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The Marks-Grade equalization

Benish Ali Bhat

For those of you who have seen the American Sit-com “Big Bang Theory”, the title of this article might ring a bell because their individual episodes are named such. I couldn’t think of better heading for the confusion that our ‘nerdy’ 10thand 12th students have to face in their results. They are evaluated according to the Cumulative Grade Point Average (CGPA) but positions and percentage are still announced.
Before stepping into a debate, it is better to understand what CGPA is. The CGPA system used by CBSE and the JKBOSE converts the numerical marks obtained by students into a nine point grading scale whereby the slight marks difference between students doesn’t reflect in the final result.
After evaluating grades for each subject the overall grade is obtained and displayed as the result. The main reason for introducing CGPA was to decrease the level of competition and stress among parents and students.
“CGPA reduces a lot of stress. Earlier even a difference in one mark could cause animosity or even depression among students,” says Nandita, who teaches at a School in Delhi.
CBSE declares only the grade of each student in the results, which serves the purpose of its introduction.
Safina Amin, a student of Tagore International, Delhi says, “I feel declaring only the grade takes off a lot of pressure. Also the system is used internationally so it is better.”
But what happens here in Kashmir is a story of absurdity. While declaring the Grade Point Average, the total marks of the student are also given, defeating the purpose of the system.
Director Education, Dr Shah Faesal acknowledges that the system is not what it should be but considers it as a beginning.
“It is a positive beginning even though the reforms need to continue,”Dr Faesal said.
Explaining the reasons for the confusing system, Dr Faesal said, “I understand that the CGPA system is not fully functional here but it is because of the bigger picture. Our system of employment is still based on marks and merit so we need to include the marks. There needs to be a holistic social change and reform before we can switch only to grades.”
Talking of society, there has been a positive vibe towards the grading system especially by the students.
“The grading system is the best. But please do not put our marks on display,” says Syed Athar who just passed 12th standard.
His mother Aamina also believes the same., “Grading system is better for students at this crucial stage. The smug competition of the marks needs to end,” she said.
But as Dr Faesal said some people from the society cannot digest grades easily.
“Marks and competition are very important for a child to perform. Grades can never compete with marks,” says Shabir Ahmad, an engineer and a parent.
Another 12th pass-out, Badr feels that grades and marks do not do well together.
“The value of your grade is nothing when your total marks are on display. It’s wrong,” Bard said.
The CGPA has been introduced only at the 10th and 12th standard levels. The classes before, in between, and ahead are evaluated on the basis of marks.
Internationally the CGPA is viable throughout the education system. And for the Indian students trying to go outside the country, marks need to be converted into grades first. Switching to the Grade system entirely looks farfetched right now but we have a start even though an incomplete one. It’s always good to end on a positive note.
So, here’s wishing all the best to those of you who just passed 10thand 12thwith flying colours and marks and grades. And more wishes to those who didn’t. Enjoy the wide world full of opportunities.

  • Title: The Marks-Grade equalization
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