A tough physics paper, coupled with external examiners for practical and oral exams, affected the performance of students in the science stream and vocational courses in the Mumbai division of the higher secondary certificate (HSC) exam, results for which were announced on Wednesday.
The science stream recorded a dismal performance, particularly in Mumbai division which saw the pass percentage sliding down to 87.41% from 93% last year.
Even the HSC vocational stream, which comprises practical-oriented subjects, suffered a setback this year, with a pass percentage of 88.45%, compared to 93.03% last year.
At St Andrew’s College, Bandra, the highest score in the science stream was 83%. “The performance of students from science stream has been disappointing,” said Marie Fernandes, principal of the college. “Usually, in science stream, students score more than 85%.”
Students blamed the drop on the physics paper. The subject saw a pass percentage of 88.76%, lower than last year’s 91.96%.
The success rate for mathematics, too, was low, with only 85.14% passing, compared to 91.28% last year. “Both the papers were tough, but physics was extremely difficult,” said Ananya Reddy, an HSC student from Andheri, who scored 78%.
“The performance of students in bifocal subjects has been disappointing this year,” said Bhavna Ansari, vice-principal, Swami Vivekananda College, Chembur. “Usually students score at least 95% to 97% in these subjects, but this year they have not met our expectation.”
“The state board has made it compulsory for internal assessments to be done by external evaluators this year, so colleges could not boost students’ marks,” said Anil Deshmukh, general secretary, Maharashtra State Federation of Junior College Teachers’ Organisation.
Deshmukh said the quality of students opting for the science stream has also gone over the past few years, as the government has removed the minimum criteria of scoring 40% in SSC. The rule was evoked two years ago.