After the flow of corporate results it is now the turn of school and college results to pour in. It is difficult to find any one who has scored less than eighty five percent. Suddenly we have too many scholars than the city can bear. Ironically no one is happy. In our days when a student scored seventy percent he would go to a movie or to a hotel to celebrate. Today when a student gets eighty percent, all hell breaks loose. The student would attempt a suicide, the parents would rush to get a bed in J.J. Hospital and friends and neighbors would troop in to offer heartfelt condolences.
Some attribute this to the declining standards in assessment. This is not true. The correction of papers continues to be strict. This is the impression I got when I met Mishra the head examiner of HSC Board.
Mishra told me “People accuse us of being generous in offering marks. You will appreciate that being in an era of liberalization we cannot be stingy.”
“That’s good” I said.” But how exactly you go about correcting the papers?”
Mishra pulled out an answer paper from the pile on which he was seated and said “Any student who appears for the examination automatically gets sixty percent marks. This is done to encourage people to sit for exams. If he has tied his supplements properly he gets additional 3% as bonus points.”
“That’s a real incentive.”
‘By writing the roll number and the name of the subject correctly he can score further 5%. So till this point he has 68% for asking.”
“Wonderful” I said. ”This is fine of way of motivating the young lads who are caught in the crossfire between cricket season and the exams.”
“Mishra went on “I’m glad you appreciate it. If the size of the handwriting is large we give him seven more percent straight away. Bigger the letters, lesser is the strain on the eyes of the examiners. When you are examining 300 papers in a week it counts for some thing.”
“You’re right” I nodded.
“Another 5% is reserved for attempting all the questions. We believe that the intention is more important than the ability. A student who attempts all the questions even if he does not know the answers shows that he has good intentions.”
“Good going” I said. “That makes it 80% I guess.”
“Eighty percent which the student has received so far is then compounded at the current inflation rate for three months which the interval between the date of the exam and the date of the results. That takes the tally to some where between 88% and 92%.”
“Tell me one last thing.” I said. “Mishra don’t you give any weightage to the correct answers.”
Mishra flared up “Who says so? A student who writes all the answers correctly can get as much as 3% which is what separates the merit list from the non-merit list.”