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CBSE to scrap grace marks policy; may bring down College Cutoffs

Apr 25, 2017 12:00 IST

Worried about the high College Cutoffs or Delhi University Cutoffs this year? You would be glad to know that CBSE and MHRD ministry share your concerns. As per a recent report the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) is planning to scrap the grace marks policy that will severely impact the high college cutoffs and bring down the unachievable Delhi University Cutoffs.

The policy in question is regarding Marks Moderation, under which students are granted 15% additional marks in certain papers that are deemed to be very difficult or are known to carry questions from outside syllabus. The MHRD move comes in response to CBSE’s representation regarding the same issue in December last year. CBSE has argued that the grace marks or moderation of marks needs to be eliminated to avoid inflation of marks in the CBSE Board Exam Results. This will consequently bring down the high college admissions cut-offs.

However, while maintaining that Marks Moderation Policy had to go, CBSE has also contended that the removal of grace marks only by the Board would put CBSE students at a disadvantage compared to other state boards. Therefore, the marks moderation had to be eliminated at a national level and the direction has to be strictly followed all board including CBSE and other state level education boards.

In response to the CBSE’s request, the MHRD is expected to call in a meeting of all state education secretaries on 24th April to build a consensus regarding elimination of moderation of marks. 

Over the years, CBSE has extensively used the marks moderation policy to the advantage of CBSE students leading to inflation of overall marks of the students and resulting into higher DU Cutoffs for college admissions. In 2016, the CBSE had awarded 16 extra marks to all the students for Class 12 Mathematics paper, after protests from students and parents regarding its difficulty level. Similarly, marks for other subject exams have also been standardized by the CBSE after receiving complaints about the difficulty level of questions in any subject.

Although the CBSE and MHRD’s move regarding removal of grace marks and moderation of marks policy is a step in the right direction, it is very unlikely that a consensus would be built over it. Many in the academic circles believe that moderation of marks allow boards to bring parity in student's marks. In such scenario, it would be interesting to see how the topic of grace marks plays out in the coming months.

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