Maharashtra education board might scrap internal exams for SSC, HSC

Mumbai city news: The board observed that schools award marks to students unfairly and leniently.

mumbai Updated: Jul 03, 2017 00:42 IST
Puja Pednekar
Puja Pednekar
Hindustan Times
Mumbai city news,HSC,SSC

From the academic year 2018-19, the practice of schools conducting internal exams- carrying 20 marks - in the Secondary School Certificate (SSC) and Higher Secondary Certificate (HSC) exams might be scrapped.

The Maharashtra State Board of Secondary Education is mulling over replacing internal assessments on observing that schools award marks to students unfairly and leniently. It was found that schools give full marks to students in internal tests, even if they were absent for the exam.

The department has formed a study group consisting of experts from the state board and textbook publishing bureaus to come up with a new marking pattern. A circular on the new pattern will be issued in the next three to four days, said education officials.

As of now, the board follows 80: 20 marking pattern, which judges students on written exams and internal assessments. Internals are conducted at the school-level, and can be in the form of oral or practical exams. Currently, the pass mark is calculated after combining marks of both the exams.

“The department is planning to change the marking scheme, discussions have begun, it will be finalised in the next couple of days and we will issue a circular,” said one of the senior officials from the department.

Officials said that they are looking at proposals on alternative marking schemes submitted by experts. Some of the proposals seek to hold 100 mark written exams, scrapping internals entirely. Others are looking at awarding grades instead of marks for internals. “We met recently to discuss the proposals, but I cannot comment on it until the department announces it publicly,” said an official from the textbook bureau.

Educators said there is an urgent need to make schools accountable and transparent for internal assessments. “We came across several cases in which students had barely secured minimum passing marks in the written paper, but surprisingly scored full marks in internal exams,” said Father Francis Swamy, former board member and joint-director of the Archdiocesan Board of Education, which runs 150-odd schools in Mumbai.

Schools rely on internal marks to ensure that all their students pass the board exams, helping them attain 100% results. This has driven up the pass percentage of languages such as English, Marathi, Hindi, to almost 100%, while earlier few students passed in them.

For HSC, the 80:20 pattern was extended to all streams in 2014 exams and later to all subjects in SSC. Earlier, it was only restricted to science stream. Even subjects such as geography and maths have practicals.

Alarmed by the inflation in the results, in 2014, the board had proposed separate pass criterion for internal and written exams, but it was not implemented.

Over 16 to 17 lakh students appear for the SSC and HSC exams annually, including 3.4 to 3.8 lakh from Mumbai division, which includes Thane, Raigad, Palghar, and, Navi Mumbai.

First Published: Jul 03, 2017 00:42 IST