THIRUVANANTHAPURAM (KERALA), APRIL 23: Ever wondered why the pass percentage of SSLC examination in the state keeps soaring year after year? If you infer that the rising success rate is an indicator of the rise in education standards, you are mistaken. Ask the academic community and they will hesitantly reveal the large scale manipulation in awarding of internal marks.
Ever since the Continuous Evaluation (CE) or internal marks was made part of the curriculum in 2008, the success rates have seen a significant jump. Though a best-kept secret in the academic community, awarding maximum marks in CE has become more or less a normal practice now. Add to it a liberal valuation process and the annual ritual called ‘moderation’ the success rate begins to levitate.
“Though we were initially strict in award of internal marks, the competition among schools is such that we are forced to give maximum marks. Though schools disclose a set of CE marks to students before the SSLC exam, the actual mark list that goes to Pareeksha Bhavan will have maximum marks awarded for all the students,” said the Principal of a prominent school in the state capital, on condition of anonymity.
“The actual marks scored by a student in CE known only to the school and Pareeksha Bhavan as the final mark list that comes out has only the combined score,” the Principal said.
For subjects such as English, Mathematics and Social Sciences, the internal marks is 20 (out of 100), while it is 10 (out of 50) for other subjects. With maximum marks already awarded, the student needs to score just 10 marks for the three core subjects and five for the others in the written exam to pass.
“The grace marks of up to 30 that students score if they win in youth festivals or participate in extra curricular activities are added to it. The written examination is more or less a ritual,” the Principal said.
George Onakkur, author and Board member of Pareeksha Bhavan, said that a code of conduct should be evolved on how the internal marks should be awarded. “There should be strict checks in place to ensure that it is not misused by schools to inflate their success rates,” he said.
According to G Salahudeen, General Secretary of Government School Teachers Union (GSTU)), it is high time that a minimum mark requirement is put in place for the written examination. “If the examination system has to be realistic, the Education Department should set a minimum marks of of 30 per cent at least in the written exam alone,” he said.