Marks in some subjects in ICSE (Class X) and ISC (Class XII) exams have been low for a section of students and teachers are suspecting multiple-choice questions (MCQ) as a reason.
“There were no marks for steps in the MCQ system, which was introduced for the 2021-22 batch. Full marks were awarded if an answer was correct and nothing if the answer was wrong,” said a teacher.
The results of the semester 1 exams of ICSE and ISC, conducted by the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations (CISCE), were announced on Monday.
The exams were held in November and December. Those who could not appear then mostly because of Covid had the option to write the papers in January.
In several schools, students scored lower than expected in accounts and physics in ISC and physics in ICSE.
Many ISC students have scored in the 30s out of 70 in physics and in the 40s out of 80 in accounts.
A number of ICSE students have scored less than 20 out of 40 in physics.
Teachers said that some of the students who have scored exceptionally low marks are above-average students.
“The marks have suffered in science subjects where numericals are involved. MCQ could be a reason because in subjective papers there are marks for steps and considerations. There is no scope for that in MCQ,” said John Stephen, acting principal of La Martiniere for Boys.
Anil Jha, an accounts teacher, said students did not get enough time to practise answering MCQs. “It was a new pattern of questions for them,” he said.
In a subjective paper, he said, a student gets marks even if he or she makes mistakes in the last two steps of a 10-step question.
“The marks have been low in some papers which students found tough,” said Richard Gasper, principal of St Augustine’s Day School, Kolkata.
But teachers feel there should be scope to think beyond the textbook.
“Questions should be concept-based and students need to analyse a little more. You have to have thinking skills of high order and not expect questions straight out of the book. Students who analyse will be rewarded,” said Seema Sapru, principal of The Heritage School.
“The semester 1 result is an eye-opener for the students. We are tabulating the marks subject-wise to understand which students need more attention in which subjects,” said Raja McGee, principal of Calcutta Boys’ School.