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CBSE Moderation Policy

The 12th class board exams are considered to be one of the most crucial examinations in a student’s life. The board results are considered the largest stepping stone to higher education because students secure admission to universities based on their CBSE scores. Do students actually deserve the marks they get? Read on to know about the much debated CBSE moderation policy!

What is the CBSE Moderation Policy

CBSE Moderation policy is a practice adopted by most school education boards to bring uniformity in the evaluation process. The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) started moderation in 1992, after it introduced multiple sets of question papers. This was done to compensate for difficulties students may face in answering a question and also for the differences in the difficulty levels of different sets of question papers in the same subject. This was done so that the graphs of distribution of marks of the students look like a bell. Instead of a normal distribution or a ‘bell curve’, most state board graphs showed an abnormally large number students scoring 90% or higher.

This has resulted in the some of the best universities in the country setting extremely high cut-offs in the recent years. For example, last year, the cut-off for Delhi University has been 100% in a few subjects. Such moderation in the marks urges students to take up courses which are easier to score even if they aren’t interested. The Central Board of Secondary Education brought this issue up in the month of April and a decision was made recently.

Why is the CBSE moderation Policy in News?

This CBSE moderation policy is being misused and was first brought into light by a blogger, Prashant Bhattacharji, in the year of 2013. He managed to retrieve data for around seven lakh class XII students by enrolling the roll numbers of the students through a computer programme. He also managed to obtain the graphs of the marks of the students. He observed that instead of the bell-shaped curves, in subjects like science and mathematics, there were sudden spikes. While for the subjects like computer science, the graph seemed pretty decent.

Abhiroop Mukhopadhyay, associate professor at the Indian Statistical Institute, Delhi said, “There is a large quantity of ‘good’ scorers and few ‘very good’ scorers. It seems the exam cannot differentiate between the two”.

The moderation of marks has increased by a great extent after the National Institutes of Technology (NITs) and other centrally-funded technical institutes started to give weightage to board scores while calculating all-India ranks of students in JEE (Main). Some boards were increasing the marks of the students so as to increase the number of candidates getting into such prestigious institutions.

Apart from a few boards from the Northeastern states, almost all boards recorded an increase in the average marks scored by their students between 2014 and 2016. As a result, the scores pushed astronomically high cut-offs marks, sometimes touching 100% — for subjects ranging from history to mathematics during admission to sought-after colleges. Prashant Bhattacharji thinks that the moderation in marks served as a critical purpose of exposing why the cut-offs are artificially inflating year after year, thereby making college admissions very arbitrary.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) conducted a meeting on the 24th of April and the members agreed that the marks which are displayed on the mark sheets of the students aren’t what they actually score in the exams. The CBSE was unanimous that the process of moderation was grossly unfair. But the decision to scrap it happened after the board examinations were held, a move considered unjust by many affected parties. The Delhi High Court on 23 May said that doing away of the marks moderation policy was unfair to this year’s students who had registered for the exam when the policy was still in place.

About 10 school examination boards have already declared their class 12th results, partially or completely. This list includes states such as Punjab and Haryana where the pass percentage dropped sharply after the education boards stopped moderating marks. So, there shall be no change in the correction and evaluation procedure this year. The court made it clear that the CBSE did not handle the case sensitively and rushed to their decision in April. “Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh and Chhattisgarh have decided to implement the policy change from next year, which should have been the ideal approach,” said Balbir Singh, an advocate.

Reports show that the boards will set very easy question papers to increase the pass percentage if the moderation policy is removed. There is a view that the intent of the moderation exercise was good and the Central Board should ideally have urged states to follow it in a scientific and transparent manner, rather than scrapping it altogether. The students from other boards will face issues during admissions into some universities like, Delhi University. Apart from discontinuing marks moderation, the Boards have agreed to grade a student’s performance in extracurricular activities separately from her/his academic performance. Some boards currently follow the practice of adding marks obtained in, say, physical education to the overall academic performance, which the Centre suspects is one of the ways to artificially improve the Board results.

To aid the process of bringing greater uniformity across states, all 32 Boards have agreed to adopt the NCERT curriculum for subjects such as science and mathematics which are the most affected subjects due to the policy. CBSE has offered to share its question papers with state Boards so they can set questions along similar lines. While Boards have agreed to scrap the moderation, the practice of giving grace marks will continue. However, the Centre has urged all boards to publish their grace marks policy on the official web site and to disclose the grace marks awarded to a candidate in her/his mark sheet. This decision will result in the decrease in number of students scoring more than 90%.

CBSE, 4 day prior to the result declaration, was directed by the high court to keep the moderation policy in their scoring process. CBSE 12th result 2017 were declared on 28th May, 2017.

That’s all on the CBSE moderation policy for now. Toppr Bytes keeps you up to date with any change being implemented. You may express your views of the moderation policy in the comments’ section. We wish you the best of luck till then!

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