A Silver Lining in Bihar’s Abysmal Class XII Pass Percentage?

Pass percentage across state boards reveal how the state education boards have disappointed the students.

3 min read
Pass percentage across states reveals how the state education boards have disappointed the students. (Photo: Rhythum Seth/ <b>The Quint</b>)

The state boards may have decided to stop moderation of marks from next year onwards, but public uproar about the unfairness of spiking marks has brought pass percentages under the scanner.

Pressure is now building up on state education boards to be more forthcoming about the learning outcomes in their respective states.

States with Pass Percentage Below 80

Other than the usual suspect, which is Bihar, most state boards have escaped public scrutiny. The process of restructuring marks resulting in inflation is in play.

A statistical analysis reveals that of the nine major boards which have already declared their class 12 results, four have witnessed a steep fall in their pass percentages.

Karnataka, Jharkhand, Bihar and Punjab interestingly are all traditionally low-performing boards in the assessed group. Their annual pass percentage in 2016 was below 80 percent.


Edging Towards Pass Percentage of 90

The boards of Rajasthan, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, and West Bengal have seen a marginal rise in the percentage of children clearing Class 12 examinations in 2017. This could be indicative of the fact that their evaluation process might have been organically fairer than others.

However, when seen in the context of the size of the boards, Maharashtra is clearly a good example of maintaining quality on a large scale.

Despite having upward of 15 lakh students, the state has a pass percentage close to 90 percent. Tamil Nadu is a close second with 92.1 percent, a change from 91.4 percent in 2016.

Also Watch: CBSE Class 12 Board Results: Meet the Toppers!


With Grace Marks Gone

The most dramatic fall is witnessed in the pass percentage of the Punjab School Education Board. From 76 percent in 2016, only 62 percent students succeeded in the matriculation exam in 2017.

After the Punjab Board reportedly did away with grace marks, 77,021 students out of approximately 3 lakh failed in the General English exam this year.

The chairman of the Punjab School Education Board (PSEB), Balbir Singh Dhol, was forced to resign over the disappointment of the state CM for poor performance.

His resignation was also preceded by a raid conducted at the PSEB headquarters and his residence by the Vigilance Bureau (VB) on the allegations of corruption in appointment.


Bihar Hits a New Low

In another stark reminder of reality, Bihar has performed awfully yet again. With pass percentage almost halving from 62.2 percent in 2016 to 35.2 percent this year, Bihar has hit a new low.

Not more than 37.11 percent students could pass in the Arts stream, compared to 57 percent in 2016. And in Science stream even lower percentage of students – 30 percent – were able to secure passing marks. Commerce stream saw a marginal decline of 7 percent in pass percentage.

Bihar’s Education Minister Ashok Kumar Choudhary’s recent remarks that Chief Minister Nitish Kumar was happy with the result as only meritorious students passed the exam had few takers.

Thousands have been protesting against the Bihar School Examination Board (BSEB) for failing over eight lakh of the 12 lakh students who had appeared for the exam.

Also Read: Delhi HC Orders CBSE to Moderate 2017’s Class 12 Board Marks


The decline in pass percentage is said to be a result of strict invigilation, efforts to stop mass cheating and a comparatively fair evaluation. If this is true, then indeed the bad news of low results must be welcomed. It will enhance the credibility of board examinations.

But Bihar will have to be careful during this transition. The students are likely to suffer as an inefficient schooling machinery tries to look good. Real statistics must be accompanied by real improvement.

It remains to be seen how transparent the CBSE will be next year when it does away with its moderation policy. That, perhaps, will be the real test of the Indian education system.


(Akshat Tyagi is the author of ‘Naked Emperor of Education’. He tweets at @AshAkshat. The views expressed above are the author’s own. The Quint neither endorses nor is responsible for the same.)

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