Cameras flooded schools across the State on Friday with the State producing a whopping 198 official toppers in the SSLC class X examinations, results of which were announced on Friday.

See infographic at left.

Behind the celebrations, however, schools and academicians are doing some serious thinking about these astounding numbers, and how honest an indicator they are of their students’ achievements.

This year, there are not 1,000 or 10,000, but a record 29, 905 centums in mathematics, when compared to 1,141 in 2012 when the Samacheer Kalvi syllabus was first introduced.

There are 17 centums in English, 12 in Sanskrit, 38,154 in science and 19,680 in social science.

Academic experts said the papers were easier than the ones last year, and so could not be considered proof of better performance.

S.P. Saroja, a science teacher from Government Girls HSS, Ondipudur, Coimbatore, who evaluated the science paper, said more objective and fewer descriptive questions gave students an opportunity to score well.

“It is true that the science paper was easy. The question paper pattern in the pre-Samacheer period was different. But it is wrong to say that the evaluation was lenient. All of us follow the standard answer key,” she said.

A headmaster of a matriculation school in Chennai said students also scored better because they were given as many as eight revision examinations, unlike last year, when time was lost trying to cope with the new syllabus.

A principal of a matriculation school in Chennai said that such marks would lead to parents having unrealistic expectations of the child when she came to Class XII.

“Of the 98 students in my school, 81 have scored above 90 per cent, and 60 students have scored centums. It is ridiculous. The social science paper in which thousands have scored a centum carried no surprises. How can you assess students based on these marks,” he asked.

English teachers are also questioning the validity of awarding full marks in the subject.

Other teachers however said the support material offered by the government had been extremely helpful and this could have led to better scores.

Education consultant Jayaprakash A. Gandhi expressed concern that the examination system had been diluted after the introduction of Samacheer Kalvi.

“My advice is that the examination should be easy to pass but difficult to score a centum in,” he said.

(With inputs from Shastry V. Mallady, Amutha Kannan and Asha Sridhar)