SSLC examination grading system: history being created in State

J. Ajith Kumar

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Tomorrow will witness history being created in Kerala. For the first time in the State, the Secondary School Leaving Certificate (SSLC) examination will have results under a Grading System which is being introduced to replace the mark and rank system followed hitherto. As announced earlier, the results are to be released tomorrow.

The newly-introduced grading system has several dimensions. It has been described as a major initiative of the State Government in the area of general education. The system followed for decades has been one of awarding marks and categorising students on the basis of their performance in the SSLC examination.

Candidates securing more than 80 per cent marks were considered a privileged lot, for they came under the `Distinction' category. Those scoring 60 per cent and above were placed in the `First Class' and students with marks in the 50 to 59 per cent range, in the `Second Class'. All the others declared to have passed the examination were in the `Third Class' category. And then there were the less fortunate students for whom the SSLC mark list would bear the `Failed' seal. However, out of over five lakh candidates who used to appear for the SSLC examination year after year, only a handful hogged the limelight; the ones securing the top ranks stealing the show.

There had been highly intense competition for securing the first three slots and in most cases, the difference between the first and second or the second and third rank would be just one or two marks.

In recent years, the Board of Examinations conducting the SSLC examination has also been releasing a list of candidates securing the first 15 ranks in the State. Here again it was fierce competition to find a slot in the list of the top 15.

The system of ranking was believed to cause a lot of tension for the students and undue anxiety for their parents and school authorities. Losing a position at the top by a narrow margin of one or two marks would be the most disastrous event ever to happen in the life of a 15-year-old child.

With schools competing among each other for maximum ranks and 100 per cent pass, the result of the SSLC examination used to have an aura around it. However, the competition, especially among the private schools, most often exceeded all limits on account of the fact that the result of the SSLC examination was the prime factor that contributed to the prestige of the institution.

The anxiety, the agony and the ecstasy are all gone this time, with the introduction of the grading system. The method of ranking the candidates has been done away with and more importantly, the system of classifying them as `passed' or `failed' will no more be there.

Instead, there will be nine grades by which all those who had appeared in the SSLC examination will be covered. Those securing 90 to 100 per cent marks in a particular subject will be awarded the `A+' grade and students scoring 30 to 39 per cent, the `D+', grade. Then there are the D and E grades for those who score still less marks. Only those who secure `D+' and above grades in all the 13 papers will be eligible for higher studies.

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