The Telegraph
Wednesday , May 21 , 2014
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Change to boost marks

- Madhyamik tweak

Madhyamik will have more short-answer and multiple- choice questions and students can be awarded full marks even in language papers.

The changes will be introduced from the 2015-16 academic session following the state government’s decision to accept the recommendations of a syllabus reforms committee.

“Students who will appear in Madhyamik 2017 will be the first batch to be tested under the new system,” Kalyanmoy Ganguly, the administrator of the state secondary education board, said on Tuesday.

In the new system, there will be 40 per cent multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and one-mark questions in every subject in Madhyamik.

Now, there are no multiple-choice questions in Madhyamik. There are one-mark questions in some subjects but their count never crosses 10 in any paper.

“In the current system, the focus is more on essay-type questions, which makes it difficult for Madhyamik candidates to score high marks,” said Avik Majumdar, the chairman of the syllabus reforms committee.

“One of the main disadvantages of having too many essay-type questions is that it makes the evaluation subjective and prevents students from scoring high marks,” said a secondary education board official.

“The highest scorer in ICSE gets 99.5 per cent marks because the mark pattern followed by the ICSE board is more scientific. We want to frame a system which can enable our highest scorers to score as high marks as the ICSE and CBSE candidates,” said Majumdar.

In another proposal, the syllabus committee has suggested allotting 10 percent marks on internal assessments of students in all the subjects which has also been accepted by the board today. Students’ attendance will be considered as one of the criterions in the internal assessment. The 10 mark internal assessment will replace the existing oral tests which carries the same number of marks.

The state secondary board had been facing a criticism for a long time for its failure to make the Madhyamik exam scoring. Madhyamik students often had to suffer for their low scores when they had to compete with students coming from Delhi boards.

The Delhi boards had introduced short answer and one- mark questions long before which helped their students to score higher marks.

Teachers in city schools welcomed the move to introduce short answer and MCQs and awarding full marks in language papers as this will make the Madhyamik exam more scoring and help students catch up with those passing the ICSE and the CBSE.

“We welcome the move to introduce MCQ, one mark answer questions in Madhyamik and awarding full marks in language papers as this will help the board to establish a parity between the exam pattern follow3d by the Madhyamik and Delhi boards. Many Madhyamik students had suffered in the past because of their low scores,” said a headmaster of a reputable Madhyamik school in south Calcutta.

The syllabus committee was set up by the state government to overhaul entire school curriculum in order to make the Madhyamik curriculum on par with Delhi boards.

The panel had given the proposals to the state education department which has also given its nod and directed the board to implement the suggestions.

Avik Majumdar, of the syllabus committee said the panel has also suggested the board to replace the essay type questions with more text-based based ones.

“Most of the questions will now be short answer types and they will carry 5 or 7 marks. There will be one or two questions which would carry 8 to 10 marks. But students will be given part marks even in those questions if they follow the methods correctly,” said Majumdar.

More focus has been given on text-based questions as a similar approach is followed in competitive entrance tests.

“The MCQs and the short answer questions will encourage the students to study the text in details and it will also reduce the increasing tendency among students on depending on private tuitions,” said a member of the syllabus committee.

The new approach will also help the students to prepare themselves for the future entrance tests and discourage rote learning.

However, some teachers felt that too much emphasis on short answers will deprive the students from developing writing skills.

A board official said, students will be tested on their writing skills in the language papers.


  • New in Madhaymik : 40 mark MCQs in all subjects
  • Now : No MCQs in any subject
  • New : Maximum two long answer questions
  • Now : Majority of the questions are essay type
  • New : Most questions to carry marks between 5 and 7
  • Now : Most questions carry 10 and above marks
  • New : Internal assessment of 10 marks
  • Now : Oral tests of 10 mark
  • New : Students to be given part marks
  • Now : No part mark