New system, new woes

for the last time: Students get set to appear for the CBSE class X exams in New Delhi  

The CBSE has devised a new system for admissions to class XI following the introduction of a grading system for class X exams. ABDUL LATHEEF NAHA takes a look at this new system.

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has come forward to address the concerns raised by a large number of senior secondary schools about class XI admissions in the wake of the introduction of a grading system.

“Relax,” CBSE Chairman Vineet Joshi has advised the schools which raised concerns about the admission criteria for class XI when grades replace marks and percentage for class X from this year. The schools have been apprehensive that class X grades will make class XI admission, particularly allocation of streams, difficult as there will be a large number of students with the same grade.

The CBSE has devised a new system called Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) to help senior secondary schools in their class XI admission. According to Mr. Joshi, the board will issue a detailed list of guidelines by the end of March specifying how to handle a tie. And it will be a pilot test, he says.

The schools are hopeful that the CGPA would give them a fool-proof mechanism for class XI admission. Under the system, average grades obtained by students in each subject will be considered while allocating them different streams in class XI. “We would like to wait and see how it works,” said Molly Cyril, principal of Choice School, Thripunithura, Kochi. But she admits there has been too much fuss about the grading system.

Till last year, CBSE senior secondary schools used to allocate streams to students based either on pre-board results or a test they conducted after Class X. Schools can now conduct class XI admission calculating average grade points in all subjects. For example, they can calculate a child's prospect in science stream by taking the average score of the grade points in mathematics, science and English. CBSE will award grades on a nine-point scale to indicate subject wise performance.

Ms. Cyril says the introduction of aptitude tests for classes IX and X, as well as the CGPA, will help the schools gauge the right aptitude of the students when admitting them to class XI. All CBSE affiliated schools in the country are soon to get an advisory from the board detailing a code of conduct for admitting class XI students.

Meanwhile, T.P.M. Ibrahim Khan, president of the Kerala CBSE Schools Managements Association and chairman of the Al-Ameen educational institutions, has raised doubts about the equity in standard of the same grades and points from different schools.

He points out that the standard of schools in metros and cities differs from that in semi-urban and rural areas. “This is largely owing to the role of parents, tradition of the schools, and quality of the staff. We can't expect excellence from the students of a school with low-paid, poor-quality staff,” said Mr. Khan.

“So, naturally, there will be a difference in quality between the same grade students from schools in urban and semi-urban areas,” he said. This, according to him, is likely to reflect in the admission for class XI. Union Minister for Human Resource Development Kapil Sibal has, meanwhile, indicated that the government is mulling the introduction of grading in class XII as well. A committee has been set up to study how effectively it could be done. Bodies such as the Central Advisory Board for Education and the Council of Boards of School Education in India will discuss the report of the committee before the government takes a final decision in this.

According to Mr. Sibal, consultations are being held with different stakeholders to reach a consensus on introducing grading system for class XII.