The Council of Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE) is investigating complaints that the geography paper of Class 10 ICSE exams held on Wednesday was strikingly similar to the question paper given during the prelims at a prominent south Mumbai school in January.
Hindustan Times has copies of both the question papers. Nearly 80% of the questions are common, which teachers said was highly unusual. “Not just the questions, but even the question numbers are identical in both the papers,” said a teacher from an ICSE school in Vile Parle. “Though the council only provides schools with a rough paper pattern, it is shocking that the papers have so much in common.”
“I am investigating and examining the matter. We will decide whether a re-exam should be held for students, depending on the outcome of the probe. We will inform everyone accordingly. Students should not panic,” said Gerry Arathoon, chief executive and secretary of the council.
Around 250 students from the school appeared for the paper; while 1,59,574 took the exam across the country. The principal of the school did not reply to calls, text messages or emails; but a teacher from the school, who spoke to this newspaper, refuted the allegations. “The board chooses questions from prelim papers of all schools, so they could have picked up one map from our paper. There is no other similarity,” said the teacher.
A comparison of the two papers show that all the elements in the climatic data table in question 3.d were the same. Six sub-sections of seven in the first question are similar, along with the same map. Three of four parts in question 9 and all sections in sub-C of question 11 were the same.
“I feel cheated. I studied for the exam for two years, while some students were handed answers on a platter,” said a student from Juhu.
Principal of a Kandivli school said, “It could be that an ICSE paper setter or moderator is from that school. Many of our students who had referred to that prelim paper were surprised to find similarities between the papers.”