen perspective. So, the class joker raised a pertinent question.

If you were able to work out the answer, well and good.

Knowledge of an answer to a tangential question is not a measure of how much or how little one knows. If you were not, it merely means you need to widen your scope of reading and practise.

 Different methods of self assessment
  • Revision, this may be verbal or writing practise sessions
  • Spend time on the internet to scan through mock papers to attempt
  • Allot a few hours, actively write a paper and check the answers against the solutions provided

Do you find yourself able to answer? Were all the points covered? Did you have to check back or return to your text book in the course of the paper?

What is the score you received?

Self assessment allows you to independently gauge your understanding and seek out solutions for yourself. For one student, the solution may lie in another round of studying. Other valid ways are speaking with your peer group and taking guidance from a trusted teacher. If this leads you to widen your reading or viewing online resources for better grasp of the subject, be willing to check them.

The exercise of assessment aims only to guide you towards getting a better score. If you find yourself worrying and getting anxious that your understanding is not up to the mark, it defeats the purpose of the exercise. If you want to take charge and direct your attention to better performance, self-assessment is the right way for you.

Letspractise.com provides chapter-wise MCQ tests for all subjects. It helps you evaluate what you know well and what you need to improve upon. Download, register and take the free Trial today !

  • Contributed by Shobna Iyer 

 

 

 

Newspapers – Why should children read them ?

Newspapers are one of the simplest methods to convey events to the rest of the world. They have been in service for a very long time and have still not gone out of fashion.

With the advent of technology, news-reading has left the arena of paper and ink, and has reached the smartphones in our hands. But that does not mean that reading newspapers has become a dying habit. In India alone, over a hundred thousand newspaper publications are registered with the Registrar of Newspaper for India who has a collective circulation of over 250 million every day. Though Hindi is the major language used in print, Indian newspapers are printed in 22 different languages for the benefit of the people all over the country. These numbers alone justify how newspapers affect the daily life of any commoner.

Personal growth and development

           Newspaper reading is very important habit to inculcate in children. It teaches a child to read, to listen, and the importance of patience. Children develop a  habit of justifying things with fact-based, fool-proof logic, before coming to believe in anything. Newspapers teach children the art of sitting down and thinking over things before making an opinion.

A newspaper is like a reality check for  children. They understand what intrigues them the most, what fascinates them the best, what they find the most exciting in the world. Reading a newspaper can help the child to formulate opinions about what they want to be when they grow up.  

It should also be noted that newspaper articles are usually crafted by people who are exceptionally learned and can write brilliantly. As a result, a newspaper teaches children a lot about language. It not only makes them good readers and listeners, but it can also make them good writers. Reading newspaper in any language inculcates a better understanding of that language and how it is to be used.

inculcates civic sense

Children need to care about issues that concern the world, as it will eventually concern the individual at some point in time, in some way or the other. As the habit of reading newspapers develops in children, they learn ways to gain, accept and even filter knowledge from all around the world. Newspapers help a child a lot in their formative years and help them to grow into responsible, good human beings.

            A newspaper comprises of various sections and contributes different news from all around the world. International and national issues, local events, sports developments, scientific advancements of the most innovative technologies, all are covered in a newspaper. It tells children about everything that is right as well wrong about the world and develops the zeal in them to contribute to the development of society.

appeals to the creative side 

Newspapers are one place that is known to print some of the most exceptional photographs from around the world. These photographs may be clicked by some of the best photographers and children get exposed to such artistic wonders. They get to see the beautiful world from the eyes of someone else. A photograph is always more attractive than mere written words and can speak a story of its own. The colorful photographs are indeed what keep young kids attracted to newspapers in the first place.

useful information

            Newspapers also have weekly inserts catering to specific domains like employment, education, fashion, art, culture, entrepreneurship and lifestyle.  These are a veritable treasure chest of information. Often there are columns related to latest events, innovations and counselling in the above areas. There is also a section related to happenings in and around town, like exhibitions, interesting movies, plays, music, art, dance, and family events like Happy Streets.

Newspapers can be fun 

Often, children prefer to read fiction over non-fiction. This is a good habit, as it develops imagination and vocabulary. Some newspapers like NewsShuttle are children-friendly; comprising of various fun articles, detective stories, games, comic sections and puzzles.  Other examples of newpapers for younger children are  The Young chronicle, the Children’s post, Robinage. Teenagers can graduate to reading The Indian Express, The Hindu and The Times of India.

good readers also study better

Studies are also an important part of a child’s journey. Encouraging children not just to byheart concepts, but explore and learn them is important. Letspractise is an online tool which allows parents to gauge understanding level of concepts. It also helps to reinforce learning gaps with personally customized worksheets. Boards supported are CBSE/ICSE/State/IGCSE. Grades supported are 1st to 10th.

               Visit the site or download the Letspractise app, or call 9168803366. We are happy to assist you. 

Why rest is important for a student.

The power of rest

Have you ever seen the grinder-mixer at work in the kitchen? When it roars into action, the blade moves at a rotational speed of eighteen to twenty-three thousand revolutions per minute (rpm). After moving at that speed, the machine has to be switched off within a minute. Touch the machine when it is off. You will find that it is hot.

The machine has to cool properly in order to be ready for use again.

Depending on the speed and duration for which a machine is run, there is an appropriate rest period during which the motor cools. Any effort to run the machine beyond capacity would lead to the motor being automatically switched off, or to burn out. Our body and brain are similar to the machines we utilise.

A day in the life of a student

You start your day with activity, you eat your breakfast, you hurry to school, you sit in class, run out to play during recess and at the day’s end, you run home. Since it is so important to revise and practise at least one or two subjects a day, you do that. In the evening, your friends call you to play and you are off. Add to this, some online gaming and Whatsapp time.

Your body-mind machine has been busy and active for almost twelve to fourteen hours. It needs time to rest.

When we are overworked, we too should switch off. Instead, our bodies try to adapt. Not in a good way. Let’s see what happens when we don’t rest enough:

Confusion

Young people will find themselves getting angry, forgetting where they kept things, forget what they were meant to complete. Nothing will seem right. You feel like snacking on sweets although you just ate your lunch. You are thirsty but confuse it with hunger and start demanding more food. You feel confused because you aren’t really hungry. You know something doesn’t feel right, but aren’t sure what it is.

Unable to sleep though tired

You are tired but sleep won’t come. Also, you have too much work to do. Insufficient sleep causes a chemical called cortisol to increase. Cortisol increases our breathing capacity and we feel up and ready to run. But there is nothing to run from or to run for. This is because the brain misunderstood the requirement. Instead of staying quiet and letting you sleep, the brain has been told that you have to move fast. Actually, what you wanted was to sleep well and wake early to finish your backlog.

Reduced athletic performance

Let’s say you are on the sports team. Obviously, the load on you is higher. Homework and classes will continue. Maybe you have a backlog of classwork to complete. All this adds to your waking hours and before you know it, shows up in how you play.

Have you heard of Serena Williams, the tennis champ? She spends a large part of her day exercising and in practice sessions. She goes to sleep at 7 pm and makes sure to get undisturbed, high quality rest. Most athletes sleep anywhere between 7 to 8 hours with short quick naps in the course of the day.

What should you as a student do?

One weekend, do an experiment. Check how much time you need before you wake up feeling rested. Small children usually need 10 to 12 hours and as they grow, it seems to reduce. However, once teenage approaches, the sleep requirement increases. That’s because the brain and body are working overtime to help a growth surge to occur. We are not supposed to disrupt this effort.

What to do?

Check yourself

This means stopping for a moment and doing a personal check. Are your eyes tired? Does your mouth feel dry? Are you hungry? Where exactly are you uncomfortable? Take a little water, is that your need? Eat a little, does it make you feel better? Though this skill is usually taught to babies, in the rush of day to day life, it gets missed out. Why, even grownups mistake thirst for hunger. We get used to doing things at a certain time and try to run on automatic. When things get busy, like school fairs and competitions or major exams, the self-check is forgotten. And a glitch sets in.

Rest a bit

Feeling frazzled? Aren’t sure what’s wrong? Go to bed, take ten deep breaths. With each inward breath, make your stomach balloon up and with each exhalation, let it rest again. If you fall asleep while doing this, maybe you need it. Keep an alarm for 15 minutes so you are able to get up and finish what you had to.

If you do not fall asleep but are feeling better, maybe you just needed to breathe a little more. In fact, though breathing is an autonomous function, sometimes we just don’t breathe that well. Our brain doesn’t get the required amount of oxygen.

Stop ‘trying’ to rest

The exam is tomorrow and you cannot afford to lie down. You just don’t have time. It is okay, you know you can rest after a short spurt like this. Get up and do twenty jumping jacks. It will force you to get more oxygen into your system and help you to be more alert with your work.

Just as athletes have a rigorous practice followed by good rest habit, as students with high practise and rest needs, set up your own sleep system.

 

Chandrayaan 2 – what can we learn from it?

So much information, so many emotions, people sat glued to their televisions in utter suspense…..eager to learn some news. And… oh no, a collective cry of disappointment. Many people were sad.

The country had lost its reputation in the list of superpowers.

The country had failed.

Do you agree? First let’s see what the hue and cry is about.

What and why

What was the mission about? Why was it important?

The first Indian mission to the moon, Chandrayaan 1 had provided evidence of water molecules on the moon. Chandrayaan 2 was to further study the extent of water distribution on the moon. The process was expected to increase our understanding of space and allow for more collaboration with other nations. In short, this was an exploratory mission designed to learn and instigate further missions.

A space mission involves more than a decade of groundwork, understanding the conditions through which the vehicle must operate,  simulations and finally, take-off. Sounds a bit like school work, doesn’t it? As students, you have the initial groundwork of understanding the subject. Knowing and managing the distractions that will certainly come in the way. Regular practise sessions and finally, the test.

Collaboration

Did you know that the orbiter wasn’t all Indian? The lander was originally supposed to be from Russia, but they backed out and finally, India went ahead with the design of Vikram Lander. Two instruments were from NASA. 

In a project of this size and complexity, expertise and resources are sought from across the world. Do you know why? Because no one person can claim to have all the knowledge. It’s as simple as that. 

Similarly, when you have a project to complete or face a subject that just won’t go into your head, collaborate. When concepts are fuzzy and you are losing the will to practise, collaborate. Usually collaboration works by finding someone who has understood and is good at teaching.

Resources are everywhere, don’t limit yourself to your friends and the few other people you know. It is possible that the person who doesn’t talk to you, ever, can actually teach you.

Keep trying

There have been many missions to the moon. A hundred and nine.

Only sixty-one have been successful. Only forty-six of the missions were meant to land on the moon and return samples of rock to earth. Twenty-one did.

The idea of success varies. At first, the question was, can we land a man on the moon? Yes! And that was success. For one country, the purpose was just to achieve flyby. Once the first question was answered, the question changed. With that, what constituted success changed.

What is success?

Success then is about identifying the question only you want to answer, nobody else.

As you grow older, let your mind travel. And don’t forget the basics, understand well, practise to perfection.

What does this tell us? There is a group that refuses to sit back and say, ‘Oh, they did it already. There is nothing left to be done.’ Instead it asks, ‘What can I do?’

They keep asking, exploring, seeking, finding answers, dropping some, fixing on others.

The scientists at ISRO are the best in the country. Why would a group of scientists put their effort into sending an orbiter to the moon? Failure can appear at any moment. There are far easier, less risky options available.

Do they do it to please someone at home? Because they will get a bigger car or house? Or are they motivated by being a part of an exercise that goes beyond themselves?

What is success for a student?

When you, as a student get tired of the study and regular practice or limit free time to learn for an immediate test, do you think of what you are doing and why?

Why should you streamline your day so that you can enjoy both work and play?

We often ask children what they would like to do when they grow up. Become an artist? Mathematician, maybe? Haven’t really thought so far ahead? Oh, then try medicine, or engineering. And the young person doesn’t like those options either.

Sometimes, the answer doesn’t lie there.

Would you like to ask instead, what question do I want to answer? And let your mind wander. The questions may arise from the world around us, from within a circle of people you know. Clouds, trees, birds, computer games, machines at home, anywhere. You might land up with many questions from different sources and decide, oh, that one is what really interests me.

So…..was Chandrayaan 2 a failure? What did we learn from it?

Let’s talk about what’s not working. The lander reached the ground at a higher than desirable speed. There may be some damage. It was tasked with directing and relaying the findings of the Pragyan rover, and it may not be able to play its part. The area it occupies offers harsh temperatures and a rocky terrain.

Let’s see what’s working. The orbiter is relaying high resolution images back to earth. Can it answer the question about water? Maybe it can. Maybe the evidence will be inconclusive.

Time will tell

So how can anyone label the mission a failure or success?

We must realise that the view of the world is limited. Celebrating only success takes away from all that we can learn from the journey.

This question will come up in your mind, am I successful? Maybe you cleared a tough exam but are unsure of the future, maybe you got accepted at a prestigious institute. The answer is  – time will tell. A lot depends on your adaptability to a challenging, unknown environment.

 

– Contributed by aspiring author, Shobna S. Iyer

Parents & Students React to Marks on Board Exam 2019

At last! The CBSE results for Class X and XII are out and a sigh of relief escapes the lips of parents, teachers, and students.

A total of 31,14,831 candidates had registered for both 10th and 12th CBSE Board Exam out of which 12,87,359 had appeared for CBSE XII Board Exam and 18,27,472 candidates for the Class X Board Exam.

On a whole, CBSE X results have shown a marked improvement of 4.4% over the last year, with the overall pass percentage being 91%. On the all India level, 13 students of CBSE class X have scored 499/500. Trivandrum hosted the highest pass percentage of 99.85% followed by Chennai with 99%.

Parents POV

Parents were surprised when the exam results for Class XII came out early on May 2, 2019, and claim to have spent sleepless nights for 3 days since then, as you can see in this video. Their long wait was over when the class X results were declared on May 6th at 2:15 pm by the CBSE.

Parents felt that children with potential can easily be recognized early as performers usually scored more than 80% in the school exams, thereby demonstrating their caliber. Such students should be motivated to strive harder and parent should goad them gently in a positive manner without applying too much pressure on them.

As for CBSE XII, 83.4% of the candidates who appeared for the exam cleared it successfully. Toppers gave full credit to the parents and teachers for supporting them fully and motivating them throughout their journey to the top.

The Secret of Success for Students

Almost all toppers attributed their success to meticulous planning, diligent hard work, and continuous practice. Working out practice papers from various online practice websites and portals helped them in the long run.

As Chennai topper Karthik Balaji puts it, “During the run-up to the exams, I was preparing for a few entrance examinations as well and this helped me keep in touch with all the subjects thoroughly. Before tackling any lesson, I made sure I was strong in the basic concepts required.” He also said that “If you pay attention in class, most of the work is done.”

Class X topper Gautham Raghuvanshi from Uttar Pradesh stated emphatically that “avoiding distractions from social media and gaming was the key to success”. His magic mantra was “Hard work, continuous practice, and talent“.

Success in CBSE exam comes with regular practice, dedication and hard work. It requires more perseverance and perspiration than intellect or intelligence. This has been constantly proved by the top performers who have excelled in these exams with consistent practice.

As the saying goes, “Genius is 1% inspiration and 99% perspiration”. Students must work with determination and practice regularly to scale the summit of success in CBSE X and XII exams.

Hurdles Faced

The CBSE Class XII Physics and Accountancy paper had been reportedly difficult and lengthy and some parents had taken it up with the Board. Despite this, many students who worked hard got amazing grades in both subjects.

While we talk of the success stories, we should also take a look at the other side of the coin. Poor performers in Math and Science subjects are often filtered out in Class IX and asked to repeat the class or leave the school in order to ensure that the school gets a centum pass percentage.

According to Mr. Vasudevan, Principal of Prince Matriculation school, Chennai, these marching orders are given as “weak students find it very difficult to perform in Class IX if they do not score well in Class IX in important subjects.”  

So, in order to avoid such unpleasant situations, parents and teachers must start training students on core subjects like Maths and Science from class 6 onward with regular tests, practice questions, revisions, etc.

Utilize Performance Enhancing Sites

Online practice sites are one of the best ways to identify and improve weak areas and test your knowledge. The earlier these are recognized, the better.

Here at LetsPractise, we offer lesson worksheets, revision papers, past question papers and modular tests to help students to gauge and strengthen their academic skills. One advantage of using our practice portal is that we have a huge reservoir of study material and questions collected from various sources and a  variety of subjects, including Maths, Science, History, and Languages.

We have a great many practice papers that are all available to the students at any time which enables them to practice the tests at their leisure. Students can work according to the convenience and pace that suits them.

We also provide the students with the opportunity to judge their skills on random tests which possess many questions that are not found in their books. Students can also fortify their weak areas using the concept and revision worksheets shared on these portals. Listen to the advice of parents, students, and teachers of this Board Exam and prepare students to perform well when their time comes. Contact us right away.