Over the last few years, there has been quite a remarkable increase in the percentage of students passing in 10th and 12th CBSE examinations. This year too 94,299 students scored more than 90% marks in the 12th examination as compared to 72,599 students last year.
It is indeed heartening to see youngsters getting such a good score. After all, they have worked hard for achieving these marks and a good score can definitely open up before them lots of good opportunities. However, the education experts do not seem to be quite happy about this almost 100% scoring. Why is it so?
High Marks Do Not Indicate Grasp Of Knowledge
Experts from the field of education believe that high marks definitely do not indicate the perfect grasp of knowledge. Certainly, the examination process highlights the abilities of the students to crack a particular examination.
However, it does not necessarily confirm that the students have gained knowledge. Rather a perfect score raises doubt regarding the evaluation process followed by the CBSE board.
According to Poonam Batra, a professor at the Central Institute of Education, Delhi University, “Obtaining high marks has become a pattern in the CBSE exams ever since they started the practice of using multi-choice and short-answer-type questions. Students are not being trained to develop a coherent argument on a subject they are studying.”
Batra Opined, “Instead, they are being prepared for an evaluation pattern that expects them to answer in short, sometimes even disconnected, sentences and in the language of the textbook. The model answers available on the CBSE website clearly indicate that the students are discouraged from developing critical thinking, conceptual understanding and the application of knowledge. The evaluation pattern rarely prompts the students to go beyond rudimentary understanding, which is closer to memorization than conceptualization.”
She further added, “Additionally, not all subjects are designed similarly. And thus an objective evaluation (over critical analysis) of languages or social sciences actually robs the student of a chance to truly learn the subject.”
The Principal of Springdale School, Dhaula Kuan, Jyoti Bose also shared a similar opinion. She said, “A score of 80% now is equivalent to a score of 50% from earlier decades. The students are scoring 100 out of 100 even in social science subjects. Social science as a discipline is not value-free (though the exam questions were ‘value-free’). “
The current evaluation process forces the students to score high marks instead of motivating them to focus on solving the answers.
Current System Emphasize On Rote Learning
One of the things that are worrying the education experts is that the high scores in students are not helping them to implement the same concepts in their daily life.
Rather the focus is more on rote learning instead of understanding the basic concept of a topic. Another aspect that is drawing attention is the increasing calls that are being made to the toll-free helpline set up by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE).
In 2019, the board received 1300 calls in just 15 days. The CBSE Board received a total 1,356 calls from February 1 and February 15 of which 619 calls were for psychological counseling. Students stopped playing a couple of months before their exams as they were under a lot of pressure.
Personal Interests Are Taking Backseat
It is natural for students to focus on their studies as the exams come nearer but most of the students just shut out all the activities including their hobbies and games just to score good marks in the exams. Experts in the field believe that this approach is not right.
The current approach of CBSE is not making the students street-smart or developing them able enough to handle situations in real life. The evaluation of CBSE is all about judging on the basis of numbers.
Importantly, students with a creative mindset do not get the deserved place in such rankings making the process strongly discriminating. According to the former director of NCERT, Krishna Kumar, 100 marks is the ‘victory of the crammers’.
So where does the problem lie? The model answers which the students are expected to write for getting perfect scores are something that can be reproduced simply by cramming. But those students who are more inclined towards doing something original and creative lose in this process.
The need is to make the evaluation process flexible enough so that it leaves scope for the students to come up with their original solutions and the best one should score the most.