Grace Marking in Board Exams

What's it with this grace marking system that CBSE and possibly other boards follow? There was a decision taken by the board recently about no longer giving grace marks. While on the face of it this is a good decision, as it means students will really get marks as per what they have answered in the exam and not get extra marks, which helps boost their results, but was it really so? 

Delhi High Court has ruled against it and for all the valid reasons. However this raises a few questions in my mind. 

While this ruling helps the students this year, which as fair enough as that it was they were expecting when they had appeared for the exams, but with the results to be announced only in a couple of days, it would be only logical to assume that most of the checking would be already over and the Board would mostly be in the process of creating the final mark list and report cards. How can it now revisit all the lakhs of papers to add grace marks where applicable, as per earlier policy? Will this mean further delay in announcement of results or will this mean, the grace marking will not happen, inspite of the ruling? Unfortunately, Students are definitely in for additional stress. 

Changing rules of game mid-way is absolutely illogical and against general common sense. The irony is, those who did this change are supposedly managing the Board and Education Ministries. If they don't have so much of basic common sense, I wonder how they are managing the board and the ministry? Are things really in the right hands? The only criteria our election seems to have is age. There is hardly anything on capability? 

So much so for whether to give the marks or not, but the real, underlying question is, why was there a need to give such marks?  

Almost after every board exam, we see articles in paper like this and this. So some where the difficultly level of the paper itself is the culprit. Just because the paper were set to be so tough that it was obvious that students will not be able to score and thus give them grace marks. But, then, why not make a paper that is not so difficult and doesn't creates so much stress in students lives? Looks like while higher ups keep saying that we want to reduce the stress, on the ground level, things aren't really moving in the right direction. 

In general, I have seen that year long, the general thought process in any school, in any exam, tends to be to try to show or prove what the student doesn't know, rather than to try and find what the student knows. I have seen school internal question papers that have asked questions even based on the captions of the images in the books and footnotes. It it almost like you have to read through the book using a microscope. What is achieved by this? Does this reduces the stress? 

I have also seen, many a times school struggling with trying to complete the portion, because time gets spent in things like cultural day, sports day, exhibition, holidays, some unexpected events and some of the events like cultural days actually require weeks of preparation. All this is fine. These additional activities are very much required. But then, due to lack of time teachers tend to rush and either teach a chapter a day or at times give the entire chapter as homework. What I fail to understand is that for these internal assessments, in case there is lack of time, what if a chapter or parts of it, are actually skipped from the exam portion? What is the need to cover 100% of all the books? Will this not lighten the load and keep everyone happy as well? 

Our education system is really in a bad state. Not only what we teach, but how we teach needs serious rethinking. Our political leaders find every reason to go to foreign countries as part of some study group. Why don't they go and look at education system in other countries where the students are lot less loaded and there is lot more practical knowledge given than book knowledge, where there are lot fewer subjects, where there is less depth in each topic that is taught, where is no concept of homework etc. 

Things can change, but when everything takes a social or political twist, it becomes difficult to manage. In a country where getting on the streets and disrupting things is lot easier than doing constructive work, it sure is a challenge. I can only hope that things will improve soon. 


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