The CBSE Board exams may soon share a grading system with the Cambridge International Exam, a UK education body. The two are studying the grading systems being used by others, and the CBSE is consulting Cambridge International Exam on its new nine-point grading system.
Cambridge International Exam is a part of the Council of Boards of School Education in India (COBSE) and is involved with a number of Indian educational initiatives in a consultative capacity.
The CBSE is developing a grading system for Class IX and X exams. It had earlier declared that the grading system would come into force from next year. "It is a two-way process. We are sharing our experiences and problems and may ultimately develop a grading system that may be acceptable to both us and the Cambridge International Exam," said Ashok Ganguly, chairman, CBSE.
The CBSE's grading system was supposed to be ready by February this year, but officials say they are late because they are still fine-tuning the model that would ultimately be used. The broad definitions of the grading system are, however, ready.
“There will be nine grades starting with 'A+' or 'A star'. The top scorers among students can be divided into three categories: 'A star', 'A' and 'A-’. This should effectively take care of competition that has now gone down to decimal marks. A student who gets 85 out of 100 may not be ranked lower than the one scoring 90. They are both 'A' grade students," added Ganguly. The 'A' grades will be followed by 'B1' and 'B2', 'C1' and 'C2', 'D' and 'E' grades. “‘E’ will be the lowest or disqualifying grade. This grade will be granted to those who score less than 33 per cent," said Ganguly.
But the Board also realises that absolute marks cannot be the only factor in the grading system. The system based on absolute marks awards grades on the basis of mark slabs - for instance 100-90 marks may get 'A' grade, while 80-70 marks may fetch 'B.' The percentile system on the other hand awards grades on the basis of relative result. The highest grade may be awarded to the top one-eighth students, the second highest is awarded to the next one-eighth.
“In senior classes, either absolute marks or percentile system cannot be the only method for deciding grades. The same model cannot be used for all subjects. Some subjects like mathematics are scoring and a student may score a 99 per cent. But even a very good student may only manage an 85 per cent in History. We realise that all subjects do not operate similarly, hence the stress on a differential model," said Ganguly.
For instance, in science a student may score a 94 per cent. Under the percentile system, that puts the grade of a student who scores 60 at 'E' as he may be the bottom one-eighth. “In a subject like social science, a student who scores 60 per cent marks may get a 'C' grade. We may even give different weightage for different subjects. At present, all the subjects get the same weigtage,” said Ganguly.