Explained: CBSE’s new assessment system for Class 10 students

The board has prescribed a system of internal moderation by all schools based on the historical performance of a school, taking the best performance in the last three years’ board examinations as the ‘reference year’.

On Saturday evening, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) released its “objective criterion” on the basis of which students of Class 10 will be assessed, following the cancellation of board examinations for students of this grade.

Around 21.5 lakh Class 10 students will be subject to this system of assessment – which is largely drawing on assessments conducted through the course of the year – and the board has had to account for large-scale variations in the situations of different schools and students: with many schools likely to not have been able to conduct all the cycles of assessments through the year, and many students likely to have not appeared in those conducted.

What is the most basic version of the assessment pattern proposed by the board?

The basic break-up of marks provided by the board is as follows: 20 marks based on Internal Assessment which has already been conducted by most schools with marks already uploaded, 10 marks for Periodic/Unit Test, 30 for Half Yearly/Mid-Term Examinations, and 40 marks for Pre-Board Examinations.

However, the board has also had to account for a range of different possibilities in different schools. “There are some schools where one or more of the above three categories of tests/exams have not been conducted. Further, there may be differences in terms of the mode of examination i.e., Online/Offline. Also it is possible that some of the students may not have appeared in any or some of the examinations conducted by schools”.

How are these irregularities being accounted for?

At the centre of the assessment process this time are ‘Result Committees’ that are to be formed in every school. These committees will comprise the principal, five teachers from mathematics, social sciences, science and two languages, and two teachers from neighboring schools as external members. It has been left to these committees to draw up a criterion of 80 marks through a ‘rationale document’ for in cases where all tests have not been conducted or where students have not appeared for the assessment.

What is the standardised mechanism to be used to ensure even assessment across schools?

The board has prescribed a system of internal moderation by all schools based on the historical performance of a school, taking the best performance in the last three years’ board examinations as the ‘reference year’. According to the board’s policy, the “subject wise marks assessed by the school for 2021 should be within a range of 2 marks obtained by the school in the reference year”. Along with this, “the overall average marks for the school assessed in 2021, for all 5 main subjects, should not exceed the overall average marks obtained by the school in the reference year”. This system is expected to provide a “reasonably reliable, unbiased and fair reference standard” based on the school’s own past performance”.

What happens to students who do not make the qualifying marks through this system?

The board has stated that it will apply its policy of awarding grace marks to those who do not meet qualifying criterion. If a child is still not able to meet the criterion after grace marks, they will be placed in “Essential Repeat” or “Compartment” category. The compartment exam will be held by the school as an objective type online or offline exam based on sample question papers provided by the CBSE, and not as a centralized exam as is usually held. The child may be allowed to continue in class XI till the compartment results are released.

What is the timeline for this process?

The result committees are to be formed by May 5, and the schools’ ‘rationale document’ have to be finalized by May 10, which is a week from now. The finalization of results by schools is to be done by May 25, and the marks submitted to CBSE by June 5. The date for the declaration of result has been finalized as June 20. Schools have raised concerns about how tight this timeline is. “Given the current COVID situation, and that this is a task for which 10-12 people will have to sit together, I really feel like the timeline should be extended. This is not work that can be done online, and in our schools, assessment throughout the year has been difficult,” said the head of a government school in Delhi.

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