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Uncertainty over CBSE Class 12 result: 5 facts about moderation, why it matters

The CBSE will challenge in the Supreme Court a Delhi high court order asking it to go back to moderation system.

education Updated: Jul 11, 2017 17:29 IST
Neelam Pandey
Neelam Pandey
Hindustan Times, New Delhi
CBSE,Class 12 results,Moderation
A group of Class 12 students waits outside an exam centre at Delhi’s St Thomas’ School. (HT file photo)

These are anxious days for around a million students waiting for the Central Board of Secondary Education’s Class 12 result.

Typically the country’s largest school board declares the result of the “make or break” examination between May 25 and May 27 but a delay looks inevitable this time.

The board has decided to challenge in the Supreme Court a Delhi high court order asking it to continue with the moderation system of marking it had decided to do away with.

Five things to know about the moderation system and the fuss around it:

What is moderation?

Introduced in 1992, moderation allows the board to add or subtract marks from a student’s final score. It is done to ensure uniformity in the evaluation process as board sets at least three sets of question papers for the Class 12 exam.

Marks scored by students are changed keeping in mind the difficulty level of different sets of papers, marking standards of various examiners, and the difficulty faced by the student in answering a question.

Moderation should not be confused with grace marks that are awarded to students to improve the pass percentage.

Under moderation done by the CBSE, a student getting a percentage of 80-85% can see it rise to 95%. However, a candidate who scores 95% or more will not get extra marks.

Lack of uniformity

While 18,000 schools in the country are affiliated to the CBSE, every state has its own school board, some of which use the policy to increase marks, thereby raising the overall pass percentage.

High scores lead to abnormally high cut-offs — sometimes touching 100% — for subjects such as mathematics and history for college admissions. Delhi University, for instance, sees a fierce competition for admissions to its colleges, which has limited seats and thousands of aspirants.

The CBSE decided to do away with moderation to “remove arbitrariness and inflation of marks” as far as the results are concerned.

“We are going to contest inflation of marks as it is an unfair practice,” a government official said.

Why the fuss

The Class 12 marks are considered a stepping stone to higher education because students secure admission to universities based on their board scores. These marks also play a role in securing a place in the country’s top medical and engineering colleges.

The trouble began after the CBSE and state boards decided in April to do away with the moderation policy. Students’ contention is that the change should have been made before they wrote the examination in March and not after they were done with it.

A delay in the CBSE result could hit admission process in several universities, including DU. Admissions normally begin in June.

What lies ahead

The Class 12 exam results could be delayed as the CBSE has decided to challenge the Delhi high court order asking it to continue with moderation.

The board on Wednesday decided to file a “special leave petition” in the Supreme Court. The board said the results won’t be delayed but didn’t specify how it will avoid it.

The board’s appeal is unlikely to be filed before Saturday, sources said.

“Depending on the outcome, a decision on the results will be taken. All attempts are being made that the results are not delayed,” a source said.

It could get messier

The CBSE’s decision to go to the top court could affect students of eight state boards, including Haryana, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh and Himachal Pradesh, which have declared their results.

The students from these boards might lose out to their peers from the CBSE on grades or pass percentage should the Supreme Court decide to go with the high court’s verdict.

First Published: May 25, 2017 10:16 IST