Santrupthi R was surprised when the SSLC results came out. She got a perfect score in English, first language, though not her favourite subject. When the others boast of multiple centum in core subjects, which is normally justified, Santrupthi scored it in language, a trend that has been fast picking up in the past few years. TOI tries to find out why scoring a hundred in languages has become much easier for students. The valuation scheme is set in such a way that it is easy to score in languages.
For instance, the break up of marks for a five mark essay in the SSLC question paper is thus: introduction-1, body-1, conclusion-1, grammar-1 and matter-1. Thus, if a student writes three paragraphs, he is eligible for more than half of the marks. Also a major section is objective. For instance, the first question in II PU English exam was: How old did Bland ford say he was The students had to answer it in one word or a phrase. The student who wrote the right answer even in figures (32) got full marks. There is not even a scope for spelling mistake there. This is the biggest criticism that language exams face: they fail to assess the reading and writing skills.
That the students got the perfect marks is absolutely justified, but not valid or reliable. There are some criteria for evaluation. If they meet it, they can be given full marks. The problem is not that. The question paper is not set to analyse the language skills of a child. It’s a content-based exam. This pattern has to change, said Ravinarayan Chakrakodi, faculty, Regional Institute of English. Evaluators say that some students are so good that they cannot cut marks. There are flawless papers that meet all the requirements. What is the justification to cut the marks I found one grammar mistake in such a paper and reduced half a mark; but it got rounded off and again became 100, said Jagannath of Government PU College, Bantwal.
However, once the marks cross the 90 limit, the deputy examiner has to review the paper again. The centum, the teachers say, happen only after tight scrutiny. Teachers admit that the fear of penalty in case the revaluation marks happen to differ from the original marks also add on to the high scores. If you give more marks, the students will be happy and hardly anyone will go for revaluation, said a lecturer from a prominent PU college in the city. In trying to get more rural students pass English, the question papers are diluted, making it easy for average and above average students to score, he added. Also the questions are being repeated over the years, helping students to score more.
Ravinarayan Chakrakodi (Regional Institute of English):
In PU examination, nearly 40% of the questions are textbook-based. However, the remaining 60% tests language ability. This is a good move. Unfortunately, in SSLC exam, more than 60% of the questions in first language are textbook-based. These questions do not assess language skills. Language skills are reduced to recalling and recognizing facts and unnecessary information. It is unfortunate that we still follow Blooms taxonomy of educational objectives, which was developed in the1970s, in designing our test papers (25% for knowledge type, 39% for comprehension type, 30% for expression type and another 06% for appreciation type questions).
Prof Bhaskar Y (Kannada Lecturer, Christ Junior College, Bangalore):
It is possible to score a 100 in Kannada. There are students whose writing skills are good and they don't make grammar mistakes. It is easy to score in 1,2,3 mark questions, but they do very well in 4-mark essay type questions too. These questions test their critical thinking and challenge their language ability.
Courtesy: Times of India