‘Right Time to Change Class-12 Marking Scheme; Use Grades Instead’

‘Boards like CBSE and ICSE should look at the option of providing grades instead of marks and ranks’ 

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The Central government on 2 June announced the cancellation of CBSE Class-12 Board exams due to the COVID outbreak. The decision came after the intervention of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who chaired a high-level meeting with several ministers.

It was also decided that the CBSE would take steps to compile the results of Class 12 as per well-defined objective criteria in a time-bound manner.

Speaking to The Quint, Rishikesh BS, Associate Professor at the Azim Premji University, said while CBSE and ICSE formulate guidelines for marking Class-12 students, it is the right time for them to change their assessment schemes.


Students in India grow up in a mark-centric society. There is an obsession with 'ranks and marks' because the same is used as the underlying criteria to get admission into many universities, including the much sought-after Delhi University.

With 'no formal education' happening in the last 1.5 years, Prof Rishikesh BS says, "We don't know how much learning has happened. The Boards should probably look at the performance of the students in Class 11 and can go back to Class 10. They should provide grades instead of marks.”

With grades being an option, the ripple effect of doing away with the traditional marking system would mean an overhaul of university-admission mechanism.

Referring to one of the objectives of the draft National Education Policy- Curriculum and pedagogy are transformed by 2022 in order to minimise rote learning and instead encourage holistic development, Prof Rishikesh says that the comprehensive development over the schooling period should be assessed instead. For him, the current system is disadvantageous for the underprivileged as they cannot afford the overhead expenses of the coaching centres, which train students in rote learning to just pass exams. They target achieving marks as high as 99 per cent. Exams have ‘corrupted the way schooling happens as the teaching is limited to only tests'.


A change in assessment mechanism by the Boards at the schooling means a complete overhaul with the admission mechanism at the Universities and colleges.

“It will become difficult for students spread across the country to apply for Delhi University, Central government university schedules entrance examinations in the capital. It will be a nightmare for students applying to different colleges under Delhi University if the institutes have separate entrance exams.”
Rishikesh BS, Associate professor, Azim Premji University,

Referring to the draft NEP, Prof Rishikesh said that the National Testing Agency should declare a common entrance exam with different centres across the country. He added that NTA's assessment would be a better criterion for universities to rely on and it is time, ‘NTA gets its act together’.

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