500/500: The curious case of perfection
The present trend of evaluation by JKBOSE leaves no scope for improvement in child’s life
This year the JK Board of School Education (BOSE) opened up a never ending debate after declaring the result of class 10th and 12th examination wherein around a dozen students in both the classes scored 100 percent marks. The students were awarded full marks in all the subjects and scored 500 out of 500 in their class 10th and class 12th exams.
In class 12th, the first position in Science stream was shared by four girl students while the other girl bagged the first position in Arts stream. Also, around seven students scored 500 out of 500 marks in their class 10th exams as well.
The latest trend in the JKBOSE results took everyone by surprise to see students scoring 100 percent marks.
One can imagine 100 percent marks in Mathematics, Physics or Accountancy. But now the JK Board awarded 100 percent marks to students even in English and History other Arts subjects.
This year the students of class 10th to 12th were given 40 percent relaxation and the students were supposed to attempt only 60 percent of the question paper which was considered 100 percent by the evaluator.
The academics and scholars have raised concern over the pattern of evaluation wherein the students have been declared as perfectionists- as they have scored 100 percent in all the subjects.
It is also a fact that we cannot limit the aspirations of the students and bar them to seek perfection. But then seeking perfection is not a cake walk. Students getting 500 out of 500 marks in a Board exam can be an outstanding achievement and one can say that the students securing 100 percent marks could be exceptionally brilliant and genius. But it has raised a concern about leaving no scope for improvement. When a student is awarded 100 percent marks in every subject particularly in language subjects, there remains no room for improvement for these students.
Having said this, we cannot doubt the intelligence or dedication, consistency and hard-work of these students having brilliant minds. But the much bigger concern is that after being awarded 100 percent marks, these students can fall prey to overconfidence. And if it happens, it will prove disastrous for these students.
Though the officials at Board have defended the move by saying that the evaluation was done only for the 60 percent of the paper wherein the students had attempted all the questions perfectly leaving no chance for deduction of a single mark in their papers. The Board officials say the students attempted the conceptual part and left the theoretical portion of the paper and scored 100 percent marks in all the subjects.
If one goes with the version of the Board officials, it seems the students have attained perfection and if this is the case then we should have the toppers in NEET, JEE and IIT exams from the Valley. But that has never been the case. Even there have been the instances wherein the position holders fail to qualify these competitive exams in their first attempt.
With all regards to the dedication, efficiency and intelligence of the students who scored 100 percent marks, I must say that awarding 500 marks out of 500 will construct a new negative trend and scoring a single mark less than 500 will be treated as a stigma for the students.
These days scoring 97 or 98 marks in English or any other language subject is considered as average performance. This is because the JK Board has started a trend of awarding, unheard of, 100 percent marks in English.
To do away with such a dangerous trend of making students believe to have attained perfection in class 10th or class 12th examination, the JK Board of school education really needs to work on paper setting.
There should be no absence of seriousness while framing the question papers for assessing the learning levels of the students. We must understand that awarding full marks in any subject examination is likely to have certain implications because of the exam performance being linked to learning levels.
It is because securing of cent percent marks will give an impression of complete learning of the respective subjects by the students.
There can be no end to learning in any subject because as it is said that there is always a scope of improvement even after one feels to have attained perfection in any aspect.
But giving cent percent marks in all the subjects including languages hints about the fallacy in the process.
It has been a trend that the majority of the students, excluding those who are in a rat race, start their preparation after the JK Board notifies the date sheet or mostly a month before the dates are announced. While in case of other competitive exams, the students take 5 months or a year of coaching to compete in the exams. So by this, we can gauge the standards of the question papers.
Also, the board needs to do away with the moderation- the process of giving extra marks to some students for different reasons. This moderation for the Board to address issues of ambiguity in questions, unusually high difficulty level of a paper and other reasons to award additional marks to the students to improve the pass percentage of the students.
Once the practice of moderation is abolished, it can be a good start in making the JK Board marking pattern more realistic. But this is also true that reforms will not be possible unless the assessment system is overhauled.
Even the CBSE along with other state Boards had decided to drop the policy of moderation. The decision was taken after it was found that such marks were given in excess, leading to a spike in the overall scores.
We are not undermining the efforts of the students to attain excellence in exams. Neither there is any intention to discourage these brilliant minds. But we have to understand that this mad race to get cent percent marks in exams will reach to the level where students will be confused about the level of seeking perfection. The new trend of JK Board giving a sense to a 10th or 12th grade students of attaining perfection will equally mar his efforts for his future achievements.
Awarding full marks to the subject in class 10th and 12th examination will certainly have implications on the students’ career because of the correlation of the performance in exams being linked to learning levels. The marks obtained in any exams should always allude to the scope of further improvement by the students. Otherwise if the students are given a sense of having achieved perfection in secondary or senior secondary examination, it will put an end to their future aspiration.