[Reader-list] Making the Grade: CBSE's big switch from marks to grades

Chintan chintangirishmodi at gmail.com
Fri Mar 26 22:32:46 IST 2010

 From http://www.teacherplus.org/cover-story/making-the-grade

Excerpts from the article:

"The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE)’s new mandate on continuous
and comprehensive evaluation requiring schools to make a shift from marks to
grades is meeting with a mixed response. While on the one hand, there is
relief and even celebration, there’s uncertainty and skepticism on the
other. We spoke with a few people to get a sense of how the change is being

"Grades are being seen as a healthier alternative to marks, because grades
do not equate the child’s capability with a number that might provide an
incomplete picture of the child’s attainment levels."

"The CBSE’s new grading scheme will take into account a child’s
participation in extra-curricular activities, life skills, attitudes and
values, along with his or her performance in academic subjects. How one can
award grades for ‘honesty’, ‘respect towards teachers’, ‘emotional skills’,
‘creative thinking’, ‘ability to handle criticism’ is something worth
mulling over."

"Sure, one can produce a list of indicators that attempt to place controls
on teachers’ subjectivity, or even ensure grading by multiple teachers.
However, is it even desirable to grade all of these things in the first
place, and artificially produce normative behaviour? Would such grading
create another kind of pressure – the pressure to be seen as a well-behaved,
law-abiding, goody-two-shoes student, for without it one’s grade sheet would
make a sorry picture?"

"The switch from grades to marks necessitates a change in teachers’
attitudes as well as administrative procedures. And this change can be
unsettling on several counts – the subjectivity involved in awarding a
grade, the maintenance of elaborate records, working with colleagues to
mutually decide upon a grade, giving up the idea of using a number/mark to
sum up a child’s performance, and the sudden increase in workload. Any
teacher training programmes that seek to initiate teachers into the new
grading system must take these issues into consideration."

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