PSA CBSE 2015-16 Problem Solving Assessment

by Heena Bhatnagar

The Central Board of Secondary Education introduced PSA (Problem Solving Assessment) in 2013 for assessing life skills of students of class 9 & 11. As a concept, it is new though still remains a pen-paper tests with one distinction that the paper will be set and sent to schools by the board and will be assessed by the board itself. The schools have no role to play in these assessments except in conducting the test. It forms a part of the third and fourth formative assessments and will test the co-scholastic knowledge of the students.

 Last year CBSE PSA 2014-15 was conducted on November 20, 2014 in all CBSE affiliated schools.

Latest Update: PSA for academic session 2015-16 scrapped

PSA CBSE 2015-16 Problem Solving Assessment

Problem Solving Assessment which is widely known as PSA was introduced by Central Board of Secondary education in the year 2013 to assess the life skills of students. The main reason behind the introduction of this system was to test the creative thinking, communication skills and decision making process of the students. The items included in the test aim to assess students’ ability to process, interpret and use information rather than assessing their prior subject matter knowledge.

PSA is only conducted for the students of Class 9 and Class 11. Through this initiative CBSE has tried to reduce the pressure on the overall assessment of a child purely academic ground and shift the focus more towards Formative Assessments, as in Class 9 and 10. There is NO separate registration for appearing in PSA. A nominal fee of Rs.100 per student for appearing in PSA is to be submitted by the school at the time of submission of other details.

The problem solving assessment Score will be counted towards FA-4 which is 10% of total assessments of Class 9. The same shall be carried forward towards the FA-4 in Class 10. The score will be reflected in one Language Hindi or English, Mathematics, Science and Social Science. The students of Class 11 are issued a separate certificate for the same.

Features of CBSE PSA 2014-15

Realizing the importance of comprehensive evaluation for students which is not just based on end term exams; CBSE had launched CCE (Continuous and comprehensive evaluation) for the students of classes 9th and 11th. Several changes were made to the system when this program was launched and PSA is also another initiative under the CCE. The aim of CCE is to develop students’ personality by providing them all round development.

Thus, PSA aims at an aspect of all round development where the students are attempting to understand the level of their problem solving and analytical skills. In this context itself, CBSE had launched PSA as a part of the CCE that will help students’ develop a practical and applications based knowledge for themselves.

  • PSA was launched in 2012 and during this year, it was optional for schools and students to take it but starting the year 2013, it has been made compulsory for schools to take it as a part of their third and fourth formative assessments.
  • PSA is compulsory assessment test for the students of Class 9 and Class 11
  • Total Questions: 60
  • Total Marks: 90
  • Timings: 10.00A.M. to 12.00 noon
  • PSA will comprise one question paper with following domains:
    • Qualitative
    • Quantitative
    • Language conventions
  • The assessment in English or Hindi includes items to test grammar, usage, vocabulary in context and passage completion.
  • Type of Question Paper: Bilingual.

PSA Marking Scheme & Syllabus

PSA Class 9 Syllabus: The syllabus for 9th class is common for all students. The questions will be based on Science and Math along with a passage in English from ancient literature. The questions can span from any topic of the two subjects and are not subjected to the information that is delivered to students through textbooks.

PSA Class 11 Syllabus: Irrespective of the stream a student has opted for, the test will contain questions from Physics, Chemistry, Maths. Again, the questions can span from any topic, not specific to what the students have learned in the classroom.

The PSA is a part of FA that holds 10% of the total marks. It will assess the following areas:-

  1. Quantitative Reasoning (found in mathematics, science and technology)
  2. Qualitative Reasoning (found in humanities, arts and social sciences)
  3. Language Conventions

The paper will consist of 60 questions that will have to be answered in 90 minutes. The following is the breakdown of the paper:

Question Type

Number of items

Sub Total

Qualitative Reasoning :

-          Stand alone MCQs

-          Passage based MCQ Set #1

-          Passage based MCQ Set #2








Quantitative Reasoning:

-          Stand alone MCQs

-          Passage based MCQs Set #1

-          Passage based MCQs Set #2








Language Conventions :

-          Grammar & Usage MCQs

-          Vocabulary in Context based MCQs

-          Passage completion based MCQs









How CBSE PSA is helpful?

  • PSA is helpful in the way that the questions that are being asked in CBSE PSA have been designed in such a way that they help in improving the general and higher order thinking skills (HOTS). The same shall also result in improving scores within the core school subjects.
  • Improvement in PSA Score: Moreover the students who are presently studying in class 10 and 12 in the current session and if they have not scored well good marks in CBSE PSA while in Class 9 or Class 11 also gets a chance to improve their score in PSA during the current session.


Is there any separate syllabus or timetable for CBSE PSA?

No separate time table or periods for teaching or practice of PSA in schools is conducted. Moreover CBSE has not specified any specific Syllabus for `Problem Solving Assessment’ (CBSE-PSA). The question paper will be planned to evaluate the following areas:

  • Quantitative Reasoning           
  • Qualitative Reasoning
  • Language Conventions

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