The average score of a student from the Maharashtra State Board of Education who appeared for JEE (Main) went up by over 5 percentage points from 2014 to 2015. In West Bengal, it went up from 65% in 2013 and 2014 to 73% in 2015.
Similarly, the average board percentage of those from Maharashtra who were among the one lakh shortlisted for JEE (Advanced), went up from 86% to 89% in the same period. In Bengal, the corresponding figure rose from 86-87% to 90%.
Maharashtra and West Bengal are not isolated cases. An analysis done by a committee on the class XII board scores of students who appeared for JEE (Main) and JEE (Advanced) over the last three years (2013, 2014 and 2015) shows a rising graph (see box inside) across state and national boards that has begun to worry academics.
Scoring 99-point-something in the all-important Class XII board exam, once an unattainable task, is now a routine phenomenon, raising serious questions about the manner in which students are being assessed. Are boards becoming lenient, as suggested by TOI in an earlier article which reported the extra 16 marks given in maths to CBSE students across the country? How can the highest score in any board exam, especially at the class XII level, miss the perfect 100 by just two to four marks?
Barring three to four boards in the north-east, all the other boards have recorded a growth in the average percentage scored by students who were taking the engineering entrance tests. Average scores of students from the national boards such as the CBSE and the Council for Indian School Certificate Examination (CISCE) also went up by 2-3% in the three years. Maharashtra, Bihar, Rajasthan, Punjab, and West Bengal, are some of the states to have seen a significant jump in the average score.
However, the administrators of the board deny that marks are being doled out liberally. Gangadhar Mhamane, chairperson, Maharashtra board, said, “Inflation of marks in our board is not happening. We award grace marks only to students with special needs and sports persons. In fact, students prefer the CBSE and ICSE schools as students from those schools are known to get higher scores. In the state board, only 20 marks are assigned for internal exams which are given by the schools.”
Incidentally, the committee that analysed class XII scores has said that “since these are the candidates who are likely to get engineering seats in the CFTIs, the change in the board marks averages over years is a likely indicator of the boards becoming lenient over time”.
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