The one, seminal factor for college admissions in India—at least in the better-reputed ones—is the higher secondary exam score. With rising competition and sky-rocketing cut-offs, as in the case of Delhi University, for instance, even a decimal’s gap can make the difference between getting admitted to one’s college of choice and settling for the second- or even third-best. In such a scenario, a higher secondary board committing serious errors in evaluating students’ papers is unforgivable. But, year after year, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has managed to do just this in the case of many unfortunate students. CBSE had introduced re-evaluation in 2014 and scrapped it later. Now, if you doubt your score, you can only apply for a re-totalling of the marks awarded. But, even with this constrained option, the Times of India reports, marks in a subject have more than doubled in many cases. All this has led to the Delhi High Court wondering if there were so many errors in totalling of marks, how many errors there could be in evaluation.
CBSE claims that these are human errors and are very limited—re-evaluation, as per reports, resulted in no change in marks in 99% of the cases. However, there is a lot at stake for the students—many, fearing their results will get withheld even as application deadlines elapse, do not apply for verification/revaluation. They see the opportunity cost as too high. But given how it also means lost opportunities in terms of the chance of getting into a better college or course, it is a double whammy. CBSE needs to have a more standardised approach when it comes to marking and publishing of scores, failing which it must bring back revaluation. It must also ensure that the final results for re-totalling requests are published well within the deadlines for most applications.