Physical exams Schools

CBSE begins first term Board exam for Class 12 students

Hard day’s work: Students on their way back home after school in New Delhi.   | Photo Credit: SUSHIL KUMAR VERMA

The Central Board of Secondary Education’s (CBSE) first term Board examination kicked off on Tuesday, with 16,000 Class 12 students writing their first papers in entrepreneurship and another 6,000 in beauty and wellness. Only 848 centres were used to conduct the exam.

It was being conducted under a new format, in which the exam had been divided into two terms. The first term exam was an objective-style test with multiple choice questions (MCQs) for a duration of 90 minutes. Students would have to provide their answers in an optical mark recognition (OMR) sheet. The second term exam, which would be conducted in March-April 2022, would be a subjective/objective exam based on the COVID-19 situation then.

The CBSE has gone back to conducting the exam in the physical mode after the Class 10 and 12 Board exams were cancelled this year due to COVID-19. It had come up with a formula for calculating the results based on the marks received in the internal assessments and the marks received in the previous exams conducted. The 2020 examination also had to be cancelled midway due to the pandemic.

Overall, 15,000 exam centres had been announced this year, more than double the usual, due to the challenges of conducting the exam in accordance with COVID-19 protocols, said CBSE Controller of Examinations Sanyam Bhardwaj. No more than 12 students were expected to be in a single room. As there were only 25,000 CBSE-affiliated schools, this would mean that the majority of students would be allowed to write the exam in their own school rather than travel to a different centre.

A major change this year was the use of encrypted question papers, which were being sent by the CBSE to be printed at the centres an hour before the exam started. “This is a very vulnerable part of the exam process,” Dr. Bhardwaj said, when asked whether this could lead to the question paper leaking.

“But our principals are good and we are also deputing independent observers for all the exams to ensure that there is no foul play,” he added. Teachers were being deputed to other schools to act as independent observers and steps were being taken to ensure that there was no interchange of teachers between two institutions. Teachers would also not be allowed to be observers at others schools under the same management. Surprise inspections would also be made by CBSE officials and schools with patchy records in the past would not been allowed to act as exam centres, he added.

An advantage of the new OMR answer sheets were that scores could being calculated on the same day as the exam. Apart from machine scanning, each answer sheet would be manually checked by an evaluator at the exam centre within two-and-a half-hours of the exam, Dr. Bhardwaj said.

While the exams for minor subjects began on Tuesday, exams for the major subjects would start on November 30 for Class 10 with social studies and on December 1 for Class 12 with sociology.

The CBSE had stated that it had differentiated between major and minor subjects based on the number of students that had opted for the subject and not according to its importance. It also added that the syllabus had been divided equally between the two terms. No student would be placed in PASS, Compartment and Essential Repeat Category after the first term exam.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2022 6:53:33 AM |

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