Cancel CBSE Term 1: School association alleges malpractices in board exam correction

CBSE Schools Association alleged malpractices in CBSE Term 1 board exam 2021 and wrote a letter to the board regarding result manipulation, paper leak.

Cancel CBSE Term 1: School association alleges malpractices in board exam correction CBSE schools association alleges CBSE term 1 exam paper leak, result manipulation
Anu Parthiban | Dec 24, 2021 - 12:09 p.m. IST
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NEW DELHI: From wrong answer key, controversial passage to last-minute change in exam pattern, the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) term 1 exam 2021 has been embroiled in controversies. CBSE Schools Management Association (CSMA), an organisation in Tamil Nadu, recently wrote to the board regarding the "loopholes and consequent malpractice and technical issues causing prejudice in CBSE Class 10, 12 terms 1 exam 2021". The association also requested the board to cancel the CBSE term 1 exams and not validate the marks.

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Ever since the CBSE term 1 exams began for Class 10 and 12 in November end, CBSE faced a barrage of criticism. The association, in its complaint, informed the board about the types of malpractice or cheating witnessed in the CBSE board exam 2021 and listed the “fundamental flaws in the whole examination process”.

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"Such kind of malpractices in the CBSE Class 10, 12 exams resulted in awarding high marks to undeserving students and have prejudiced genuinely performing students and disciplined schools, who have been left demoralised and disappointed," it said.

For the academic year 2020-21, the CBSE introduced a new exam pattern and bifurcated the CBSE Class 10, 12 examinations into two terms. CBSE Term 1 was conducted in multiple-choice question (MCQ) format and CBSE term 2 will be held in descriptive format. The aim of the board was to test the objective and analytical skills of the students. However, the introduction of the MCQ and OMR sheets in July left less time for students and teachers to get attuned.

As a result, the CBSE Board exam students were heavily dependent on CBSE sample papers for practice, the letter said. It is important to note that there were several reports on last-minute changes in exam pattern and differences in guidelines.

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CBSE Term 1: ‘Wrongful exam framework’

In view of the Covid-19 pandemic, the CBSE permitted the same school centres for the board examinations. That is students could take the CBSE board examinations in their own schools. The association said that the “major issues” were caused due to the allotment of self-centres.

“We regret to inform that there was a huge lapse in the examination framework, which has compromised the total integrity and discipline in the way the Term I examinations have been conducted for the academic year 2021-2022,” it said.

The letter further said, “We do understand that the CBSE had entrusted the colossal responsibility of conducting the examinations in a fair manner to the schools but unfortunately, utilising the multiple loopholes in the examination process, various malpractices were witnessed all over, which has resulted in a huge dilution of ethics and moral values, resulting in the spirit of the examination being lost totally."

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CBSE paper leak, answer manipulation

CBSE term 1 exam question papers were normally getting downloaded between 9.45 AM to 10 AM, approximately one hour before the examination commenced. “The question papers were leaked to the students instantly through WhatsApp/ LAN Network/ Hard copy print, wherein the students were asked to wait in a private hall and entire answers were briefed comfortably to score very high marks,“ the letter addressed the board read.

It further alleged that the schools have asked the students to write“c”, in the last answer box, in case if they are not sure of the answer. Once the examination was completed, the invigilators from their own school changed the “c” to either “a” or “b” or “d” whichever is the right answer.

The CBSE schools association said that it was after this that the board had sent a new circular directing the change in the answer mode from smaller case letter to upper case letter in the answer box. However, the CBSE major exams were almost over by then.

‘OMR sheets manipulated’

The CBSE schools association claimed that the system of providing an empty box lastly for writing the correct answer in the OMR sheet has been exploited ruthlessly. And, that the CBSE schools also took advantage of one invigilator from the same school.

Saying that the correction of the OMR sheet by the CBSE schools themselves has motivated many schools to post the “marks that they pleased”, the association alleged that they manipulated the CBSE term 1 exam results as they had around 5 hours to update the scores.

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The late arrival of CBSE term 1 answer keys (between 1.45 PM to 2 PM) gave schools sufficient opportunity to make changes in the OMR sheet before the actual evaluation, it said.

It also made accusations of nepotism in evaluation, as the CBSE OMR sheets have students’ names and roll number.

Technical glitches

The CBSE introduced a system whereby the question papers were sent to the schools through emails with encrypting and decrypting passwords to the Shiksha mail id and the operational codes were sent to the schools through WhatsApp. “There was gross inconsistency in terms of the times at which the passwords and the codes were sent,” the CSMA said.

This also resulted in inadequate time for printing the question papers. Schools had to change the examination time every day depending on the time at which the password was communicated to the school by the CBSE.

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Several schools faced logistical issues and had to hire additional printers as a result students were forced to wait till 12 pm inside the exam hall. The shading of OMR sheets were also evaluated manually without the aid of any optical reader. “Consequently, the very purpose of using OMR sheet was lost because manual correction gave ample scope for manipulating the actual CBSE results, it added.

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