Puzzling Maths Paper After a Difficult Chemistry Exam

Published: 19th March 2016 04:33 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th March 2016 04:33 AM   |  A+A-

CHENNAI: The Tamil-medium students who took the Class XII State Board mathematics exam on Friday complained that a 6-mark question seemed incomplete in the Tamil version.

The English version of question (no 43) asked the students to find the co-ordinates of the intersection point of a line vector and a plane vector. However, the Tamil version of the question did not specify if the vectors were line vector or plane vector, confusing the students.

“Without this detail, it would be almost impossible for a student to solve the problem by assuming that it would be a line vector by just looking at the equation pattern,” said Tamil Sundaram, a government school mathematics teacher.

Teachers also complained that the 6-mark ‘creative’ (application-oriented) question was asked based on contents which were removed from the revised version of the textbooks that students got this academic year (2015-16).

The question was, “If every element of a group is its own inverse then prove that the group is abelian.”

“The answer for this question is based on ‘theorems on group theory’ which existed in older versions of the textbook and removed this year. So, the students would have had no idea on how to solve this question,” said a maths teachers who is part of the team that prepares answer keys for board exams.

The teacher added that though the present textbooks mention reversal laws which can be used to solve the problem, most students were not taught the topic which would be introduced only during their first year in an engineering college.

A Class XII student from a private school in Adyar said, “The creative question in the 10-mark section was based on differential equations which was difficult and time-consuming.”

Teachers from this private school told Express that even by setting aside these two controversial questions, overall the students found the 6-mark section tough as several unexpected questions were asked which never appeared in the minimal learning material provided by the Department of School Education.

They added that these confusions, after a tough chemistry paper had dampened the spirit of students, particularly those from flood-hit areas.

Controversial Questions

■ Question Number 43: Tamil version did not mention if it was a line or plane vector

■  Question Number 52: Solution based on contents removed from the latest version of the official text book.

■ Question Number 43: Tamil version did not mention if it was a line or plane vector

■  Question Number 52: Solution based on contents removed from the latest version of the official text book.

Students only hoped that the evaluation would be liberal and the Tamil Nadu Directorate of Government Examinations (TNDGE) would allow grace marks for these two controversial questions in the maths paper.

‘Engineering cut-off might tumble’

With a challenging maths paper following a tough chemistry paper, experts predicted that the students’ engineering cut-off might tumble this year. The board exam scores of Class XII students in three subjects((chemistry, mathematics and physics) were considered for calculating the cut-off scores based on which students were admitted in engineering colleges. “Since students were left with no option but to score more than 195 out of 200 in Physics to compensate for low scores in the other two papers, there was immense pressure on them now,” said a city-based private school teacher.  The educationist Prince Gajendra Babu said there was no fault with question paper setters as the TNDGE had alerted earlier that students shouldn’t depend only on book exercise questions, but the schools had not prepared the students adequately to answer application-oriented questions.


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