CHENNAI: The number of Class 12 students who scored very high marks in the Board exams, results of which were released Wednesday, fell sharply this year. Only 47 students in the Science stream scored above 1,180 marks (out of 1,200). Last year, the figure was 474. In Commerce stream too, only 184 students scored above 1,180 marks against 696 last year.
The overall pass percentage too fell by 1 per cent to 91.1 per cent compared to 92.1 per cent last year. Over 40 per cent of students scored less than 700 marks in 2018 compared to 31.45 per cent in 2017. School education minister KA Sengottaiyan said this was “beneficial in the long run.”
The results were in sharp contrast to recent years when liberal evaluators awarded a mammoth number of students centum scores in key subjects such as Maths and Physics. School education department officials reasoned that the change was due to inclusion of more analytical questions in this year’s exams, as opposed to previous years when only questions from the end of the book chapters were asked.
“We are gradually moving towards asking more analytical questions that will allow students to think,” said D Vasundradevi, director of Government Examinations. This will equip them to face competitive exams such as NEET and JEE, she said.
The plan to make question papers more thought-provoking goes back to 2011, she said, however, it was never followed as natural calamities struck different parts of the State one year after another. “We did not want to introduce tough question papers when students were battling floods or drought or were in shock about having to prepare for NEET,” she said.
Officials said that the shift towards analytical questions in the Class 12 exam would be help prepare students for competitive exams.Speaking to reporters earlier in the day, School Education Minister KA Sengottaiyan said, “Though some may have found the question papers tough compared to the previous year, it will help students in the longer run.”
However, it might take a few years for students to get accustomed to this type of questioning, opined P Ilangovan from Joint Action Committee of Tamil Nadu Teachers’ Organisation. “The higher order thinking questions were pulled from inside the chapters and not from frequently asked questions,” he told Express.
Meanwhile, the school education department, for second consecutive year, did not publish the list of toppers with the aim of preventing unhealthy competition and stress. “Students get disheartened with a difference of even one mark and schools were banking on these scores for marketing. So we decided to do away with ranks,” said a senior official from the School Education Department.The number of students who scored centums were also not released this year.
When Express contacted a top official from the Directorate of Government Examination, the official said that the number of centums in subjects was not even collected this year. “There isn’t much difference between a student who scores 99 and 100. We didn’t think it was necessary to collect the data at this point,” the official said. The department also issued a notification that any school or institution that releases a ranking list independently for marketing purposes will be penalised.
TNEA cut-offs will be lower
The decrease in overall number of high scorers also means that the cut-off marks for Tamil Nadu Engineering Admissions 2018 will be lower. Since the number of students who have scored over 1,180 in science stream has reduced to a tenth, it may also pull down the cut-off mark. However, cut-off rank is likely to remain the same, said a senior official from TNEA.
“Community ranking will also play a crucial role in admissions. Depending on their marks and community ranking, they will be more eligible for colleges that fall in their range. They can use previous year’s data to find colleges that have more chances of getting into,” the official said.
Government helplines inundated with calls
Chennai: As on Wednesday evening, the government 104 helpline received around 4,600 calls and the School Education Department’s newly set up 14417 helpine around 9,005 calls, according to a senior official. While the 104 helpline continues to offer emotional support and guidance to dejected students, the 14417 helpline, set up earlier this year, offers education-related guidance. According to the official, queries over courses other than the usually opted courses such as Electronics and Communication Engineering, were on the rise. “There were a lot of queries on lateral courses, defence services and also in the allied health services this time around. More students seem to be exploring the road less travelled,” he said.
Girl kills self, allegedly upset over poor marks
Chennai: An 18-year-old girl committed suicide by hanging at her house in MKB Nagar on Wednesday allegedly because she got less marks than her friend in her Class 12 board examination. T Priyanka, a student of a private school in Parrys, allegedly competed with her friend in the class. “She got 819 marks in the exam. While her parents were happy about their daughter clearing the exam, she was complaining that she had got less marks than what she anticipated. Unfortunately, upset over the less marks, she killed herself by hanging in the room,” said a police officer. The body was sent it to Stanley government hospital. Priyanka’s father is a contract worker in the Corporation and her mother a domestic servant.