The number of students scoring 95% marks or more in the CBSE XII exams nationwide has increased by nearly 800% in the last five years. From just 1,020 students in the 95% club in 2009, the number shot up to 8,971 this year. For the same period, the number of students appearing for the exam, however, has risen only by 64%.
The high scorers have also set cut offs soaring in Delhi University, where premier colleges like Shri Ram College of Commerce declared first list cut-offs around 99% and few prestigious institutions admitted students who had scored under 95%.
“Give some credit to students. They are knowledgeable and work hard,” said a senior CBSE official. He added, however, that the question paper had also become more objective. “Every student has access to marking schemes of each subject. We also provide answer-sheets of the best-performing students on the CBSE website. So if students prepare well, they can achieve the desired scores,” he said.
As a de-stressing measure, the Board shifted its policy around 2004-05 from testing what a student does not know to what he actually knows after class XII. Long-answer-type questions were reduced to remove any subjectivity that may creep in when an examiner checks the paper anywhere in the country. Instead, objective-type and short-answer-type questions were introduced for quick marks.
Educationists are, however, worried that high marks may not really be a reason for celebration.
“It’s happening because of a major change in the conception of what good education is. This is an inbuilt plan to exclude a large number of students from higher education which is already exclusive,” said Professor Anil Sadgopal, eminent educationist and former Dean, faculty of education, DU.
An official at DU also blamed rising competition among different education boards in the country to produce high-scorers for making students score 95% a matter of strategy than of pure intelligence.