Relevance or the irrelevance of board exam results

Wednesday, 16 October 2019

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Relevance or the irrelevance of board exam results

Harshita Himatsingka | May 11, 2019 17:33 hrs

This results season when a number of students are expected to score marks that might far exceed their capabilities, a Facebook appreciation post by Vandana Sufia Katoch from Delhi, for her son, Aamer Katoch, who received 60% marks in his Class 10 board exam, has won the internet. The post has gone viral with almost 7,500 shares, 15,000 reactions and 2,100 comments. 

In her post, Katoch praised her son who worked hard to attain these marks and said that she was proud of him even though he did not secure 90% marks or more. She further added that she was happy with his success as she had seen him struggle with his studies.  For her, marks are not everything and she wants her son to be a good and wise kid. 

“Super proud of my boy who scored a 60% in Class 10 board exams. Yes it is not a 90, but that doesn't change how I feel. Simply because I have seen him struggle with certain subjects almost to the point of giving up, and then deciding to give his all in the last month-and-a-half to finally make it through! Here's to you, Aamer. And others like you - fishes asked to climb trees. Chart your own course in the big, wide ocean, my love. And keep your innate goodness, curiosity and wisdom alive. And of course, your wicked sense of humour!” she wrote in her Facebook post. 

“This post that went viral was really the need of the hour and I am so happy to have come across it, as I have a similar student who is an all-rounder, participates in almost all school activities and brilliant at studies, but he only received 89 percent,” said Mausumi Mahanta, Head H.R, H.O.D, History, Maria’s Public School. 

Mahanta explained that all of the student’s teachers, friends, his parents and he, himself, were expecting that he would get 90-95 percent. However, even when that was not the case, the student and his parents were both happy because of everything that he had learned, his achievements in co-curricular activities and all his efforts throughout his school years. 

“It was so heartening to hear that he was under no pressure. I still told him that these marks don’t define him, as his calibre far exceeds the number on that sheet of paper, and I was happy to hear him say that even he and his parents were happy with whatever he had got,” added Mahanta. 

However, she mentioned an interesting finding in terms of board results marks. Some students who are very average throughout the year have scored very well, almost 90 percent. But, very good students got 88, 89 percent marks which seemed uncharacteristic.

“Both average students and brilliant students getting the same marks, same percentage, I really don’t know what to make of these results to be very frank with you,” said Mahanta.
 
Talking of the extreme pressure students face, both during exam time and during results announcement, she explained that it always exists. It comes from parents to excel, sometimes there’s peer pressure and even the students themselves, expect that they should be doing well. 

“I think it works in all three ways, however, sometimes the pressure works in a favourable manner because if a child who does not study, is made to study in the last one a half months, some of them tend to do well just because they have no option but to study,” explained Mahanta. 

Another important thing that Mahanta has always maintained is that marks don’t define students at all, since they are so subjective. 

“You don’t know who’s evaluated a particular answer script, if a lenient evaluator has checked the answer script, it means that the child could’ve gotten a 90-95 blindly. Whereas, a cautious evaluator will give marks that a child really deserves, and so he will be more careful correcting the answer scripts. Thus, it’s always subjective and important for children to understand this and then chalk out the next course of action,” intimated Mahanta.
 
The only problem that stands to remain is that, if students get less percentage, then it becomes difficult for them so get into the top-notch colleges where they might be hoping to get admission. It’s like a vicious cycle almost, but apart from this problem, board exam results really don’t mean much.
 
“I always tell my students, once you start working, your communication skills, emotional intelligence and the ability to work well with a team will be what is most important and not your marks. These are the things that will hold them in good faith, thus they should focus on being all-rounded individuals,” said Mahanta in closing.

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