The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Bid to bridge HS marks mismatch

Calcutta, Sept. 27: Students can no longer complain that X is a 'scoring' subject and Y is not if a higher secondary council plan succeeds.

The council is recasting its question and marking patterns in such a way that every student can score well irrespective of the subjects they study.

A study of the last few years' higher secondary results, recently carried out by the council, has revealed that a majority of the high scorers were from the science stream.

The study had further shown that the overall performance of students in the higher secondary exam ' the number of first divisions and second divisions ' can be raised if students are given an equal opportunity to score in humanities and the languages.

'The finding is important and we are sincerely working on measures to reorganise the question and marking patterns to assess students in non-lab and social science subjects,' said Debashis Sarkar, the secretary of the HS council.

The move, though apparently being initiated to give an opportunity to every examinee to score good marks, is also intended to increase the overall pass percentage, said a source in the council.

The council has also decided on the basis of its study that it will reorganise the marking system in such a way that an examiner gets minimum scope to deprive a student of marks.

An official said that in many subjects, essay-type questions carry marks as high as 15. 'Our random checking of some answer scripts has shown that most examiners follow no logic when evaluating such answers.'

On many occasions, the students are at the mercy of the examiners and the marks awarded depend on the teacher's mood. Sometimes an undeserving candidate is awarded more, a council official admitted.

'We want to plug this loophole,' said Sarkar.

Meritorious students of the social sciences and non-laboratory subjects had a long-standing grievance ' of being denied opportunity to score high marks because of several factors, including the need to write long essay-type answers.

'Students of the laboratory-based subjects can score better because their theoretical test carries 80 marks and the practical, 20. In a non-lab subject, the written test is held on 100. This is definitely a disadvantage for the students. Our present move is aimed at removing this disparity,' the council secretary said.

To ensure that students 'see every subject as scoring', the council has also decided to divide the entire course into three-four major categories ' language, lab-based subjects, non-lab subjects, and commerce and math.

A particular pattern will be followed for marking all language papers. The format for assessing non-lab subjects like history, political science and philosophy will be different. Sarkar said: 'We are discussing every possible way.'

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