With almost all students clearing Class 12 through the CBSE’s alternate assessment policy, the highest score bracket of 95% and above is fuller than ever — over 70,000 students have received these top marks in the results declared on Friday.
At 99.37%, the pass percentage is over 10 percentage points higher than last year’s 88.78%.
Numbers from the past two years of those in the 95%-plus category are illustrative of the big jump in scores this year, when the second wave of the Covid-19 pandemic forced exams to be called off and students had to be assessed internally by schools.
With a record pass percentage of 99.37% and 70,000 students scoring 95% and above, the focus now shifts to college admissions. Admissions to Delhi University, which has roughly 70,000 seats and which traditionally sees very high cut-offs, is expected to be even more competitive this year.
In 2019, 17,693 or 1.47% of all candidates scored 95% and above. In 2020, when the CBSE adopted an alternative marking scheme as the Board exams were interrupted by the onset of the pandemic, there was a sharp increase in the number of students scoring 95% and above — 38,686 students, or 3.24% of all candidates, were in this top bracket. This year, the numbers have swelled to an all-time high of 5.37%. That is, 70,004 of the total 13,04,561 students have scored 95% and above.
However, there has been a slight decrease in the total number of students who have scored 90% and above — from last year’s 1,57,934 to 1,50,152 this year. Like last year, though, the Board will not release a merit list of toppers.
With the scrapping of the Board examinations, schools were told to assess students based on their results in the Class 10 Board exams, Class 11 final exams, and Class 12 internal tests and exams, apart from the practical examination scores.
Schools also followed a moderation process using the best performance of the last three years as reference.
In a statement issued after the results, the CBSE said it was “very much concerned about the best performing students and thus in the policy, several checks were introduced to protect their interest”.
The immediate impact of this increase in top scores will be experienced in the Delhi University admissions, where administrators say cut-offs are set to rise even higher. According to DU officials, approximately 70,000 undergraduate seats will be on offer at the university this year — the same as the number of students scoring above 95% in CBSE alone, without considering other Boards. On average, around 70% of DU students who take admission in UG courses each year are from CBSE.
Last year, Lady Shri Ram College had a first cut-off of 100% for three programmes, and 30 programmes across colleges had cut-offs of over 99%. The number of colleges and courses opening with a 100% cut-off in the first list could go up this year.
“From whatever information we are getting right now, it appears that the cut-offs will increase. But more can be said once the results have been properly analysed. The colleges will now have to analyse and decide. We are also waiting for the remaining state Boards to release their results, after which we will have more clarity,” DU’s Admission Committee chairperson Rajeev Gupta said.
He said the university would likely announce its first cut-off around September 8-10.
Hindu College Principal Anju Srivastava said cut-offs are likely to be “very high”. “If there are so many students who have got 95% and above, the campus colleges are all likely to be entangled in catering to these students. The cut-offs of the less popular courses are also likely to be very high. We have limited seats and if CBSE and state Board results are both like this, overall, we can expect a very high cut-off,” she said.
Ramjas College Principal Manoj Khanna also said cut-offs would be very high. “Definitely, the cut-off will be higher since the number of 95% scorers is higher. But the real question is, how many students have scored 99% and above. If there are thousands above that, then we will have to take many precautions. Then the cut-off will have to be very high because DU does not even have a first-come, first-served rule. We will have to give admissions to everyone who clears the cut-off,” he said.
Miranda House College Principal Bijayalaxmi Nanda, however, said that since most DU colleges already had skyrocketing cut-offs last year, it could not go much higher this year. “I expect it to be slightly calibrated. But we also have to wait for other state Board results. DU does not go by simply the CBSE Board results,” she said.