“Bizarre! Unfair! We would have studied harder if we had known!”
After the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on Thursday, 17 June, announced the details of how the performance of 14 lakh students would be evaluated, The Quint reached out to some students to find out what they think about the new evaluation criteria. While some called it bizarre, others believe that online education itself is not inclusive of students coming from underprivileged backgrounds and the scheme would be negatively biased for them.
The CBSE, which had earlier cancelled board examinations for Class 12, announced on Thursday that as per the new scheme, for Class 12, the marks obtained in unit, term, and practicals will be taken into account, and the results will be decided based on the performance in Classes 10 and 11 (30 percent weightage for each).
‘Students Will Be Disappointed’
On being asked if the criteria are fair, Swara Ved, a commerce student from Cambridge School, said, “To say that it would be fair for all will be wrong. Many students had been preparing hard the entire year and they see Class 12 board examinations as something that will decide their future. Now they have been cancelled and a new marking system has been devised.”
While she said that such students will be a little disappointed, Ved added that “it’s the most appropriate solution for the prevailing situation”.
Responding to the same, Sameed Anwar, a science student from Tagore International School, said, “I don’t think the criteria is fair because the online system was lopsidedly biased against students from underprivileged backgrounds, but a truly fair and ideal marking scheme doesn’t exist. Firstly, because of the pandemic no matter what scheme the CBSE comes up with, student’s marks will be tainted.”
Anwar supported the percentage share of marks from Classes 10 and 11, saying that marks cannot be taken exclusively for Class 12 as that will be more unfair to the students suffering due to lack of resources. He added that regardless of what percentage either class is given, the outcome will not be fair.
Shreyash Pandey, a student from Gyan Bharti School, called the marking scheme “bizarre”.
“It’s kind of bizarre. I don’t know why they’re considering Class 11 because there is a quantum jump after Class 10. We’re being graded for Class 12, so I don’t know how it makes sense to mark students on what they scored two years ago.”Shreyash Pandey, a student from Gyan Bharti School
Belonging to the science stream, he added, “For my stream specially, it’s hard to score in Class 11. Moreover, they are giving 40 percent for Class 12, while giving a collective 60 percent for the previous two classes.”
‘Would Have Studied Harder’
Responding to the scheme, Ritik Raj, a student of St Joseph’s School in Bihar, said, “It’s not fair because we didn’t know that Classes 10 and 11 will be involved. If we had known, we would’ve studied harder. Also, people take Class 11 a little lightly.”
Anwar, on being asked about his score in Class 11, chuckled and said, “They weren’t great, I would say.”
He added that, “My batch is worried about their Class 11 marks because the academic jump between Classes 10 and 11 was huge. Most kids simply did not do well enough.”
However, he also said that his opinion on the criteria did not matter.
“I go to a private school in a metropolitan city. My demographic will not be in a bad situation because private schools won’t give bad marks, because their reputation is at stake.”
He further explained, “My demographic, which is a small percentage of the student population, had access to fast and consistent internet, gadgets, online resources, and cooperative teachers. So, urban population of students won’t be as heavily impacted as students who had little to no resources.”
Similarly, Ved said that in general, schools have a strict marking system for Class 11 students. “They don’t give marks freely. So, students don’t get a high percentage in Class 11,” she feels.
Meanwhile, on being asked about online teaching, she said, “It’s difficult to catch up with each and every class and stay in touch with everything being done online. Many students do not have proper internet connection or the gadgets required. So, the disparities are there but right now we should focus on the optimistic part and keep going.”
How Practical Were the Practicals?
According to Ved, it becomes difficult for the science stream to judge their practical marks online. She added that though the practical component was missing, the marks will have to be judged on a student's general as well as in-depth knowledge of the subject.
Anwar said that online or offline practicals are reflective of how prepared a student is either way. Though the ‘practical’ components were missing in mainstream science subjects, they were tested on practical knowledge through vivas, he said.
Pandey, who isn’t satisfied with the evaluation scheme, believes that because the practicals conducted were from within this year’s syllabus, they should be given a higher share in the marking scheme.
Ved added, “Nothing can replace offline classes, but the teachers have worked really hard to teach us. We’ve also tried to grasp as much as we could through online classes.”
Well Thought Out, Says Principal
Speaking to The Quint, Dr Aparna Seebaluck, principal of Cambridge School in Delhi, said, “I think the criteria for preparing the Class 12 assessment is quite well thought out, and given the prevailing circumstances, quite fair. Considering the historical data of each student and the school overall allows all to be assessed equally.”
She added, “The CBSE has also allowed students an opportunity to appear for exams later, in case they are not satisfied with their performance. Most schools have conducted learning assessments throughout the year, and the efforts of students will be validated.”