With the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) having introduced the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) for class X in 2011, more and more students in the city are opting for school-based examinations, as compared to the board-based exams.
As per the data from the CBSE regional office, the participation in board-based examinations has decreased over the last few years. In 2015, out of the 22,511 Tricity students who had appeared for the class X examination, 12,414 students had opted for the school-based examination, whereas only 10,097 students had appeared for the board-based examination.
This year around 23,000 students will be taking the class X examination in the Tricity. “It is up to the students to decide whether they want to take the board-based exams or the internal exams. About 60 per cent students are now opting for the school-based exams,” says R J Khanderao, regional director of CBSE.
Heads of CBSE schools in the city believe that the school-based examination system is actually functioning for the benefit of the students. In the majority of cases, students opt for the board-based examination
in case they want to change schools or boards after class X or are likely to go abroad to study.
“At St John’s, 99 per cent students opt for the internal examination, since they feel more comfortable taking their exams in a familiar environment. Going to an alien environment tends to put pressure on the students. In the majority of the cases, students continue at the school even after class X, so they just opt for the school-based examination,” says Kavita Das, principal of St. John’s High School.
“When my child has the option of taking the school-based exam, why would I want him to go through the unwanted stress of having to take an external examination? Either way, the set question paper is approved by the board, so it ensures that a good and challenging question paper is given to the students,” says Vandana Gill, parent of a student appearing for the class X board examination this year.
However, some school heads maintain that students are more likely to become careless with their preparation if exams are conducted internally. A B S Sidhu, director of Saupin’s School, where more students prefer taking the board-based examination, says, “An independent body should decide the result of the students, instead of their own school, leaving no room for favouritism.”
Currently, the CBSE system is also known to be more rigorous than the internal assessment. Despite these claims of schools opting for internal examinations to make their results appear better, Reema Dewan, principal of Delhi Public School who is also the city coordinator for CBSE’s Evidence of Assessment panel, says, “Why would any school dilute the difficulty level for an examination? That will only impact the standard of its own class XI and eventually affect the class XII board result.” She adds that an efficient system of checks is in place to ensure that the entire process goes on smoothly.
The school heads point out that the school-based system of examination for class X actually contributes to improvement of the results of the consequent classes. “Everywhere in the world, there is only one terminal school examination, why must India have two?” Dewan asks.
In the 2015 board examinations, 15,479 students from Chandigarh had scored a perfect 10 CGPA (cumulative grade points average), the highest in the region. With the board examinations drawing closer, schools have now started providing individual attention and revision tests to the students to ensure a high pass percentage for this year as well. Around-the-clock counsellors have also been provided at private and government schools in the Tricity to help students with the stress of the examinations.
With the exams a few weeks away, schools have started with revision tests. After assessing the preparation by each student, the schools will then provide help to individual students. Coaching centres are also holding tests and a revision of the entire syllabus is being done.