'Time-bound' but far from fair': Students, experts unhappy with CBSE assessment policy

Calling the policy unfair, they demanded entrance test-based admissions in central universities like Delhi University (DU). 

Published: 18th June 2021 03:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th June 2021 08:52 AM   |  A+A-

Public exams, SSLC exams, Kerala

Representational Image. (File | BP Deepu/EPS)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI:  Students are upset with CBSE’s assessment policy for Class XII board examinations this year, with hundreds of them voicing their unhappiness on social media.

Calling the policy unfair, they demanded entrance test-based admissions in central universities like Delhi University (DU). 

Aryan Kohli, a student of GD Goenka public school, Vasant Kunj said, “No student focuses on Class XI and many schools resort to tough marking in Class XI and XII pre-board exams. I can still understand Class XI marks being counted as the streams and subjects are the same, but why consider Class X marks?”

Shaurya Sharma of St. Marks School echoed the same views.

“Students’ performance changes after Class X. When I was in Class X, despite studying hard and preparing well, I could not score above 90 because of anxiety and fear as I was giving boards for the first time and was weak in math and science. That’s why I took Humanities stream. They should not consider Class X marks.”

Sharma said, “No student will take the option that they have given to appear for boards exams whenever it’s conducted because till then, universities would have completed their admission process. I think the government should implement the Central Universities Common Entrance Test now because universities like DU have very high cut-offs. I want to pursue Psychology and I don’t think I will secure a seat in DU if they conduct merit-based admissions.” 

Another student Preet Shukla said, “It is unfair. The only solution is to conduct entrance test based admissions.”

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) informed the Supreme Court on Thursday that it will be adopting a 30:30:40 formula for evaluation of marks for class 12 students based on results of class 10, 11 and 12 respectively.

Thirty per cent marks will be based on class 10 board exam, another 30 per cent from class 11 and 40 per cent marks based on the performance in the unit, mid-term and pre-board tests of class 12.

The exams for class 12 were cancelled by CBSE on June 1 in view of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

"The proposed methodology may seriously disadvantage students showing progress over a period of time. CBSE, as a system, has never rewarded consistency in performance. It was built on the concept of one high-stakes exam."

"To begin with, that is a wrong system. One cannot try to correct it with this kind of criterion, especially so in a year when the students have gone through so much trauma.

The evaluation criteria released by CBSE for class 10 was far superior," said Manit Jain, Chairman, FICCI ARISE, a collegium of stakeholders aimed at promoting quality education.

According to Vishnu Kartik, CEO of The Heritage schools, the criteria decided by CBSE achieves the limited objective of providing a time-bound implementable framework but it is far from being a fair and accurate methodology.

"The alternative formula for arriving at class 12 board exams is simple to implement and easy to understand. It achieves the limited objective of providing a time-bound implementable framework. But is it a fair and near accurate methodology? Far from it. Our past data shows that performance in class 11 or 10 is not a reasonable prediction of performance in class 12."

"There is no scientific reason to include the 'best of three' class 10 scores as it has no impact on many class 12 subjects," he said.

The silver lining of this proposed formula is in the hope that it can drive some long-term structural and cultural reforms.

For one, the suggested external moderation committee will bring in much-needed accountability in schools to strengthen internal assessment processes and hopefully, students realise the need to learn consistently across grades and not just for the final exams, Kartik said.

Rajat Goel, the Director of MRG School in Rohini said the criterion declared by CBSE and approved by the Supreme Court raises questions on some very important aspects.

"Students tend to get a little relaxed in class 11, hence the average passing percentage is slightly on the lower end.

Apart from this, subjects in class 10 like social science, and no demarcation of physics, chemistry and maths are entirely different from the ones in class 12.

"Additionally, there are vocational subjects like fine arts, physical education as well as in class 12 which gives students a chance to increase their overall score. All of this considered, this new evaluation criteria has stirred some relevant doubts and appear as not a fair assessment method for students seeking to build their future with these marks as a foundation," he said.

The board has decided that for class 10, the marks based on the average theory component of the best three performing subjects of the main five subjects would be considered and their weightage would be 30 per cent.

Shishir Jaipuria, the chairman of Seth Anandram Jaipuria Group of Educational Institutions said the decision to base 30 per cent marks on the best-of-three subjects in class 10 is a good one because the board exams provided a standard assessment.

"Classes 11 and 12 have integrated syllabus, and considering a student's performance in these classes makes it a very comprehensive evaluation. Moderation of class 11 and 12 marks is a relief to those students who could not perform well. I believe that a combination of these three should provide a reasonably fair assessment and reduce chances of a discrepancy between a student's academic potential and marks allotted," he said.

According to the policy decided by a 13-member panel set up by the board, the theory paper evaluation formula is 30 per cent weightage will be given to Class 10 marks, 30 percentage weightage to Class 11 marks and 40 per cent weightage to Class 12 marks obtained in unit test/mid-term/pre-board exams.

The CBSE scheme further elaborated that for Class 10, the 30 per cent marks based on average theory component of best three performing subjects out of main five subjects will be taken.

For Class 11, the 30 per cent marks based on theory component of final exam will be taken and for Class 12, the 40 per cent marks based on unit test/mid-term/pre-board exams will be taken.

"The marks of practical/internal assessment of Class XII will be on actual basis as uploaded by the school on the CBSE portal," the CBSE said, adding that the total marks awarded should be in consonance with the past performance of the school in class-XII board examinations.

In case, any student is not able to meet the qualifying criterion, he/she will be placed in "Essential Repeat" or "Compartment" Category.

The board has said that the subject wise marks assessed by the school for 2020-2021 should be within a range of +/-5 marks obtained by the students in the school in the subject in the reference year.

"However, the overall average marks for the school assessed in 2020-2021, for all the subjects, should not exceed the overall average marks obtained by the school by 2 marks in the specific reference year. In case, data for a school for only two years' is available then the best performance out of two years will be taken and in case, data is available for only one year, the same will be taken," it said.

The schools have been asked to form a five member result committee for finalising the results.

"CBSE will make available an online module to claim the honorarium which will be remitted directly into the account of committee members. As marks of class 11 and class 12, component will be awarded at school level, they will strictly not be comparable across schools due to the variations in the quality of question papers, the evaluation standard and processes, the mode of conduct of exams, etc."

"Therefore, to ensure standardisation, each school will have to internally moderate the marks to account for the school level variations by using a reliable reference standard," the policy said.

The CBSE has asked schools to finalise results and upload it on the portal by July 15 while the final result will be declared by July 31.

(With PTI Inputs)


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