The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Maths paper poses problem
- HS Council convenes expert panel to probe student complaints

Flooded with complaints from teachers and examinees about “difficult” questions in the Higher Secondary (HS) mathematics examination, the state HS Council has decided to convene a meeting with experts in the subject to probe the alleged deviation in the pattern of questions in this year’s paper.

Many examinees were angry on Saturday — the day of the maths exam — as they alleged that this year’s paper was not only “lengthy” but a bulk of the questions set in the second part of the paper was also “extremely difficult”. The students complained that they found it difficult to answer the questions in the Second Paper, that covered differential and integral calculus and their applications, as the pattern of the questions was “unlike the ones taught in class”.

Instead, they alleged, the format of the questions was “more like the ones followed by various joint entrance exam boards”.

“We are aware of the students’ grievances. The Council will soon hold a meeting with maths experts, who will be asked to examine the extent of deviation in this year’s paper. Adequate measures will be taken to safeguard student interests if we find their allegations are true,” said Dibyendu Chakraborty, secretary, West Bengal Council for Higher Secondary Education.

The officer, however, admitted that preliminary inquiries have revealed that some questions in the mathematics Second Paper were “slightly complicated and were not set maintaining the normal pattern that is taught in most HS institutions”.

Backing the students’ allegations, teachers of a number of schools in Calcutta demanded that the government take appropriate action against those who set this year’s paper. They felt that many students, especially those of average merit, will not be able to score “good marks” in the paper.

“We were surprised to find the examinees were asked to solve at least three sums this year, which were exactly the same as those set in the joint entrance and IIT entrance tests a few years ago,” said a teacher of a reputed English-medium school in south Calcutta.

The three sums were taken from the 1986 and 1989 IIT entrance examination test papers. In addition, there were sums in this year’s HS maths paper on the lines of those in the state joint entrance examinations.

Sources in the Council said a maximum of 20 per cent difficult questions is allowed in the maths paper. But in the past several decades, maths papers have had a much smaller percentage of difficult questions. This year, however, the questions have reverted to the older pattern.

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