Will CBSE’s decision to scrap board exams have ripple effect on other state boards?

Fibo Quantum

Written by Ritika Chopra
| New Delhi |

Updated: June 27, 2020 7:14:28 pm

For the first time in its history, the CBSE has scrapped exams for Classes 10 and 12. (File image)

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), for the first time in its history, has scrapped exams for Classes 10 and 12. Ritika Chopra explains the CBSE’s alternate marking scheme and whether the decision to cancel exams could influence other State Boards.

How will CBSE mark students in subjects for which exams have not been conducted?

The CBSE has announced an assessment scheme for the cancelled examinations. The students, under this scheme, are divided into three categories.

Candidates who had finished exams in more than three subjects (pre-March 19) are in the first category. For them, the CBSE will award the average marks in the “best three performing subjects” to the cancelled examination. By best three, the Board means papers in which the student has scored the maximum marks.

Examinees who had finished exams in three subjects, before the COVID disruption, are a separate group. In this case, the average marks scored in “best two performing subjects” would go to the scrapped examinations. Again, by best two, the CBSE means subjects in which the student has scored the maximum marks.

The last category has candidates who could take a maximum of two exams until March 18. Their results would be calculated based on their performance in the (one or two) exams and the internal assessment.

Most subjects, in the CBSE exams, have about 20 to 30% marks set aside for internal assessment (usually practicals and project work).

How many Class 12 students will be graded under the special scheme?

About one-third of the 12.66 lakh Class 12 students had taken all their exams before the COVID disruption kicked in. The remaining candidates— about two-thirds of the total—will be marked under the special scheme. Among them, a majority of the students have finished exams in three or more subjects. There only 2,300 students, mostly from schools in the riot-affected areas of Northeast Delhi, who could take a maximum of two exams until March 18.

Could special marking scheme end up being unfair to students who could not take exams in “scoring subjects”?

A senior CBSE official, who spoke to The Indian Express on the condition of anonymity, says that’s unlikely. “If there are students who feel that the average marking is unfair, they have the option to take the Board exams at a later date. But if they opt for improvement, then their performance in the Board exams will be considered final,” the official said.

Unlike CISCE, CBSE didn’t consider grading students on performance in pre-board examinations? Why?

“Schools usually set tough question papers for the pre-board examination, and the marking scheme is conservative. They do this in a bid to prepare students for the Board exams. It would be unfair to use the performance in the pre-Boards for the final results. Moreover, nationally, there are 24,000 schools affiliated to the CBSE. It’s challenging to normalise results across so many institutions,” the CBSE official added.

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Will CBSE’s decision to scrap exams have a ripple effect on other State Boards?

As many as 18 states and union territories have already finished their Board exams for Class 12 students. These are Assam, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Goa, Gujarat, Himachal Pradesh, Jharkhand, Kerala, Meghalaya, Nagaland, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, Dadra & Nagar Haveli, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Puducherry and Karnataka. So nothing changes for their students.

But CBSE’s decision to cancel exams in July has already influenced one State Board. On Friday, the West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education followed suit. The state’s education minister said the move was based on the recommendations of an expert committee and the CBSE’s submission in the Supreme Court this week.

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