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May 10, 2019 Friday 04:57:40 PM IST

100/100 - Grading System Puts No End to Obsession With Marks!

Guest Column

By Shini Cyriac
You may recall the times before the grading system was introduced for SSLC and CBSE Examinations. The day the results were announced, the rank holders got a celebrity status with their news and photos published in front pages of newspapers and interviewed on television. However, the obsession with marks continues despite the grading system in force.

Therefore, it was not surprising that I recently came across a Whatsapp message with the opening remark, "Giving full marks is dangerous. Boards marking system promotes absurd expectations."  This set me thinking. According to me, this is not even a debatable topic. Whoever gets to hear the marks of the students now will definitely question the insanity in such marking on several grounds. We have also seen the absurdity of the Class XII topper who got 499/500 choosing to go for revaluation to get 500/500.

However brilliant a child may be, it’s next to impossible to score above 95% for languages & subjects. Written work as we all know can never be cent percent perfect. The same is applicable to science subjects. Mathematics is the only exception here. The mindset of the people who are assessing is under question here. If these examination conducting boards are raising the bar to these unachievable heights, we are going to face or are already facing should I say, a very dangerous situation.The marking system, personally speaking, has gone haywire. The repercussions of this, the present and future generations will have to face. You and I are parents first and foremost.

Have we ever seriously thought where this is heading to? Sad to know that there are institutions wish has kept 100% as cut off marks!!! How unrealistic is that? How demoralizing, discouraging and demotivating it is for all those students who have scored 60% & above? What message are those who have done the assessing trying to convey? Are they not fit for admission to any courses? It is equivalent to failing the exams if they don't get admission in any good institutions. I deeply pity the 90+ score holders whom we are giving a hallmark fame which they have to live with and prove in their future academic pursuits. Once they realize they can't achieve it throughout their life, their bubbles of high expectations will burst and they are sure to tumble down from the pedestals we have placed them.

I conclude by admiring and appreciating a mother's post which I happened to come across in FB. "Super proud of my boy who scored a 60% in class X Board exams. Yes, it is not a 90,but that doesn't change how I feel. Simply because I have seen him struggle with certain subjects almost to the point of giving up and then deciding to give his all in the last month and a half to finally make it through! Here's to you AAmer. And others like you-- fishes asked to climb trees. Chart your own course in the big,wide ocean,my love.And keep your innate goodness, curiosity and wisdom alive. And of course,your wicked sense of humour!!"

 This mother here has beautifully put all what need to be said. So I rest my case.


Shini Cyriac

Shini Cyriac holds a post graduate degree in English, BEd and has taught in various schools in the past two decades. An experienced facilitator of learning, she conducts workshops for teachers & students on any topic related to teaching & learning processes, gives training for extra-curricular activities like compering, debates, extempore & drama. Currently, she is Headmistress of Rajagiri Kindergarten, Kalamassery, a position she has held since 2006


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11/05/2019 12:51:16 IST
Manoj Manavalan: Dear Ma'am, You have raised a question which is the need of the hour.We as parents were really thinking the same that those who scored even above 80 percent also doesn't have any value ...very very sad...Really appreciate that a responsible person like you raised the issue.
11/05/2019 08:22:48 IST
Sarah George : Very true Shini. Nice article.
11/05/2019 08:00:47 IST
Amritha: You are very very right... well written. I agree 100%. My son just got into 9th n whatever marks he gets in his board exams I will be proud of him as I believe that success doesn't just mean scoring near to full marks in boards :)
11/05/2019 07:44:27 IST
Nitha Kavalakkat: Good one 👍 examination is a necessary evil’s not a true test of ability . This was a comment given by my friend Ashi when once we had a discussion about this topic.