Data analyst claims CBSE marks inflated again

Four years after flagging ‘misuse of moderation’, the analyst samples results of 25,000 students of 300 schools in two states.

Written by Ritika Chopra | New Delhi | Updated: May 30, 2017 8:48 am
cbse, cbse class 12 results, cbse 12th results 2017, cbse 2017 avg marks, inflated marks cbse, indian express Four years after flagging ‘misuse of moderation’, the analyst samples results of 25,000 students of 300 schools in two states. (Representational photo)

A data analyst has suggested that the CBSE may not have kept its promise of discontinuing the practice of inflating Class XII results. Prashant Bhattacharji, 33, an electrical engineer from IIT Kharagpur and working in Hyderabad, has plotted the results of about 25,000 students from over 300 schools in Gujarat and Rajasthan to indicate distortion.

In 2013, Bhattacharji had carried out a similar, widely reported analysis suggesting misuse of “moderation” by the CBSE and CISCE to inflate their respective students’ marks. He had mined results of 7 lakh Class XII CBSE students and plotted a distribution of marks that showed an abnormally large number of students scoring 95 per cent.

On Monday, a day after CBSE declared its Class XII results, Bhattacharji repeated the exercise with a smaller sample — 25,000 students of 139 schools in Gujarat and 170 in Rajasthan. He says the graphs (see chart below) for Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Economics show an abnormally large number of students scoring 95 per cent.


In the CBSE results declared Sunday, the number of students scoring 95 per cent or more increased by 740 since last year, while those scoring 90 to 95 per cent decreased from 63,387 to 63,247. Despite the drop in the latter bracket, Bhattacharji claims the CBSE may have still have resorted to what he calls “a mix of distortion and inflation”.

“We expect something roughly resembling a bell-shaped curve, even a skewed one will do. What we see is a distribution badly distorted into a near-uniform distribution with jagged edges and massive spikes at specific points. There is a mix of distortion and inflation,” he wrote to The Indian Express. “Last year, CBSE, by its own admission, had awarded as many as 16 extra marks to students in Mathematics. The fact that the number of students scoring 90 to 95 per cent has dropped could also mean that the Board might have awarded five to seven marks extra this year instead of 16. This way, the number of 90 to 95 percenters will show a decrease, but that doesn’t mean marks were not inflated,” he added.

CBSE did not respond to questions emailed by The Indian Express Monday. Chairman R K Chaturvedi did not respond to calls. In his sample, Bhattacharji found 1,142 out of 11,141 students in Mathematics, 429 out of 10,343 in Economics, 941 out of 13,973 in Physics and 1,231 out of 13,966 in Chemistry as having secured 95 per cent.

The English results, he says, point to a more fair method of marking. “It has the characteristic bell-like structure, though somewhat skewed,” he wrote in his email.

Asked about restricting his sample to 25,000 students, Bhattacharji wrote, “A sample of 25,000 is a sufficiently large sample, though this does have regional bias in it and is restricted to one zone.” But why regional bias? “Data was analysed for over 300 schools, from Rajasthan and Gujarat, because I had information about the school codes and centres (required to view results) only for those — based on what was available on the web. Previously, one could view results for all students without having to know any specific codes for schools,” he said.

What if the sample of 25,000 just happens to be of students who have scored very well in Class XII exams this year? “The (graph) patterns are quite consistent with the flaws of past years which’d make it too big a coincidence for the flaws to be attributed to the characteristics of the specific cases which I downloaded,” he wrote.

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  1. R
    Rajesh B
    May 30, 2017 at 9:00 pm
    This is injustice to excellent students who can excel anywhere. The system should be able to differentiate between good and excellent. Yes, It is possible to score 100 in few subjects but definitely not in every subjcet. Everyone can not be CV Raman.
  2. P
    Prasad Varghese
    May 30, 2017 at 7:34 pm
    In Kuwait, we have noticed , students who studied with my son, those were were scoring 95 marks in Biology- Theory alone got only 36-45 marks in Board exam theory. This I personally noticed with more than 39 students. Average students theory marks are only 33-40. First time since many years, students failed in Biology . When I checked with some teachers of different schools, all were in one conclusion, that was, although biology was easy this year, either answer sheets has not checked properly or board has NOT given moderation. CBSE is gamb with future of students since last few years.
  3. R
    May 30, 2017 at 11:21 am
    Bull , people in Delhi from good schools have had no moderation and most of the students have scored below 90 whereas last year most had scored above it. I don't know about Gujarat , but Cbse has definitely ed the futures of many young adults this year.
  4. A
    May 30, 2017 at 11:00 am
    Can i please get the ph no and email of analyst because since the result has been declared i have also notived same thing it seems u write anything on your answersheet and get marks. Children who havent even attemted paper worth 80 but scored 95 Those fai w year in english have got 95 what is this is it a JOKE have they pla with our future what do they think they are I AM BEGGING TO YOU PLEASE HELP AND JOIN PROTEST IT HAS BEEN DONE WRONG WITH HARDWORKING STUDENTS E HAVE SUFFERED BECAUSE ITS ABOUT FUTURE PLEASE HELP US FIGHT THEY SHOULD RECHECK ALL THE PAPERS DECLARE RESULT AFTER REMOVING THE MODERATION POLICY IN NAME OF SPIKING.PLEASE HELP US GIVE ME YOUR CONTACT DETAILS
  5. P
    May 30, 2017 at 10:24 am
    Worthless exercise in name of analysis/ analytics. The fact that over 2 decades, average marks have increased by 10 (as observed in general) means nothing, much like the data analysis. There are mul ude of factors involved in this pattern (high scores), viz: 1. Boards are lenient in marking, due to which we see students scoring 100 in subjects like languages, History/ Economics, Arts & Commerce Theory subjects. This never happened in past. 2. Few State Boards have even more lenient marking pattern due to which CBSE had to resort to moderation to make sure its students remain compe ive (this was much due to external pressure). 3. Exams have become more about cracking the code than actual learning. Any change in pattern flummoxes the students & is criticized by all. On other hand, that adheres to pattern is generally viewed as simple. Disclaimer: I scored 84 20 years ago & am a product of same system, albeit with different approach to studies.
  6. R
    May 30, 2017 at 9:37 am
    India is now in the era of Fake Kings !
  7. S
    May 30, 2017 at 6:21 am
    Well CBSE in itself is not the end of road. But the inflated results will help education hawkers to promote their b . Most of TV time is consumed by the promotions of these hawkers. Why didn't they interview the topper with 99 as they have done with Bihar student ? The analysts deserve three cheers for their effort. It is make believe world.
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