Manash Gohain speaks on a range of subjects – from question paper security to advancing the exams by two weeks
Given the security concerns after 2018 Board exam leaks, why hasn’t CBSE opted for encrypted question papers?
The question paper leak did raise questions on CBSE’s credibility. But the perpetrators have been arrested and criminal proceeding have been initiated. We did use encrypted questions papers in a few subjects last year to counter the security risk while handling question paper hard copies. We will continue the same practice in those papers where the number of students is comparatively low. We are also trying to create a fool-proof delivery system for encrypted question paper, and are working on logistics so that all future papers are also in online delivery mode.
Why can’t a candidate directly get a scanned copy of the evaluated answer sheet, instead of going through the three-step process?
CBSE is committed to offer the re-evaluation facility. Of the 30 lakh candidates who appeared for the Class X and XII Board exams in 2018, about one lakh applied for the first step of the process. Of that 35,000 students applied for retotalling. Finally, about 18,000 applied for re-evaluation. So 99.5% candidates have faith in our evaluation system. However, it is not justified to hand out scanned copies to all 30 lakh students, as it will create a panic situation. After getting access to the copies each parent and students will try to see if they should be getting more marks. This will open the floodgates and take two months to complete the process.
Why have the exams been advanced by 15 days?
The Board has always been under pressure to conduct the exams of over 200 subjects at Class XII level within 45 days, evaluate and announce the results on time. Therefore, we have advanced exams by 15 days. The big benefit is that we will be able to complete the evaluation ahead of time and also announce the results a week in advance. This will also enable us to complete the final re-evaluation process before the start of the Delhi University admission, as ordered by the Delhi HC.
Is CBSE competing with other state education boards in inflating marks? What is the need of moderation in CBSE, especially as the Board follows a liberal marking scheme and a single set question paper?
Moderation is going to stay as it is necessary to deal with the ambiguity and unusual difficulty level in questions. If our experts find that students had difficulty in answering a question, or there is ambiguity which adversely affect the scores, we opt for moderation. But CBSE has never resorted to spiking of marks. Our competition is with our own benchmark we have set for ourselves.