Reports on two papers being leaked and the CBSE ordering a retest of the Class 10 mathematics and the Class 12 economics paper have led to an unprecedented crisis in the education sector. Here are the answers to some frequently asked questions on the annual school exams conducted by the all-India board:
Q: How many students appeared for the CBSE board exams in 2018?
A: CBSE is the biggest education board in the country conducting 24 types of exams annually, including the NEET exams for admission to medical colleges. The board is, however, popular for conducting Class 10 and Class 12 exams of schools affiliated to it.
This year, 16,38,428 students are appearing for the Class 10 board exams and 11,86,306 students for the Class 12 exams.
Q: What is the duration of the exams?
A: Examinations for both Class 10 and Class 12 started on March 5. The Class 10 exams were scheduled to conclude on April 4 and the Class 12 exams on April 13.
Q: When does the process of preparing the questions start?
A: The preparation begins at least six months before the commencement of the board exams and as soon as the registration for the board exams ends at the school level.
Q: How are the question papers set?
A: The questions are framed, examined and finalised in two stages. In the first stage, CBSE sets up a four-five member committee, comprising school and college teachers, for each subject. The committee prepares a question bank, arranges them into three sets of question paper for Delhi schools, for the rest of the country and for overseas schools.
In the second stage, the questions are checked by an expert committee constituted by the CBSE to see if laid-down standards have been followed with regard to the syllabus, difficulty level and length of the paper. The question sets are then finalised by the committee maintaining upmost secrecy.
Q: How are the question paper sets different from each other?
A: As against the earlier practice when 70 per cent of the questions would vary from one set to another, the questions now prepared remain largely the same, except for the sequencing. The leakage of any one set makes the rest of the question sets also vulnerable.
Q: Procedures followed in the run-up to the exams?
A: In accordance with standard procedure, the question papers are received at the examination centres in sealed packets and opened in the presence of at least four assistant superintendents -- one of them being from the school other than the examination centre as a witness.
Appointments of full-time observers are also made at sensitive centres in Delhi and outside. The Board also remains in touch with the state machinery and local police to ensure trouble-free examinations throughout the country.