Students found it hard to crack the Math code this year primarily due to a few one-mark questions, a tough syllabus under the Uniform School Education (USE) system and lack of basic application skills, according to a cross section of teachers.
“A few questions carrying one mark each were very tough,” contended V R Romald, a Maths teacher at the Carmel Garden Matriculation School, Coimbatore. Many missed out on centums by one or two marks.
Overall, only 1,141 students managed a full score in Mathematics compared to 18,838 students last year.
Elaborating on the decline in centums, Romald said the delay in issuing the books under the USE system added to woes of students.
According to M Tamil Vanan, Assistant Head Master of CSI Boys Higher Secondary School in Raja Street, the syllabus for Mathematics under the USE system was tougher compared to previous State Board (SSLC) syllabus. While students of the erstwhile Matriculation Board were able to cope with the revised syllabus, those from the State Board schools found the changeover difficult. Many students lost marks for steps in Math, said S Somasundari, Head Master of Corporation Girls Higher Secondary School in Ramakrishnapuram, Coimbatore, who also teaches Mathematics.
B Chandrasekar, Head Master of the Coimbatore Cloth Merchants Association Government Girls Higher Secondary School, Raja Street, said, “The question pattern for Science and Social Science subjects was less descriptive. Students answered the questions in one or two sentences and scored marks.”
Ponselvi M, Mathematics teacher at a Chennai school, said, “One of the questions asked them to find the Greatest Common Denominator, which is a class four topic. Since they were not able to apply what they have learned earlier, several of our students have scored 99.”
Ponselvi also said extensive rote learning hindered students’ ability to answer application-based questions. Whenever a new syllabus came into effect, the question paper was expected to be easy. This was not the case this year, she said. Inversely, the number of centums went up in the sciences. A total of 5,305 students (in SSLC) scored full marks in Social Science, while last year, under the old syllabus, only 756 managed to do the same. In science, the number nearly trebled, with 9,237 centums compared to last year’s 3,677. Margaret Samuel, a Social Sciences teacher said history and geography paper patterns were easy as there are more objectives to score full marks. The Science paper, too, was easy for similar reasons.