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Will dip in Class 12 scores help Maharashtra board students?

CBSE students have traditionally had an edge over state board students, owing to their relatively higher scores

education Updated: May 30, 2017 11:50 IST
Musab Qazi
Mumbai students celebrate their success.
Mumbai students celebrate their success.(Bachchan Kumar)

With the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) Class 12 pass percentage dropping compared to last year’s, and fewer students scoring above 90%, students from Maharashtra’s education board may find it easier to get into coveted degree colleges. However, much will depend on their performance in Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) examinations, the results of which are yet to be declared.

“The drop in pass percentage doesn’t matter much. But, if there are fewer high scorers in CBSE examination, it will definitely help state board students,” said Kiran Mangaonkar, principal, Guru Nanak Khalsa College, Matunga.

CBSE students have traditionally had an edge over state board students, owing to their relatively higher scores. However, some principals believe that state board students have managed to catch up to their counterparts over the past few years. “State board students may have improved their performance owing to competitive pressure. It may also have to do with the board changing the syllabi and scoring mechanisms,” said Hemlata Bagla, principal, KC College, Churchgate.

However, other factors also dictate the dynamics between CBSE and state board students. “Ours is a linguistic minority college, with 50% seats reserved for students from the Gujarati community. We get both CBSE and state board students under this quota. With half of the remaining seats reserved for backward category students, few seats are left for open category students. As a result, the cut-off for these seats shoots up and CBSE students get a slight edge,” said Vijay Joshi, principal, KJ Somaiya College, Vidyavihar. “Over the years, the number of CBSE schools in the city have increased. This may make competition tougher for the state board students,” adds Mangaonkar.

Some principals believe that percentile scores should replace percentages as criteria for admission, to bring parity between students from various boards.

However, for those aspiring to join engineering and medical colleges, board scores hardly matter. “I wasn’t aiming for a high score as I was busy preparing for my entrance tests, which matter more for those pursuing higher studies. Attempting mock exams in school did help me,” said Meher Shashwat Nigam form Delhi Public School, Navi Mumbai.

Navy Children School student, Aparajita Ambastha, was over the moon to find out she had scored full marks in the CBSE Class 12 history paper — a rare feat that helped her buoy her average to 95.8%. However, such success stories were rare this Sunday.

Fewer students joined the 90s club this year — 63,247 compared to last year’s 63,387. The number of students scoring between 90% and 95% nationally fell to 53, 156, from 54, 036 last year. On the other hand, more students scored above 95% — 10,091 this year, up from 9,351 last year.

Some schools blamed the trend on lower scores in math, physics and economics. “Overall grading in economics and math pulled down percentages,” said Mallika Subramaniam, principal, Navy Children School. The school recorded a 100% pass rate for the first time in the past 10 years, but overall scores slipped.

Surprisingly, the math paper was easier this year, compared to the past, with the board making efforts to bring down its difficulty level, after courting controversy last year.

However, schools said that this did not reflect in the students’ scores, which were much lower than expected. “Economics and math are not as high as we were hoping, especially considering the math paper was easy,” said Jose Kurien, principal, DAV Public School, Nerul. “On the contrary, accounts paper was considered to be tough but students scored well in that.”

In few schools such as Ryan International School (CBSE) Kandivli, students –in this case the school topper Jyotishika Deka-scored 99 out of 100 in physics and chemistry. “Our highest in math was 98, which is still good. Math has always been difficult to predict,” said Anjali Bowen, principal. She added that from the results it doesn’t become immediately clearly whether the board has moderated the marks across subjects, as it was supposed to continue with the policy, as per the Delhi High Court order.

Top scores varied across schools-some outdid their old scores, while others were left short. The highest score in commerce stream jumped to 98.2% this year, while it was 97.8% last year. At St Joseph’s, Panvel, the high score dropped from 95.2% last year to 94.4% this year, but the overall result of the school improved. “We had nearly 13 students scoring above 90% this year, much higher than last time,” said Kalpana Dwivedi, principal, of the school. Maximum improvement is in the commerce stream, she added. The commerce topper for Ryan International School, Sanpada was Vatsal Dave with 97.4% .