Experts term CBSE’s class 12 evaluation formula ‘time-bound’ but ‘far from fair’

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The evaluation formula decided by CBSE for class 12 students has evoked mixed reaction from experts, with some hailing it as an “unbiased and time-bound” method and others terming it “far from being fair”, saying students showing progress over a period of time will be at a disadvantage.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) informed the Supreme Court on Thursday that it will be adopting a 30:30:40 formula for evaluation of marks for class 12 students based on results of class 10, 11 and 12 respectively.

Thirty per cent marks will be based on class 10 board exam, another 30 per cent from class 11 and 40 per cent marks based on the performance in the unit, mid-term and pre-board tests of class 12.

The exams for class 12 were cancelled by CBSE on June 1 in view of the second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The proposed methodology may seriously disadvantage students showing progress over a period of time. CBSE, as a system, has never rewarded consistency in performance. It was built on the concept of one high-stakes exam.

“To begin with, that is a wrong system. One cannot try to correct it with this kind of criterion, especially so in a year when the students have gone through so much trauma. The evaluation criteria released by CBSE for class 10 was far superior,” said Manit Jain, Chairman, FICCI ARISE, a collegium of stakeholders aimed at promoting quality education.

According to Vishnu Kartik, CEO of The Heritage schools, the criteria decided by CBSE achieves the limited objective of providing a time-bound implementable framework but it is far from being a fair and accurate methodology.

“The alternative formula for arriving at class 12 board exams is simple to implement and easy to understand. It achieves the limited objective of providing a time-bound implementable framework. But is it a fair and near accurate methodology? Far from it. Our past data shows that performance in class 11 or 10 is not a reasonable prediction of performance in class 12.

“There is no scientific reason to include the ‘best of three’ class 10 scores as it has no impact on many class 12 subjects,” he said.

The silver lining of this proposed formula is in the hope that it can drive some long-term structural and cultural reforms. For one, the suggested external moderation committee will bring in much-needed accountability in schools to strengthen internal assessment processes and hopefully, students realise the need to learn consistently across grades and not just for the final exams, Kartik said.

Rajat Goel, the Director of MRG School in Rohini said the criterion declared by CBSE and approved by the Supreme Court raises questions on some very important aspects.

“Students tend to get a little relaxed in class 11, hence the average passing percentage is slightly on the lower end. Apart from this, subjects in class 10 like social science, and no demarcation of physics, chemistry and maths are entirely different from the ones in class 12.

“Additionally, there are vocational subjects like fine arts, physical education as well as in class 12 which gives students a chance to increase their overall score. All of this considered, this new evaluation criteria has stirred some relevant doubts and appear as not a fair assessment method for students seeking to build their future with these marks as a foundation,” he said.

The board has decided that for class 10, the marks based on the average theory component of the best three performing subjects of the main five subjects would be considered and their weightage would be 30 per cent.

Shishir Jaipuria, the chairman of Seth Anandram Jaipuria Group of Educational Institutions said the decision to base 30 per cent marks on the best-of-three subjects in class 10 is a good one because the board exams provided a standard assessment.

“Classes 11 and 12 have integrated syllabus, and considering a student’s performance in these classes makes it a very comprehensive evaluation. Moderation of class 11 and 12 marks is a relief to those students who could not perform well. I believe that a combination of these three should provide a reasonably fair assessment and reduce chances of a discrepancy between a student’s academic potential and marks allotted,” he said.

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