Nevertheless, for NEET and JEE aspirants, cancellation of the board exam was a major relief. These medical and engineering aspirants have been able to dedicatedly focus on the entrance tests.
The marks that will be awarded in the Class X board marksheet will be based on two sets of parameters. The marks scored by the students in the various assessments – unit tests, half-yearly and pre-board – will be the basis for the individual student’s marks as per weightages given. However, students will have to be placed in marks-range fixed by the CBSE for each school, based on the best performance of the last three year’s results of the school in boards. But the policy to declare the Class XII results by CBSE has not yet been finalised.
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“It has been seen that some students have lost out. It has been particularly harsh on meritorious students. As it is now a game of average – meritorious students have been impacted negatively,” All Assam Private Schools’ Association (AAPSA) president Pankaj Das said.
School heads feel that one of the problems in the Class XII evaluation has been that in some schools practical exams could not be held partly or wholly. “The marks scored in Class XII are particularly important because of its role in admissions. If admission into higher education is delinked from the marks scored in Class XII exams, it will not impact much,” he added.
Fr Sebastian Mathew, principal of Don Bosco School, Panbazar, said that without exams it’s not possible to do 100% justice to students. He, however, said that there is no other way in this pandemic situation. “Those students who took internal assessment seriously will definitely benefit. The fact is that some of the students who would have done better in the board exams may not get the deserving marks after cancellation of the exams,” he said.
After preparing for the board exams through online classes for the whole of 2020, Shyreen Dutt, an outgoing Class XII student from the Army Public School, Shillong, is now concerned whether NEET will be held. “Being a NEET aspirant myself, the question that has been bothering me is whether the NEET exam will be held on scheduled or not. At this stage, when we are at the threshold of entering college, such uncertainties have highly impacted our preparations for exams. The steady pace of our preparation seems to have been disrupted, causing much worry and apprehension,” said Dutt, seeking prompt decisions to provide clarity to keep studies moving forward.
Parents are worried whether schools will properly assess their children’s academic performance in school in the absence of physical examinations. “Normally students perform below par in internal tests and it’s only after the completion of curriculum at the end of the academic year, when they have a good grasp over the subject that they perform at their full potential with optimal grades and marks. However, in the absence of the usual practice of holding the final examination and assessment made on the basis of internal tests will lead to apprehension among parents about the fairness of the same for their children,” said Sanghamitra Roy, mother of an outgoing Class XII student of South Point School.
Assam is among the few states in the country which has not canceled the boards only because it failed to evolve a concrete internal assessment mechanism. Even as thousands of students are demanding the cancellation of the state board exams, the state government is adamant on conducting the exams after July, when the Covid situation is expected to improve. Over one million twitterati have joined a campaign on twitter since Sunday, appealing for the cancellation of the Assam Class X and XII board exams with #CancelAssamBoardExams. But the very next day, state education minister Ranoj Pegu said that the state board exams are most likely to be held between August 1 and 15.
“Life is above exams. When CBSE has taken a decision to cancel the board exams, why can’t the Assam boards find a solution? We are not even vaccinated due to the lower age group,” said Sanjib Chakraborty, a registered Class XII state board examinee.