The state Higher Secondary council has decided to issue detailed guidelines to its examiners from next year to ensure that the candidates are awarded marks they deserve.
The guidelines the council now issues are broad and sketchy, leaving room for confusion or misconception among the examiners and often resulting in students being awarded marks more or less than they merit.
“An elaborate exercise has started to overhaul the way our examiners evaluate answer scripts,” said Mahua Das, the president of West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education.
A council official said the system of issuing question-specific instructions to the examiners would kick in from next year.
The council will consult the CBSE and ISC guidelines and question patterns before designing its new marking system.
The Delhi-based ISC council allots answer scripts to examiners only after they qualify in assessing model scripts. “The system is time-consuming but we plan to adopt it,” said an HS council official.
The council will hold a number of workshops for teachers to discuss the new procedure.
What prompted the council to think of issuing detailed, question-specific guidelines is response from examiners on what constitutes “correct” answers, especially in arts subjects, at an interactive session the council held recently.
For instance, a history examiner had said a student who would write “Babur and Ibrahim Lodi” in answer to the question “Who fought the first battle of Panipat?” could not be given full marks.
The teacher told council officials that the correct answer should be “The first battle of Panipat was fought between Mughal warrior Babur and Delhi Sultan Ibrahim Lodi”.
“It’s a glaring example of misconception that we are trying to remove by issuing detailed guidelines,” a council official said.
“The history question that was discussed at the session comprised four parts — Who fought the first battle of Panipat, in which year was the battle fought, who won the battle and use of what made the battle significant? To get full marks a student only needs to write ‘Babur and Ibrahim Lodi, 1526, Babur, cannons’. But there are many examiners who mistakenly believe that such ‘brief’ or ‘to the point’ answers do not deserve full marks,” the official said.
In mathematics, several examiners denied marks to a model answer to a question on the grounds that two steps had been clubbed.
“In the evaluation guidelines the examiners were asked to see whether students followed five steps to reach the answer. But there is no word on what marks should be awarded if a student jumps steps. In the new system, we will try to make the guidelines as exhaustive as possible,” the council official said.