The no-detention policy seems to have had a deleterious impact on learning outcome, with little check on if even the bare-minimum of knowledge has been imbibed before a student is promoted.
At least, this is what HT's random perusal of data on performance of Class-9 students across government schools shows. Of 262 Class-9 students at Government High School, Hallomajra, 230 have scored less than 25% in the Summative Assessment (SA)-1 held in September 2013. The situation is no better in other schoolsWhat is Summative Assessment?
Summative Assessments (SAs) are written tests, held twice a year. There are five exams of 90 marks in each SA and the two SAs carry 60% weight in the annual evaluation.
The SA2 exams are still on and given this random data of nine schools, more than 50% students could fail in class 9, if they are unable to secure 25% marks in the two combined SAs, as mandated by a new CBSE directive.
CBSE regional director RJ Khanderao said that as per the new rules, students of class 9 must score a minimum of 25% marks in both SA -1 and SA- 2 combined to qualify to class 10. This rule will apply to class 10 students from next year.
Local CBSE counselor Dr Rakesh Sachdeva said, "It is shocking that students are unable to get even 25% marks in written exams. Schools still have another chance to improve the performance of their students, failing to get 25% marks in both the SAs after SA-2 exams but it is sad that academic standards of the students is so low."
Search for causes: schools blame CCE, no-detention policy
GMSSS Sector-10 principal Indira Beniwal, said: "The present system is responsible for the downfall. We cannot fail students till Class-8. When they reach Class-9, they become habitual of taking academics very casually. With over 70 students to a class, teachers are also helpless."
Prem Kaur, headmistress, Government High School, Karsan, said: "The CBSE decision to put a minimum threshold score of 25% in Class 9 from this year and class 10 from next year is welcome but the overall system will not improve unless academic fear is implanted among students from junior classes."
Renu Puri, principal, GMSSS, Sector 8, said: "There are no checks and balances in present system. We need reforms."
Government High School, Daria, principal Saroj Bhasin, claimed that students in her school remain absent for two-three months. They go to their villages in UP and Bihar and never turn back on time. Many students don't even report for mid-term exams. 'How should I keep a proper academic environment in such situation," she said.
Showing his helplessness, Sadhu Ram, headmaster, Government High School, Hallomajra said, "I cannot do anything."
WHAT IS NO-DETENTION POLICY?
The no-detention Policy, under the Right to Education (RTE) Act, states that no student can be held back or expelled from school, irrespective of academic performance, till Class-8 in all CBSE-affiliated schools. The policy has had a cumulatively bad effect, claim academicians.
What is CCE?
CCE or Comprehensive Continuous Evaluation system is an evaluation format for CBSE-affiliated schools introduced from 2010-11. In each term of six months, two Formative Assessments carrying 10% weight each are carried out and one Summative assessment with 30% weight is held. SA 1 and SA-2 are written tests. Formative Assessments are based on co-curricular activities and projects.
CHANGE IN NORMS
Earlier: Till last year, there were no passing marks for the two SAs. A student was promoted as long as he secured an overall D grade, which he used to manage mostly through the FAs.
New: To increase the importance of written exams, the CBSE has made appearance in the two SAs mandatory and a minimum score of 25% marks in both combined SAs for promotion from Classes 9 to 10, from the session. For Class-10, the change will be implemented from 2014-15.