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What is OTBA in CBSE class-9 and class-11

CBSE has received many queries about Open Text-Based Assessment in class-9 and class-11. Some frequently asked questions about OTBA have been replied by CBSE through their official website. These replies will help the users what is OTBA and how it will affect the marking scheme of the subjects concerned for OTBA.

 Frequently Asked Questions

Query 1:

The prescribed syllabus of Class IX for the Session 2013-2014 in the Secondary Curriculum Document 2015 states that the question paper will include a section on Open Text Based Assessment (2 questions of 7 marks each). But the new material shows that the Question paper will contain 2 questions of 5 marks each i.e. the total of 10 marks. Now out of these, which one is required to be followed by the schools?


As per Circular No. 53 dated 8th August, 2013, the question papers in main subjects at Summative Assessment II will be of 90 marks (in English, of 70 marks + 20 marks for ASL) based on prescribed syllabus and question paper design.

(ii) The question paper in each main subject will have a separate section of 10 marks for Open-Text-based Assessment (OTBA). The schools have been asked to follow the instruction given in that Circular.

Query 2:

Will the OTBA marks will also be part of Summative Assessment I? If these are parts of SAI then what will be the maximum marks for each subject 90 or 100? If not then how these marks will be reflected in the Report Card?


The OTBA has been introduced in Summative Assessment II only. Hence till further directions are issued, SA I will be of 90 Marks only. The Report Card will reflect grade points/ grades based on Students performance in Formative Assessments 1,2,3,4 and Summative Assessments I and II.

Query 3:

Are students allowed to carry the Open text material with them to the examination Centre? Whether questions will be based on the same text material supplied to the schools?


As specified in the Circular No. 53, the question paper in each main subject will have a separate section of 10 marks for open-text-based assessment (OTBA). The OTBA section will comprise of text material accompanied by 2-3 questions based on that text. Hence, there is no need of carrying the Open Text material to the Examination Centre. The questions will be based on one of the two themes of open text material supplied to students in advance.

Query 4:

Why is OTBA introduced in any three subjects of Class XI? Why not in all the subjects?


It has been decided to introduce OTBA in Class XI in only three subjects. Based on the feedback from teachers and students, the decision to extend it to more subjects will be taken.

Query 5:

The Board has been placing more importance on assessment of higher order thinking skills. Is not recalling and remembering important for students?


The importance of recalling and remembering cannot be denied in the teaching learning process. Based on the knowledge of facts, figures, events, etc., that the learner is able to further process it, derive meaningful information and apply to new situations for further enrichment and extension of his learning. Hence it is very important that knowledge of facts and events is integral to the teaching learning process and used as a base to acquire more indepth information and skills.

Query 6:

With the introduction of OTBA the stress on students has increased as they will be required to attempt more questions in the same time duration.


The OTBA aims to reduce the learning stress on students in many ways. With the supply of text material to students in advance, sufficient time is given to students to process it and link the learnt concepts to given situation. Since the text material is also part of the Question paper, the student is relieved from the burden of remembering the content given there in. As far as attempting more questions within the same time is concerned, the Board wishes to assure you that every care will be taken to ensure that the question paper along with OTBA section is completed within the given time limit.

Query 7:

OTBA is introduced only in two languages, Hindi and English of Class IX. Can the school, not offering these two languages, assess students on Open Text material developed by them in other languages offered?


OTBA is an alternative mode of assessment which can be tried by teachers in any subject of their choice in formative assessment/s. However, as far as Summative Assessment is concerned, the question paper will be set as per the prescribed design and syllabus.

Query 8:

Will the questions in examination be based on the open text material supplied to students?


The questions under OTBA Section will not be directly based on the text material supplied. Rather it will test the students’ ability to apply the learnt concepts to the situation given in the open text material. The students will be tested on their ability to comprehend, analyze and interpret the given situation and offer suggestions and opinions on the given issues based on their knowledge of concepts.

Query 9:

How will OTBA help the slow learners?


The role of teachers is to motivate all sections of learners and provide opportunities to students to apply theoretical concepts to a real-life scenario by encouraging active and group learning in the Class. It is expected that through cooperative learning and teachers’ encouragement and guidance, all students will strive ahead to achieve expected levels of learning.

Query 10:

How should teachers take up open text material in class room situation?


The teachers are expected to read, discuss and analyze the open test material with respect to:

Their objectives.

Concepts involved

Application of concepts to situation

Description and further explanation of the Case/problem

Higher Order thinking skills involved.

Analysis with different perspectives.

 They should then assign them to students in groups for further analysis and discussions.

Query 11:

Are the sample questions on OTBA uploaded by the Board for classes IX & XI final or the Board will again supply questions for annual examination?


The Questions given along with the Open Text Material in different subjects are only as Samples. The teachers are expected to use them as base and develop more such open ended questions for use by students. The Examination Questions will be different from the ones given as Samples.

Query 13:

The Board has announced that there will be OTBA in all the main subjects in class IX, but questions in Sanskrit is not there. So whether OTBA will be only in Hindi or the Board will supply the same for Sanskrit also?


The OTBA has been introduced at present in the five main subjects of Secondary level, ie, Hindi, English, Mathematics, Science and Social Science. For rest of the subjects/languages, the teachers are expected to follow prescribed syllabus and question paper design.

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