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What is PSA and how does it benefit students?

Problem Solving Assessment (PSA) is an examination designed by Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) for students in Classes IX and XI. The objective of this test is to evaluate some important life skills, including creative thinking, critical thinking, communication, and decision making, of students so that they can succeed in their life. Further, it is possible to gauge students’ ability to process, comprehend, and utilize information through the test. Ultimately, it is an endeavor to evaluate students beyond their book-based knowledge and empower them to manage various real-life challenges.

PSA is an objective test with the multiple-choice question format. Therefore, it helps students get a better idea of how to face different types of competitive examinations. Although no specific syllabus has been outlined by CBSE for PSA, the test is based on three main domains, comprising Language Conversion, Qualitative Reasoning, and Quantitative and Scientific Reasoning.

Some common features of PSA are as follows:

  • This test is compulsory for all students in classes IX and XI.
  • It contains 60 multiple choice questions and carries 60 marks.
  • It comprises assessments of some important skills, including creative thinking, decision making, critical thinking, communication, problem solving, and so on.
  • Its language assessment evaluates students’ knowledge of grammar, vocabulary, etc.
  • The PSA score is equally reflected on one language (either English or Hindi), Mathematics, Science, and Social Science.
  • With no CCE being available for students in Class XII, students in Class XI obtain a certificate, along with their score in the PSA test.

Benefits associated with PSA

The following are some benefits of PSA:

  • Traditional assessments are mainly aimed at identifying whether students have any disability or not. So, it is mainly a deficit-focused model. PSA, on the other hand, emphasizes the type of instruction a student requires to gain success in his/her school and life. Therefore, PSA is a success-focused model, which is a major benefit of this format.
  • PSA lays more emphasis on a student’s strength and competence rather than his/her deficits or weakness. This ultimately goes a long way in shaping students’ future.
  • It directly focuses on the kind of instruction required for students to succeed.
  • The process of monitoring students’ progress is easier in the PSA system, as it offers a baseline measure of a student’s competence and knowledge.
  • Last but not the least; this model provides an effective platform for inculcating various essential life skills—such as critical thinking, decision making, problem solving, etc.—into students.

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