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Explained: How CBSE addressed disruption of board exams in 2020 due to Covid-19

Ahead of CBSE Board Exams 2021, a step-by-step breakdown of how the central government and the CBSE addressed the unprecedented disruption last year.

Written by Sukrita Baruah , Edited by Explained Desk | New Delhi |
Updated: April 16, 2021 1:45:24 pm
Students prepare for their CBSE examinations in Chandigarh (Express Photo: Jaipal Singh, File)

Last year, the national lockdown was imposed as a precaution against the Covid-19 pandemic while students of Class X and XII were in the midst of writing their CBSE board examinations. Here is a step-by-step breakdown of how the central government and the CBSE had addressed the unprecedented disruption.

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Initially, as a precautionary measure against the spread of the virus, the central education board had postponed all board examinations which were to be held between March 19 and March 31, 2020. Even before that, it had postponed examinations for four days in North East Delhi because of the riots which had taken place in that region.

On April 1, announced that it would not be conducting all the exams which had to be postponed and would only be conducting 29 of the postponed papers—only “main subjects that will be required for promotion and maybe crucial for admissions in higher educational institutions”. This meant that examinations for various regional and foreign languages offered by the board would not be conducted for Class XII students, as also ICT and computer applications for Class X students.

Twelve exams were to be held at later dates for students of Class XII, while an additional 11 were to be conducted for students of that grade from North East Delhi. No more examinations were be held for Class X students, while six were to be only held for students from North East Delhi.

It was announced that these remaining examinations would be conducted between July 1 and 15.

As the pandemic persisted, in June 2020, the board announced that it would not be conducting any of the remaining examinations and that it would evaluate students through an alternate marking system.

This alternate marking system devised a formula to impute the marks of students in papers in which they did not appear. According to this formula, the marks in each remaining paper was calculated by taking the average of best three papers for students who had written four papers; of two best papers for those who had written three; and including internal marks for those students who had written two or less papers.

The board decided against releasing a “merit list” of toppers, and also said the term “fail” would not be used in any student’s documents or on the results released on the website. Instead, the students who could not pass, were marked as “Essential Repeat” candidates.

Later in September 2020, the board held its compartment examinations online. Along with this, it also held optional “improvement exams” for Class XII students who wished to improve the scores that they received on the basis of the board’s revised marking scheme. Over 9,000 students opted for these improvement exams. This option was not available to Class X students.

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