Moderation of Class 12 marks was always a flawed idea | editorials | Hindustan Times
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Moderation of Class 12 marks was always a flawed idea

An examination should give the student a clear idea about her competence and aptitude. She should get what she deserves. By inflating marks, the boards are also unfairly edging out deserving candidates. So the recent decision of other boards to end inflation of marks is a critical step forward.

editorials Updated: Apr 17, 2018 19:06 IST
States and Union Territories have promised they would stop the practice of inflating marks awarded in Class 12 board exams, easing the path for entry into undergraduate programmes. Students have been deterred by high cut-off marks set by Delhi University colleges that have sometimes touched 100% in recent years (Representative Photo)
States and Union Territories have promised they would stop the practice of inflating marks awarded in Class 12 board exams, easing the path for entry into undergraduate programmes. Students have been deterred by high cut-off marks set by Delhi University colleges that have sometimes touched 100% in recent years (Representative Photo)(HT)

In India, the education system is a hurdle race. First, the system is designed like a pyramid, which means fewer number of seats as the students go to higher classes. Second, the marking system in the Class 12 board examination is flawed, and, third, the quality of higher educational institutions is uneven, sparking a mad rush for the top colleges and prestigious universities. The State-run schools and boards are riddled with systemic problems which make life for students incredibly difficult. While the first and third need long-term changes, the Centre has achieved some progress in tackling the second one. Last week, 23 states and Union Territories promised to stop the practice of inflating marks awarded in the Class 12 board exams, easing the path for entry into undergraduate programmes.

While it’s not fair to blame a particular board for the warped marking system, the Central Board of Secondary Education perfected an art called moderation. Cut out the jargon and this is what it means: Marks in Class 12 exams were artificially inflated to ensure students didn’t suffer in college admissions since the boards of other states tended to be lenient in their marking. This had a domino effect on college admission cut-offs: In Delhi University, cut-offs have sometimes touched a ridiculously high 100% in recent years, denying many admission seekers entry into the courses of their choice. In addition, students from certain states edged out others. For example, in 2016, out of the 188 admissions approved tor the B.Com (Honours) course in Delhi’s coveted Shri Ram College of Commerce on the first day, 129 students were from Tamil Nadu, including 33 from just one school. Last year, CBSE decided to discontinue the moderation system.

From the very beginning, moderation was a flawed idea. An examination should give the student a clear idea about her competence and aptitude. She should get what she deserves. By inflating marks, the boards are also unfairly edging out deserving candidates. So the recent decision of other boards to end the inflation of marks is a critical step forward. But a better long-term solution will probably be to have a national common entrance test for universities to judge a student’s aptitude and give everyone a level playing field.