With admission cut-offs in universities scaling new peaks every year, the practice of “moderation” of marks in Class XII exams could become a hot-button issue at the national-level meeting of school boards called by the HRD Ministry this month.
Moderation of marks — a policy adopted by all school education boards — is often seen as the reason behind the steady inflation of Class XII results.
Reflecting the tendency to award progressively higher academic grades, the number of students scoring 95 per cent and above in the Class XII examination conducted by CBSE rose 23 times in six years from 384 in 2008 to 8,971 in 2014. This trend has forced the country’s best universities to set the eligibility bar drastically high for applicants. This year, two colleges affiliated to Delhi University set the admission threshold at 100 per cent for admission to their BSc (Computer Science) course.
“The central government has invited 42 national and state-level school education boards on October 28 to ‘revisit the continuation of the moderation practice’, among other things,” said the chairman of a state board, who did not wish to be identified.
HRD ministry spokesperson Ghanshyam Goel did not respond to requests seeking comment. But the Centre, sources said, is keen to discuss this practice as high cut-off marks at universities is forcing many students to move abroad.
Every year, about 2 crore students appear in Class X and about 1.5 crore in Class XII public exams conducted by the 42 education boards. Moderation of marks is a common practice adopted to “bring uniformity in the evaluation process”. In other words, marks scored by students are tweaked to align the marking standards of different examiners.
This practice, however, is just one among many other examination reforms that will be discussed at the meeting. The agenda note, a copy of which has been reviewed by The Indian Express, also proposes discussions on:
* The existing system of setting question papers, marking pattern, evaluation, rechecking, re-totalling and revaluation.
* Laying down guidelines to prevent cheating in examination.
* The need for JEE (Advanced) examination, as merit list of IITs can be prepared on the basis of JEE (Main).
* Linking the syllabus and examination pattern for Classes 10 and 12 and the entrance examinations for admission to medical and engineering colleges.
* A relook at the teaching-learning process in classrooms.
* The implementation of continuous comprehensive evaluation.
The government also wants all the state boards to hand over their respective Class XII results to the CBSE by June 17 so that the declaration of IIT and NIT entrance results is not delayed.