The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) proposes to hold the finals for classes 10 and 12 on same dates in two shifts, a move that will reduce the examination period and give teachers extra time to check answer-scripts more thoroughly.
The new plan was designed after the board met principals of some of the top schools in New Delhi and its satellite cities.
The CBSE, which has two panels committees to suggest ways to improve the system, will review the suggestions before a final decision is taken.
The country’s largest school board that has more than 18,000 institutions affiliated to it holds the two exams usually from March 1, barring exceptions such as this year’s state assembly elections that delayed the test by more than a week.
The exams run close to 45 days because of an array of subjects and separate time-tables for the two classes.
The plan to set common dates for both exams, with Class 12 in the morning and Class 10 in the afternoon, is likely to decrease the overall duration of the finals.
At present, exams are not held in the afternoon.
The reduced number of exam days will give evaluators — a pool of schoolteachers selected by the CBSE — more time to check the answer-scripts of students before the results are declared in May.
The teachers usually get a small window to check the answers, given the sheer size of the number of examinees.
More than a million students wrote the Class 12 exam this year.
“By conducting Class 12 and 10 exams on the same day we can reduce the examination period and provide more time to the evaluators,” a senior board official said.
The CBSE has drawn criticism for its evaluation system as several students complained of variation in marks after asking the board for a relook.
The board said it took extra care to cut faults, but the possibility of human error cannot be ruled out in calculating the marks, putting them on answer-scripts and feeding them manually in computers.
“Efforts are made to further improve the system,” the official said. The meeting with principals was called to gather views “before deciding anything on the evaluation and examination system”, the official said.
According to sources, most principals were against reevaluation or rechecking of answer-scripts, but won’t mind verification of marks.
“A longer evaluation period will be better for students. This will give teachers more time to look at the answer sheets, maybe more teachers can look at them. This will ensure fewer errors,” a principal said.
Another principal said “we have assured the board we will send our best teachers” to check answers.
It has also been suggested that the board should ask students to suggest teachers who could be good evaluators. Another suggestion is to increase the remuneration of evaluators, at least by 20%, and to set a figure as to how many copies they need to check.
“We are looking at restricting the number of copies that can be evaluated by a person in six hours so that quality is maintained,” the CBSE official said.