Higher Secondary Exam

MCQs in two HS semesters: Automated evaluation in 3rd set of exams

Subhankar Chowdhury
Subhankar Chowdhury
Posted on 09 Mar 2024
05:42 AM
Representational image

Representational image File image

Students will write short answer-type and broad answer-type questions in the even semesters — second and fourth

Two of the four semesters in Bengal’s higher secondary course will be entirely based on multiple-choice questions (MCQs) and the answer scripts in one of the semesters will be evaluated through a computerised system.

While the MCQs will be there in the first and third semesters, the automated evaluation will be done in the third semester only.

It means Class XII students who will write the third semester exams in November 2025 will be the first batch to undergo automated evaluation, Chiranjeeb Bhattacharya, the president of the West Bengal Council of Higher Secondary Education, said on Friday.


The council conducts the school-leaving exams.

Bengal’s Plus-II course will be split into four semesters from the academic session starting this year. The change will be applicable to Class XI from the academic session 2024-25 and to Class XII from the academic session 2025-26.

“We will have MCQs in the odd semesters — first and third. The council will conduct the third-semester exams, which around 8 lakh examinees are expected to write. We will opt for computer-based evaluation for faster assessment,” Bhattacharya told Metro.

“The council has assigned the responsibility of conducting the first and second semester exams to the schools. The schools can internally evaluate the answers to the MCQs in the first semester exams. There is no need for computer-based evaluation in the first semester because the number of candidates, school-wise, will not be huge.”

Students will write short answer-type and broad answer-type questions in the even semesters — second and fourth.

The council will conduct the exams in the third and fourth semesters.

In the first and third semesters, a council official said, students will have to mark their answers on OMR (optical mark recognition) sheets. OMR sheets are papers containing circles or elliptical bubbles or boxes against answer options. Examinees choose an option by marking the circle or elliptical bubble against it with a blue/black pen or pencil.

A software configured on the computer reads the bubbles while scanning.

OMR answer sheets are used for MCQ-based tests.

“Since the candidates will attempt short and broad descriptive questions in the fourth semester exams, to be conducted by the HS council, the role of the examiners and head examiners will remain limited to the evaluation of the fourth semester answer scripts,” said a council official.

“As we are opting for computer-based evaluation in the third semester, we don’t have to involve examiners and the head examiners in the process.”

The state joint entrance examination board and the school service commission are among the exam-conducting authorities that go for computer-based evaluation.

This is the first time the HS council is switching to automated evaluation.

The president of the HS council said the students would write the third and fourth semester papers at “away centres”, not in their respective schools.

“The plus-II board exams were usually held at away centres. After the spilt, the students will write the third and fourth semester papers at away centres and the exams in the first two semesters at their respective schools,” a council official said.

Priyadarshini Mallick, secretary of the HS board, said: “If needed, the council will help schools with the evaluation of the first semester (MCQ-based) answer scripts.”

The advantage of the computer-based evaluation is that it contains a back-up, which comes in handy during reassessment of scripts.

Saugata Basu, secretary of the Government School Teachers’ Association, said: “Since the council is splitting the Plus II course into four semesters, they should take the responsibility of conducting the examinations of all four semesters.”

Last updated on 09 Mar 2024
05:51 AM
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