Indian high school children achieved top marks this year, despite grappling with a fresh syllabus and a new grading system.
Three days after the release of exam results for Grade 12, the central board of secondary education (CBSE) have revealed the results for Grade 10 pupils. In many schools in the UAE, where 77 schools follow the CBSE curriculum and nearly 8,400 children took the exam, pupils scored above 95 per cent.
Until last year, the CBSE would award pupils grades instead of scores. For example, a pupil scoring between 91 and 100 would be awarded a grade of A1. This year, however, pupils received their raw marks and were able to calculate their marks in percentages.
The exams must be passed for pupils to progress to Grade 11.
Indian media reported that the average pass percentage this year was 86.7 and four of the highest scorers worldwide earned just shy of full marks, scoring 499 out of 500.
Anvesha Dutta, a 15-year-old pupil at Bright Riders School in Mohammed Bin Zayed City, is one of the highest scorers in Abu Dhabi with an aggregate of 492 out of 500.
Anvesha scored a 99 in English and mathematics, full marks in social studies, 98 in science and 96 in Hindi.
“Regarding the changes in the grading system, we were all afraid initially. It was tough but it’s also good for pupils like us. Through the new system, the high scorers are revealed. It’s also a good practice for Grade 12 when we sit for the final school leaving exams,” said Anvesha.
She is aiming to study computer engineering at one of India’s top colleges, or to head to Singapore.
Educators said the new system will add rigour to the scoring.
Ashok Kumar, principal at Indian High School, said the shift from a grade system to a percentage-based system was a challenge for pupils and teachers alike.
“Earlier we had formative assessments and there were no standardised tools to assess these so the true picture never emerged,” said Mr Kumar.
Of the 783 pupils who sat for the exam at the school this year, 238 have received an average of above 90 per cent. 476 children scored above 80 per cent. According to Mr Kumar, the pupils have performed better this year, while girls outshined the boys.
Rashmi Nandkeolyar, principal and director of Delhi Private School in Dubai, said 96.14 per cent of the 233 who sat the exam secured a first division.
“Earlier, pupils would get grades and marks were scaled up and inflated. Now, pupils are receiving raw marks. CBSE has done this to bring greater rigour and fairness to the system,” said, Ms Nandkeolyar.
The three best performing pupils at the school are girls: Vriddhi Khattar is the top performer in the school with 96.2 per cent, while Priya Jitendra Chawla came a close second with 96 per cent.
Michael Guzder, vice president of education at GEMS Education, said: “This year the remodelled examination assessment pattern was a worrying factor but past papers and plenty of practice has definitely helped pupils score high marks. Parents were apprehensive but are extremely relieved there were no retests.”
Muskaan Samal, an pupil at Gems Our Own Indian School in Dubai, scored 490 out of 500 in the board exams. She wants to be an innovator and has participated in the Global Innovation Challenge.
“The syllabus has increased. Earlier we only studied one part of the syllabus. It is a bit of a challenge but if you have to learn and apply it in your daily life, it helps,” said Muskaan.
The Hindustan Times reported that 16,38,420 candidates registered for this year's exam, which was administered at 4,453 centres across India and at 78 centres externally.