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fair results for CBSE students

EW Webinar: Ensure fair results for CBSE students

May 21, 2021
-Dipta Joshi

The Central Board of School Education’s (CBSE) latest class X board exams 2021 marks tabulation policy (May 1) has been termed ‘unfair and discriminatory’ towards schools affiliated to the board as well as its students who are being denied the opportunity for an impartial assessment. The board’s evaluation procedure insists schools use the past three years’ subject-wise averages as a reference point for moderating all 2021 assessments with overall school as well as student performance not exceeding the reference year’s average marks.  

Upholding the students’ right to fair and impartial assessment, social media platforms have been abuzz as hashtag #righttofairresultsCBSE continues to trend on twitter. EducationWorld’s webinar, ‘Is the Central Board of Secondary Education class X marking scheme a setback for students? What is the alternative’ discussed the impact of the CBSE’s new assessment policy? Moderated by Summiya Yasmeen, managing editor, EducationWorld, the panelists comprised of Dr Harish Shetty, the country’s leading psychologist, Rajeev Kumar Garg, principal of the Mumbai-based Datta Meghe World Academy, Arundhati Chavan,  chairperson, Parent Teacher association United Forum, Aditi Lazarus, class X student and Kulbhushan Sharma, founding President, National Independent Schools Alliance (NISA) – the largest alliance of 65,400 mainly budget private schools across the country.

NISA’s Sharma pointed out the many problems arising due to the board’s new computational methodology, “According to a NISA survey, 72.8 percent schools have admitted the new procedure would lead to results being altered in order to meet the board’s criteria. In most cases, the new tabulation will lead to students getting marked with grades lower than what the schools have already assigned them for unit tests, mid-term and pre-boards. Also most schools have already informed parents about their ward’s original assigned internal marks. How then, are we to explain the lower grades to them now?” 

Calling the COVID-19 pandemic a “social crisis”, Garg voiced concerns about the impact of slotting students into categories based on their grades. “This could lead to increased suicidal tendencies amongst students who have been consistent in their academics,” he said. He highlighted the need for setting up a remedial and an accelerated learning programme to cover the learning gaps that have occurred due to the pandemic.  

Also read: NISA challenges CBSE’s internal assessments policy for class X exams

Concurring with Garg’s views, Dr. Harish Shetty made known his annoyance with the board’s decision. “It’s an irrational system which initiates a complicated assessment system in a year when the world is hit by a once-in-a-lifetime event like the pandemic. Why create too many complications in this year. I believe all assessments can wait but our children’s mental health should be the priority this year,” he said.

Both Aditi who represented the student community and Chavan who spoke for CBSE parents spoke out about the unnecessary stress caused by the board’s latest salvo. “The decision has triggered anxiety and stress within students who fear being allotted lower marks. We expected a better alternative from the board. The decision is not fair to us students since this will impact our future and acceptance into junior colleges,” said the Mumbai-based class X student.

Chavan, who shared stories of student’s disappointment with the new assessment scheme, talked about the fear amongst parents as well as schools. “Most parents feel the marking will be subjective and not be a reflection of the hard work put in by their children. Even school principals and teachers are afraid of risking their teachers and other support staff’s health asking them to attend school for evaluation related work,” she said. The CBSE notification has asked schools to form an exam evaluation committee with seven teachers despite schools remaining  closed as most states have imposed a lockdown under the Disaster Management Act.

What is the alternative?

Along with discussing the problems, the panelists also explored possible alternatives to the current crisis. While NISA’ Sharma asked for the policy to be scrapped and all class X students to be promoted, suggestions from other panelists included having students being assessed on research papers or other pre-determined projects, having online exams with multiple objective questions etc.

However the common recommendation to the board from all panelists was to respect and assess the student’s individual performance and trust schools and teachers enough to accept the internal evaluation grades without the need for another exam evaluation committee. As Chavan put it, “Let assessment be done by schools for this year. This has not been a regular year after all.”

With the event being live on Facebook too, the webinar received an overwhelming response with viewers putting forward their questions for the panelists as well as suggestions for the board. One such suggestion was from Bharat Malik, head, Maharashtra chapter, NISA. He proposed parents’ participation to democratise the learning process. “This year we could have included parents in the child’s assessment process since with education being conducted from homes, parents were the first teachers, first observers and first mentors to the child in his or her learning process. CBSE should have taken the initiative to create awareness amongst parents about how they could assess their children. This would truly democratise the learning process. The parents could be involved in assessing and crediting the 20 marks internal assessments that are otherwise done by the schools,” suggested Malik.    

Watch the webinar here:

 

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