New Delhi, Sep 7 (IANS) The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) will scrap its Class 10 Board exams from 2011 and introduce in its place a nine-point grading system, it was announced Monday. The decision drew mixed response from students, child specialists and school administrators.
Human Resource Development Minister Kapil Sibal told a news conference:

“There will be no Class 10 board examination from 2011.” The last of the Class 10 CBSE Board examination will take place in March-April 2010.

But the minister clarified that the exams would very much take place this academic year.

From 2011, the evaluation of the students would be based exclusively on a nine-point grading system. But this will be introduced this academic year itself.

“This academic year, there will be both a Board examination and a grading system,” the minister said.

Under the new system, there will be nine grades: A1, A2, B1, B2, C1, C2, D, E1 and E2.

A1 grade will be considered “exceptional”, A2 will be “excellent”, B1 “very good”, B2 “good”, C1 “fair” and C2 “average”.

Grade D students will be classified “below-average” and those graded E1 will get a “needs improvement” label. Those at the bottom of the pile will get an “unsatisfactory” remark on the certificate.

According to the authorities, the “exceptional” grade will be equivalent to a score of 91-100 percent in the conventional exams.

Usha Ram, principal of Laxman Public School, hailed the announcement.

“Its a great reform. I welcome the step,” Usha Ram told IANS. “I don’t believe this new system will affect the outcome of Class 12 or performance of the students.”

Shashank, a Class 9 student of the Bharat National Public School, was thrilled.

“I am very happy that I don’t have to face the dreaded Class 10 board examination. For sure, it will reduce students stress in a major way,” he added.

Child psychologist Jitendra Nagpal disagreed.

“The decision can be a problem for the students later because now they will sit for the first public examination in Class 12, which decides their career. It could be very stressing.

“This will bring a lot of challenge for the students. Many might find that they are unable to face the stress when they prepare for Class 12 (exam).”

Agreed Kanika Chatwal, a Class 11 student in a private school, agreed.

“Its not good. Now students have to face Class 12 exams directly. It will affect their confidence which we get after giving the Class 10 board,” Chatwal said.

Sibal had last month announced that the government would do away with the Class 10 Board exams and make it optional from this academic year. But on Monday he clarified that his ministry did not want to burden the students with something new in the middle of the academic session.

This is why the Board exams will be held this year even as a grading system will be introduced to ensure a smooth transition to the new system.

However, the students would still have the option to evaluate themselves on the marks system, he said.

“There will be no (Board) examination but students who want to evaluate themselves can take an examination on demand.

“Students who take the examination will get a certificate from CBSE. But I believe a majority will not like to go for it.

“If a student wants to shift to a different Board other than CBSE or wants to join pre-university degree (junior college), he or she can take an examination by demanding it through his school. The certificate thereafter can be used for the above purpose,” Sibal explained.

“This examination on demand can be conducted both online and offline. I believe this (new system) will free the students from the stress attached to the board examination preparations.”