NEW DELHI: All efforts made during the past two years to assess the present batch of Class 10 students of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) on co-scholastics areas and to identify their strengths is all set to go down the drain, as the board now wants the schools to only submit grades and not the specific indicators for which the grades were granted. In fact in the online excel sheet to be filled up by the schools, the descriptive indicators column is missing this year and the CBSE has written to the schools that the descriptive indicators will be provided by the Board.
In a letter dated January 13, 2012 to all the heads of institutions affiliated to the CBSE, the Board informed that it has finalized the software for all schools to download the list of candidates alongwith roll numbers and schools can complete and upload the assessment data. Interestingly in the co-scholastic areas the board has only asked for the grades of the students and stated that "Descriptive indicators shall be provided by the Board."
Meanwhile, the letter also mentioned that in the previous exam too the descriptive indicators were provided by the Board as there were many spelling mistakes, grammatical errors and variations in the descriptive indicators provided by the schools.
CBSE has introduced Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation (CCE) and grading system at the secondary level in all schools from the academic session 2009-2010. Principal of Laxman Public School, Hauz Khas, Usha Ram, who is also one of the master trainers under the CCE scheme, said: "My understanding is that schools are supposed to give the descriptive indicators, else otherwise it will have no meaning. I am yet to see the letter so I can't comment on the issue."
But many teachers feel that the whole purpose of CCE, evaluation of co-scholastic areas and identifying individual strengths of the students will be defeated if descriptive indicators are given by a computerized system.
"Case in point: a physically challenged wheelchair bound student good in chess and a good footballer both can be given 'A grade' or a painter and a clay artist student can also be given 'A+ grade'. Now if we don't specify as to why these students were given a certain grade and instead just give a computer-generated indicator such as 'represented a team in school', how will it justify the students' capability?" questioned a senior teacher at a Kendriya Vidyalaya.
While despite repeated attempts, the CBSE chairman could not be contacted, a senior official in the computer department at the CBSE headquarters, "Because of the variations in descriptive indicators the board received and the errors like spellings and grammar last year, the Board decided that a set of pre-determined descriptive indicators will be used for different grades."
"For example if a school gives an 'A grade' to a student in the category of sports and indigenous sports the pre-determined indicative description will be like - Demonstrates an analytic aptitude required and reacts appropriately to strategic situations; Demonstrates sportsmanship; Displays a healthy team and school spirit; Discipline for practice; Has undergone training and coaching; Has represented a team in school, interschool, national, international level," explained the official.
"How can one attribute a descriptive indicator like 'displays healthy team spirit' to a chess player just because he/ she has been given 'A grade'?" questioned a teacher of a public school, on condition of anonymity.