Yes, soon we may see CAT, XAT and MAT like scoring in our Class XII exam. The top education councils of the country like CBSE, CISCE and NCERT have been asked by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) to explore options of introducing percentile basis of marking for class XII results.
A high level meeting was conducted by the ministry on August 3 on the practice of ‘marks moderation’ and ‘grace marks’ followed by the boards. The meeting was attended by R K Chaturvedi, chairman of the Central Board of School Education, Hrishikesh Senapaty, director of the National Council of Educational Research and Training, Gerry Arathoon, head of the Council for the Indian School Certificate Examinations, and the then school education secretary S C Khuntia, who was recently appointed chief secretary of Karnataka.
From the available sources it is learnt that Khuntia suggested that CBSE, ICSE and NCERT to form a committee to develop a sound procedure for marks moderation that can be recomended to all boards in order to ensure uniformity, objectivity and clarity. To achieve this objective, experts from institutes like the Indian Statistical Institute (ISI), IITs and alike could be appointed. The point of including the percentile score in the marksheet along with the regular percentage score was also considered in the meeting.
What is Percentile:
Semantically percentile is a number where a certain percentage of scores fall below the percentile. So, a score of 67 out of 90 in a test has no real meaning unless you know what percentile you fall into. Once you know that your score is in the 90th percentile, that means you scored better than 90 percent of the candidates who took the test.
The suggestion to explore feasibility of percentile was a well thought out since it is nearly impossible to manipulate at the institutional level and and is largely immune to any distortion caused by awarding higher marks.
Speaking to The Indian Express, Arathoon confirmed his presence at the meeting on August 3. “This was just a preliminary discussion. There could be more meetings on this (issue). We are not ready to tell you anything more on this at this moment,” he said.
Moderation of marks is a common practice adopted to “bring uniformity in the evaluation process”. In other words, marks scored by students are tweaked to align the marking standards of different examiners, to maintain parity of pass percentage of candidates across years, and to compensate students for difficulties experienced in solving the question papers within the specified time.
Students scoring 95 percent and above in their Class XII examination has seen an upsurge in the past couple of years so much so that it rose to 23 times in the past 6 years from 384 in 2008 to 8,971 in 2014 which has forced many reputed universities and colleges of the country to raise the bar for admission.
Very recently, CBSE had come under fire after it was revealed that the Board awarded as many as 16 marks extra to candidates in this year’s Class XII Mathematics exam.