Sinlung /
12 June 2011

Full Marks For CBSE’s Theory Of No Marks

By Vidya Iyengar

There is a surge in interest among parents and students for the new evaluation system that the CBSE has introduced in Class 10

Full marks for CBSE’s theory of no marks

When the results were out on the last day of May this year, something that used to be predominant was simply missing on the campuses of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) schools -- suspense and allied tension.

That could, primarily, be the reason behind the sudden rush for seats in CBSE schools. Ask Manjula Raman, the principal of Army Public School, Bangalore. "Yes, there is an increase in interest and the number of enquiries that we get. Many are changing boards to take up CBSE, especially, in the past two years."

Earlier, choosing between the CBSE and ICSE used to be a task for parents. There used to be debates about that. But the introduction of the continuous comprehensive evaluation (CCE) in CBSE schools has spared the parents of that headache.

This year, the CBSE made the Std X board exam optional for students. Students who did not wish to appear for the board exam could opt for CCE conducted by the school. The CCE grades students based on their performance throughout the year and a final exam conducted by the school. No marks, just grades, so less of stress.

Across India, 67% of the 11 lakh Std X CBSE students opted not to take up the board exams. With most students opting for CCE, the passing percentage was unusually high. The schools and students had a fair idea of what grade they would get. Besides, there were no failures as the students with a grade below D (less than 33 marks in any one or all subjects) have been considered as eligible for improvement of performance. With options like these, it has become easier to pass the Std X exam under the CBSE syllabus.

"Taking up CBSE could be worthwhile for more than one reason. Not only does the grading system bring stress levels down, the educational system provides an all-round development," Raman said, citing 15 cases where students abandoned international syllabi for CBSE. "Our curriculum is new and evolving. Of course, it's challenging too when compared to the syllabi followed by other boards," she went on to add.

Malaika G Naidu, who just completed her Class 10 under the new evaluation system, agrees. "It's more challenging and interesting now. You have many activities here like conducting research, which I found fascinating. It discourages students from rote learning, since it's not about marks here. You don't memorise things for marks, you learn things with passion and interest. Learning has also become easier and effortless, thanks to the semester system that has been introduced."

As the new evaluation system becomes a talking point, parents, who are concerned about the high levels of stress among their wards due to the kind of educational system in the country, are looking at CBSE as a like-enough solution.

"I came to know about this new system of no marks through media reports that were published when the results were out. I am really tempted to change my child's school. I want the other boards too to follow the grade system and abolish marks altogether. ICSE should be the next to follow it," said Soumita Mishra, mother of two school-going children.

Mishra is not the only parent who thinks so. Babu V Naidu has admitted both his two sons in CBSE schools and calls it a wise decision.

"Introduction of the grading system is really a good thing. Besides, the curriculum is far more holistic and there is emphasis on other activities as well, besides academics," Naidu said. Another parent Anuradha Menon said: "I am mulling over getting my children admitted to schools affiliated to the CBSE. But I'll wait for a year to do that since this new system of grading has just been introduced. After a year, if I am convinced, I will change their boards."

Full marks for CBSE’s theory of no marks

The flipside

With the grading system coming into play, selection has become tough for the school authorities. "We are finding it hard to eliminate students as these grades are posing a challenge. This time, there are so many applicants for the Science stream in Class 11. How to choose? Though the board has laid down the selection criteria, it's quite complicated. According to it, almost 90% of the students are eligible," said MK Krishnamoorthy, principal of Kendriya Vidyalaya (Air Force Station), Yelahanka.

"At our school, we have four sections in Class 11 (three for Science and one for Humanities), with 40 being the capacity for students per class. The demand for the Science stream is so high. While we can offer only 120 seats for Science in toto (that's for students from all boards), there are over 220 students from the CBSE who want to pursue Science. And, as per the grades, all 220 are eligible," he rued.

"Even if we increase the capacity, we can't accommodate them. There is also a limit to the number of students per class," Krishnamoorthy added. Hence, many schools are conducting an aptitude test for entry into Class 11, since selection based on grades is not a viable way. "We have our own entrance test, since we can't go by the grades to select students for +2," said Manju Sharma, principal of DPS South, Bangalore.

"We assess the students' skills based on the parameters that we have fixed, since the grades aren't specific," said M Srinivasan, principal of Gear Innovative School.
But that is what the Union human resources development (HRD) ministry and its minister Kapil Sibal -- who brought out this reform -- want: to reduce that competition based on marks.

CBSE pass percentage has gone up, says Kapil Sibal

CBSE pass percentage has gone up, says Kapil Sibal

New Delhi: Lauding the objectives achieved by CBSE schools under Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) scheme, HRD Minister Kapil Sibal today said the pass percentage has not only increased but there has been a qualitative improvement in assessment.

He also unveiled the CCE certificate awarded to students from this year, which not only shows the grades secured but also mirrors overall development of a student.

Sibal said pass percentage in class X this year went up to 96.90 per cent, even as majority of students (67 per cent) opted for school based examination.

He said the notion that more marks are being awarded in practicals has been put to rest under the scheme "as marks in practicals have reduced from 92 per cent to 73 per cent".

Sibal said 38,377 students got top-most grades in all five subjects as compared to 11,055 last year.

Source: PTI


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