Many Class XII CBSE students who took the Mathematics paper on Wednesday emerged from the hall upset and disappointed.

One student said that when compared to the previous years’ Maths paper, Wednesday’s was especially tough, particularly some four-mark questions. “This is a subject where several aim to score a centum. But this paper changed that for many,” he said, adding that he found questions worth12-15 marks in the paper quite challenging. “Maths is a crucial paper at the time of cut-offs and college admissions; you need to get at least above 95 per cent to make the cut,” he said.

The Principal of a CBSE school who is also the Board-appointed subject expert on Maths said that as is the practice after every Board paper, Maths teachers from several city schools will be meeting on Thursday to assess the paper. “CBSE has a policy to maintain a difficulty level between 12-14 per cent, but for the past three years, the paper has been relatively easy,” the Principal said, adding that feedback collected on Thursday will be communicated to the Board.

The Principal of a CBSE school who also teaches mathematics said that in Thursday’s meeting all three sets of paper will be assessed. The CBSE gives three sets of question papers, with minor differences between each other, to students to avoid possibilities of copying.

Young A. Aishwarya, who took the exam, said that most of those who took the paper along with her were extremely disappointed. “There was barely enough time,” she said.

M.P. Praveen reports from Kochi, Kerala:

Many students said they feared the results would affect their prospects in gaining admission to professional engineering courses. At least 50 per cent marks are mandatory to qualify for admission to engineering courses in the State. In fact, mathematics teachers feared a high percentage of failure unless the valuation was made liberal.

“The matter was brought to the notice of CBSE Chairman Vineet Joshi when tough valuation last year left many students ineligible for engineering course in the State. The situation was even graver this year as reflected in panic e-mails reaching the association from schools across the State. We will move a resolution to the CBSE Chairman on Thursday urging corrective measures to address the anxiety of students and parents,” Indira Rajan, State general secretary, Kerala CBSE School Managements Association, told The Hindu .

The situation will lead to a high rate of attrition from CBSE schools considering that students in the State syllabus score high marks thanks to the relatively easier question papers and even more liberal valuation. The distribution of marks among chapters, a pattern followed in the previous CBSE exams, was completely ignored, she said.

A mathematics teacher of a major city school told The Hindu on condition of anonymity that the question paper would hit the prospects of average and below average students considering that even the brightest of students could just about finish the exam in the nick of time leaving them with no time to review.

“These students were writing their first Board exam as they were the first batch of students after the introduction of Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) that did away with the mandatory board exams in Class X. Besides, time also was insufficient as comprehending the questions was not easy,” she said.

Parents write to Board

Staff Reporter in Bangalore adds:

Many students in the city said they saw stars when they began writing the mathematics paper. They described it as tough and that several questions were out of syllabus.

One student who had hoped to get a centum said: “I’m not even sure if I will get 70 now. After preparing for an entire year, I was unable to solve several questions. We were accustomed to a particular pattern and we were taken aback when we saw so many tricky questions out of the textbook.”

A group of parents of students from Kendriya Vidyalaya, Hebbal, have written a letter to the Regional Officer, CBSE Chennai Region, urging appropriate remedial action. The letter, a copy of which is with The Hindu, states that the paper deviated from the standard pattern of the previous years. “Most of the questions given were not regular problems and twisted and were beyond the capacity of an average child,” the letter stated.

Yagati Keshava Murthy, a parent, said the tough paper would cause a drop in the overall percentage of the student, affecting ranking in competitive exams like JEE, Common Entrance Test. “CBSE students will be at a disadvantage as compared to students of other boards. We want the Board to take appropriate action.”

Meanwhile, sources from the CBSE Regional Office in Chennai told The Hindu over the phone: “A group of subject experts meet routinely after exam to discuss the paper and the evaluation process. We will forward the letters and grievances that we receive from parents to them so that they can be examined.”