In a significant step aimed at reforming the educational system in India, the Central Government announced the Standard X examinations, held under the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), will become optional from the 2010-11 session. A couple of months ago, Union Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal told in a Press conference that the Class X examination will become optional from the 2010-11 session.
The students will be able to take exams on demand after the board is abolished, he added. “The schools can also conduct exams if the students want to switch over to different schools to get an admission in class XI,” Sibal said. The grading system will replace the current system in the ongoing 2009-10 and the students of the current batch will get only grades not marks, Sibal added. The government has introduced the grading system to reduce the pressure on students, the minister told.
Reams of paper have already been devoted to the debate on whether eradicating the Class X Boards is a good idea, and making the 10th boards optional help make any difference to the education system in India. Will having a single Board through out the country help homogenising the education culture, and will the states agree to the proposal? Certain voices have starting coming in from various states in the country.
Amid all the hoopla, is the average Delhi student excited? Is he/she happy about Sibal’s proposal? Educational experts, principals have all weighed the pros and cons of having the system. A student is, however, lost somewhere in the debate. Quest takes a look at all the sides of the debate and brings to you a student’s perspective.
As per Kapil Sibal, grading system will be introduced in all Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) affiliated schools from the next academic year.
Students will be graded for their performance through the year and not just on the basis of one exam. Grading will be mandatory but students can also opt for a Board exam. Central Advisory Board of Education (CABE) supports making Class X examination optional in CBSE system.
Let’s look at a glace of the history of grading system in the world. “Prof. Keith William Hoskin, formerly Professor of Accounting at UMIST, with a background in educational research and also The Member of the ICAEW Education and Training Directorate in England argues that the concept of grading students’ work quantitatively was developed by a tutor named William Farish and first implemented by the University of Cambridge in 1792. Hoskin’s assertion has been questioned by Christopher Stray, who finds the evidence for Farish as the inventor of the numerical mark to be unpersuasive. Stray’s article elucidates the complex relationship between the mode of examination (testing), in this case oral or written, and the varying philosophies of education these modes imply, both to teacher and student. As a technology, grading both shapes and reflects many fundamental areas of educational theory and practice.”
Most universities in the world evaluate classes with two mid exams and a final. The final exam encompasses the whole course syllabus, whereas the mid exams usually review half. In some schools, if the average grade of the two mid exams is equal to or higher than 7.00, the student is able to pass the class without the need to take a final exam (since there are only two exams, some teachers also pass students whoes average is 6.50; others weigh in the decision based on the student’s performance in class). An average of less than 4.00 is failing; students who score such an average are not allowed to take the final exam.
In high schools, the year is divided into three trimesters and classes are usually year long. Students need an average of 6.00 or higher in the three trimestral exams to avoid having to take a final to pass the class. In the event of a student scoring less than 6.00 in the 3rd trimester, he or she would have to take a final exam, regardless of average. This is considered controversial, since the last trimestral exam is not more important than the first two, but the rule stands to prevent students who have already reached the minimum average (e.g., two 10.00 in the first two give a student the lowest possible average of 6.33) from not making an effort during the last three months of the year.
But, the ‘Graded Examination System’ here in India will not be a precise system since there are many who believe that class examinations are inherently a valuable tool in motivating and encouraging pupils, and measuring progress.
Moreover, the graded examinations are amateur qualifications, the marking criteria-emphasising sight-reading skills and strict adherence to the educational text at the expense of performance skills-directly influence school age tuition and therefore standards of those teachers who go on to pursue a career. On the other hand, the fact that the examinations require the student to attend to skills such as sight-reading and scales, rather than simply learning graded pieces, can be of value.
Each section of an examination is awarded marks and convincing dazzling performance of a student is qualitative rather than quantitative in nature basically here in India. Another issue which is often debated is the cost of the materials necessary to be purchased to study properly for the exam, and, in addition, the cost of the examinations themselves. This means that not all can actually afford to participate in exams, which means that they are often considered not as skilled as others who have.