CBSE Class 12th results: Giving full marks is dangerous; board's marking system promotes absurd expectations

The sort of marking that the CBSE Class 12 results showed on Saturday is dangerous not only because it is impossible and absurd but because it has raised the bar to such an incredible height that the superlative has become a norm

Bikram Vohra May 27, 2018 16:17:14 IST
CBSE Class 12th results: Giving full marks is dangerous; board's marking system promotes absurd expectations

There was a time not so long ago when 60 percent marks were considered first division and your parents celebrated with the neighbours. Today, we read of children obtaining above 99 percent marks in a board examination and as much as one congratulates students like Meghna Srivastava and Anoushka Chand for these outrageous marks, it is also time to question the insanity in such markings on several grounds.

We need to look at how it has become possible to have 12,737 students obtain 95 percent and more marks in various streams. Howsoever brilliant a child may be, and one is sure these toppers are brilliant, no one cavils over the fact that the written word can never be perfect and when the subjects taken include arts, sciences, and languages, that perfection becomes even less possible.

CBSE Class 12th results Giving full marks is dangerous boards marking system promotes absurd expectations

Meghna Srivastava secured 499 out of 500 in the CBSE Class 12 exams. PTI

Not only is it unfeasible for a child to write an essay or carry out a reference to connotation in literature, the results also brings into question the calibre of the ones who are doing the assessing. You cannot at 16 be Shakespeare for English or Malthus for Economics or Einstein for Physics and what we are being told now is that young boys and girls are given such an unrealistic boost at this immature juncture that they are being set up for a huge fall in the future. Life is not 99% and the variables that come into play will create havoc in expectations.

And, if you are a prodigy how incandescent are the assessors...? Who are those who see such perfection in children? Who are the ones who crowned the 1.1 million students who sat for the CBSE Class 12 exams, with 99 out of a 100 in English, and credited the runner-up with 98 marks? One would love to meet the persons who give marks such as these and discover the depth of their capabilities.

This sort of lava flow of mass genius is dangerous not only because it is impossible and absurd but because it is not being espoused by teachers, parents, government agencies and examination boards who have left no wriggle room and raised the bar to such an incredible height that the superlative has become a norm. In this gigantic conspiracy, what we are so dramatically failing to register is that of these 12,000 odd super-geniuses most will collapse under the reality check of life ahead and be incapable of understanding how they have not been able to repeat this feat. The disappointment for them and their parents is a very likely possibility.

There is another very relevant threat in this hurtle that marks the marks so to speak. Marooned on deserted islands of education are hundreds of thousands of youngsters who score in the eighties and are smart in themselves but are now literally damned by their second-tier performance. Imagine obtaining 87 percent and being left out of the reckoning to get into a reputable college because you fall short of the required cut.

As for those in the seventies they might as well have failed the examination for what is going to be the worth fo their marks to them? It is truly a cypher. They will not get into a second rate hole in the wall that is college. This is a collective waste of talent, ability, and acumen by a marking system that has gone berserk.

Not so long ago that 70 percent would have got them their picture in the papers.

The question nobody wants to ask is where do we go from here. More than a hundred out of hundred? Why not?

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