Will grading system improve the learning environment? Two CBSE school heads in Tiruchi express their views.

The Human Resource Development (HRD) Ministry's endeavour in introducing grading system in Class X examination under the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), last year (2009-10), seems to be striking the right chord with school heads.

Their main cause for relief is that the new system will bring an end to the mad race among students to excel one another by just a few marks. They are happy that the new system focuses more on multi-faceted development of students rather than just on scoring marks.

Speaking about the benefits of the grading system, Bro. Mariannan, principal of Montfort Senior School in Tiruchi, says, “The mad rush for scoring centum has gone. The practice of declaring ‘‘compartment or fail'' has been discontinued. Besides minimising the misclassification of students on the basis of marks, it will leave no room for unhealthy competition among high achievers.”

He also hails the move of making the Class X examination optional from the current academic year (2010-11) though he expresses apprehension that the students will be overburdened once they are exposed to the Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) based on grades, which will replace the Board examination.

“Grading is absolutely better than the previous system. After a meeting with the parents, we summed up the conclusions that they have reposed their faith on grading, which according to them will usher in an improved learning environment,” he points out.

P. Varadarajan, principal, RSK Higher Secondary School, Tiruchi, terms the talk that grading will prompt CBSE students to migrate to other boards, a myth.

“What is better: Knowing much and being unable to produce anything or knowing the required extent and being able to present it well?” he asks.

“A percentage of 95 does not differ from a score of 91 per cent on a grade scale, as feared by a cross-section of students. All this is because of the human element in valuation,” he opines.

“The role of school heads has become vital. They need to make the concept understandable to teachers and parents. In addition, the quality of faculty members has to be enhanced, as they are not just information providers,” Mr. Varadarajan adds.