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Testing times

Since CBSE’s announced its decision to cancel Class X board exams and evaluate students based on internal assessments and their performance in various tests held throughout the year, scores of parents and students have been confused and dismayed.

Worried parents have been ringing up school principals flagging their concerns about the board’s new marks distribution formula for the students.

“My son couldn’t attend most of the Class X pre-board exams conducted last year as he was down with fever. His performance in the periodic tests was not also up to the mark. If CBSE is considering the marks of those exams won’t it affect my son’s final grades? He was confident of getting good marks in the board exam, but they cancelled it,” says a parent. CBSE announced its ‘Policy for Tabulation of Marks’ on May 1 in the wake of cancelling Class X exams, entrusting for the first time schools with the final assessment of students based on internal marks and marks secured in periodic tests.

Though teachers say the new method is expected to serve CBSE’s intended purpose of “delivering fair and unbiased results in the time of the pandemic”, they agree that it is a challenge to complete the final tabulation of the marks within the stipulated time frame of one month. The process involves lots of do’s and don’ts, besides a slew of mathematical calculations as CBSE wants to ensure that no school indulges in manipulating the results in its favour. To make the entire process seamless, CBSE has begun conducting training sessions to school authorities explaining each step.

“It is going to be an arduous task for the schools, especially when the staff are working from home due to the pandemic. But what is even more challenging is to convince the parents and students about the process and assuring them it will be fair. We have been answering numerous calls and are planning to conduct a meeting for explaining to parents and students about the system,” says Juby Paul, principal of ToC-H Public School, Ernakulam.

According to CBSE, the students will be assessed out of maximum 100 marks for each subject. The internal assessment for 20 marks for each subject will be as per the existing policy, whereas the remaining 80 marks will be calculated based on the students’ performance in periodic test/ unit test (10 marks), half yearly/ mid-term examinations (30 marks) and pre-board or model examinations (40 marks).

CBSE has asked the schools to form an eight-member ‘results committee’ — consisting of the principal, two language teachers, three core subject teachers and two teachers from other schools—for tabulating the results. It has also specified that the final marks should be in consonance with the historical performance of school in Class X board exams.

Sreekumar Kartha, principal of Global Public School, Thiruvaniyoor, says the schools are expected to provide a fair and objective assessment of the students and have been given the autonomy and flexibility to do so. But to take care of the variations in school-level evaluation processes, CBSE has standardized the scores across schools through a process of moderation of marks and using a reliable reference standard.

“The historical performance of the school, in terms of best overall performance in the previous three years’ Class X board exams, will be taken as the reference benchmark for assessment this year,” says Kartha.

The subject-wise marks assessed by the school for 2021 should be within a range of plus/minus 2 marks obtained by the school in the subject in the reference year. But the overall average marks for the school assessed in 2021 for all the five subjects should not exceed the overall average marks obtained by the school in the reference year. In effect, the results of 2021 might be more or less similar to the reference year and there will not be a drastic difference in terms of increase or decrease.

“The results committee will have to rework on tabulations and moderations until these conditions are met and these involve lots of calculations. They have a lot of options to do it. But parents and students are confused whether it might affect the marks, which is very unlikely as the process is not focusing on moderating the marks of individual students but on the overall average marks of the school. Best performing schools and students will get marks in the same way they have been performing and least performing schools and students will get the marks similar to their previous performances. The process is transparent and fair,” says Paul.



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Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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