It seems high cut-offs of higher secondary examinations may soon be a thing of past with the HRD Ministry planning to consult states on scrapping the practice of awarding grace marks in certain papers if the questions are deemed to have been difficult. The move comes after the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) had in December last year resolved to seek the HRD Ministry’s help to get all the state boards to develop a consensus on ending the marks moderation policy which leads to inflation of scores.
Under the “moderation” policy, examinees are awarded up to 15 per cent extra marks in certain papers if the questions are deemed to have been difficult. The CBSE had opined that a unilateral scrapping of
moderation would put its students at a disadvantage during undergraduate admissions and considered it important that all state boards agree to it.
“The ministry has called a meeting of all state education secretaries and chairmen of the state boards on April 24 and the issue is likely to be taken up there. The recommendations by the CBSE will be taken into account and we will see if a consensus can be arrived at with the states,” a senior HRD Ministry official said.
At present, on receiving complaints that a particular question paper had been too difficult, CBSE forms an expert panel to study the questions and recommend how many extra marks should be given to every examinee.
The enhancement had raised the number of CBSE students with 95 per cent aggregate scores twenty-fold between 2008 and 2014. Some Delhi University colleges have been forced to set 100 per cent as the first cut-off during admission to certain undergraduate courses.
“The board members believe that the moderation is unjust to the best students and liberal marking has led to high cut-offs in higher educational institutions. The CBSE’s suggestion that the difficulty level of questions should be uniform across a single paper, and between different papers across boards,” the official added.
Moderation of board marks, which is done to bring parity in students’ scores in view of the subjectivity involved in the evaluation of their papers, has been a matter of concern in the academic circles as well.
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