Multiple choice questions should be scrapped; weightage to the theory and practical components in any subject should be 70:30; students should be assessed on a maximum of 100 marks for mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology and all question papers should carry long answer questions, short answer questions and very-short answer questions in the ratio of 2:4:8. These are some of the suggestions of a panel set up by the HRD Ministry to recommend a common question paper pattern for Class XII examination across all school boards.
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The committee — headed by E P Kharbhih, chairman of Meghalaya state board — had submitted its report to the government early this year. C. Arthur W, Chairman of Council of Higher Secondary Education in Manipur, Professor Y Sreekanth of NCERT, CBSE Controller of Examination K K Chaudhary and Ranganathan, joint director, department of pre-university in Karnataka, were among the members of this panel.
The panel was set by the government after it held a meeting of all state education boards on October 29 last year. “The idea was to make the performance of two Class XII students from two different boards more comparable. A common question paper pattern is one way to address this,” said a committee member who did not wish to identified.
The committee’s report, currently being examined by the HRD ministry, suggests:
– For every two long answer type questions, a question paper should have four short answer questions and eight very-short answer questions.
– Ordinarily, examinees should not be given any choice for very-short answer type questions (eg. attempt four out of six questions)
– In subjects involving practicals, the break up should be 70 per cent for theory and 30 per cent for practicals.
– Open book examination should not be considered for Class XII board examination.
– Students should be given extra 15 minutes to read the question paper.
– All schools boards should adhere to 100 as maximum marks for mathematics, physics, chemistry and biology. Students should be given three hours to attempt these papers.
– The question paper should be prepared based on the common core curriculum of different subjects.
– 35 per cent of questions in any paper should be easy, 40 per cent average and 25 per cent difficult.
Asked why the panel advised against multiple choice questions in board examination, the member mentioned above said, “There is greater scope for cheating in case of such questions.”
Justifying the suggestion to follow 70:30 ratio for theory and practical components of any subject, another member said, “Schools, as we have noticed, tend to be very liberal in their marking during practical examinations to give their students a competitive edge over other schools and state boards. It’s best that their role is limited to a fixed ratio across all boards.”
As first reported by The Indian Express on January 11, the HRD Ministry, in its meeting with 37 school education boards on October 29, had urged the state and central school boards to consider introducing open-book tests at secondary and senior secondary-level examinations. This was also one of the terms of reference assigned to the committee headed by Kharbhih. The suggestion, however, was shot down by the panel.
The ministry had also set up a panel headed by A Ashok, secretary of the board of Intermediate Education of Telangana, to explore the feasibility of a common core curriculum in mathematics and science subjects for Classes XI-XII across all senior secondary boards. This panel suggested that 70 per cent of the curriculum should be common and state boards should have the flexibility to design the rest.