New Delhi: If the highly competitive environment among students was not enough, it has now emerged that not just students, even boards have a separate race going on amongst themselves. What’s concerning is that this trend is that state boards competing amongst each other has apparently led to the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) inflating marks to safeguard its students from any sort of disadvantage.
According to a TOI report, state and other educational boards are being given both 'moderation' and 'grace' liberally, prompting the CBSE to inflate the marks of its students. Reports also point to a very unhealthy competition brewing among various school boards in the name of ‘standardisation’.
Be it the 'topper scam' in Bihar or reports suggesting that up to 80 per cent of students admitted to DU's Shri Ram College of Commerce so far are from Tamil Nadu board, the unhealthy competition is killing productivity among students.
While schools are increasingly resorting to liberal marking in the board examinations, CBSE has officially denied that its standardisation process was in part a response to the liberal marking by other boards.
As per the TOI report, CBSE gave as many as 16 extra marks in the class XII maths exam this year in the all-India set of papers and 15 marks in the Delhi set as part of its process of standardisation.
In nine subjects, marks were 'standardised' up by more than 10 per cent. As a result of the standardisation, a student with 77 marks in mathematics may have ended up getting 93 marks on the result sheet. Similarly, a student of business studies who would have otherwise got 80 marks may have finally got as much as 92 marks in the subject.
Although CBSE doesn't bunch subjects according to streams, a candidate with physics, chemistry, mathematics and English core from Delhi region may have ended up with a cumulative of 42 'extra' marks, a spike of over 10 percentage points in best of four aggregate.
Similarly, a student from the all-India pool with accountancy , business studies, economics, mathematics and English core combination could have a cumulative 49 'moderated' marks, again a nearly 10 percentage point gain overall.
Although there has always been moderation in marks to even out different levels of difficulty and other factors in an exam of such huge scale, sources said the exercise was conducted judiciously in the past. "It would never lead to an increase of more than five marks," said a former CBSE chairman.
However, the minutes of the board's result committee meeting disapprove this claim. It says, "...members were of the opinion that the statistics shown will lead to CBSE's students in disadvantageous position in higher education in comparison to the students of other boards (like ICSE, UP board etc) who had given both moderation and grace liberally to their students."
According to reports, former CBSE chairman Ashok Kumar Ganguly has called up the HRD ministry and the Council of Boards of School Education in India to discuss ways to counter this problem.
"There is a very unhealthy competition going on between the state and national boards. This should be nipped in the bud. We have seen what is happening in one of the colleges, where 75% to 80% of students are from a single board. This calls for a rationalization of marks before things worsen," Ganguly said.
Experts further suggest that the exercise of moderation should never exceed 5 per cent. Its specific purpose is in case of difference in difficulty level within different sets of question papers and not because other boards are giving high marks. Ganguly has also called for CBSE putting up the moderated marks for each subject and the reasons on its website.