This is the first year of the optional Board examination conducted by the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and parents and students are apprehensive about making a choice. Several questions on the standards of the examinations and on whether students' choice might limit options in Plus Two admissions have arisen.

Speaking to The Hindu recently, chairman of the CBSE Vineet Joshi said the Summative Assessment 2 (SA2) conducted by the schools and that conducted by the Board would both be of the same standard.

A recent CBSE circular states that while all candidates shall be “at par” for admission to class XI, “only those candidates are expected to be taking the Board-conducted SA2, who are leaving the CBSE system after class X.” Explaining this, Mr. Joshi said a senior secondary school affiliated to the CBSE would first have to accommodate its own students and then, could make the remaining vacant seats available for students from other schools. “For these, schools are likely to get two types of students. One, students from a secondary school, who would have taken the Board-conducted SA2 and two, those from another CBSE school who would have taken the school-conducted SA2 and might be applying to this school for a particular stream. The school should not discriminate between the two,” Mr Joshi said.

For students who are attempting the school-conducted exam but are alsokeen on being evaluated externally to know where they stand, the Board will be holding proficiency tests in different subjects. It will collaborate with reputable institutions such as the Homi Bhabha Centre for Science Education and the Indian Council of Social Science Research.

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