The CBSE Board through a board meeting conducted on 24th April, 2017 decided to scrap the policy of moderation adopted for the evaluation of answer scripts. The policy of moderation provides for eliminating the arbitrariness caused due to the examination of answer sheets by different examiners. It might happen that some examiners might be liberal and some may be stricter. Also, some optional subjects might be easier to score and some others would be difficult.
To rule out such differences in the final marks, the policy of moderation stipulates that a sample marking scheme should be distributed among the examiners. In that, provision for grace marks may be awarded for difficult questions or questions with errors. Thereafter, even after they mark, the head examiners would scrutinize random papers checked by every examiner and would double-check to see whether the examiners had corrected the papers according to sample papers. The head examiners had the discretion to require the examiners to give extra grace marks if the answer scripts have been evaluated strictly. Essentially, moderation helps in the preventing the students in getting additional marks and prevents failing in the exams.
But, this policy has been scraped out in a meeting and the students came to know about it only through the media. The CBSE Board did not even care to give an official pronouncement regarding this matter. Also, by the time the Board have taken this decision, the evaluation of the answer sheets had already started and the examiners were following this policy of moderation from 2016 to evaluate the scripts.
The issue that was raised before the Delhi High Court was whether the sudden change in the policy without any notice and with a retrospective action be allowed to take place?
Would it result in an irreparable injury to the students and should an interim relief be ordered to curb this decision?
The court, firstly, condemned the CBSE Board for implementing the change without any proper notice. In the words of the Honourable Court, itself :-
“We are deeply concerned with the manner in which the change of policy has been effected without notice to students, Universities etc., which may completely change the course of academic future of the students, especially in Delhi where there is no State Board”
The result of this change was that the students of the State Boards would have an upper hand as the policy of moderation is followed there. Thereafter, it also took into notice as to how it would diminish the chances of students from getting admissions into the Universities including the foreign universities. The court observed that :-
“It cannot be denied that the change in the evaluation policy, that is, denial of moderation may have drastic consequences for the admission offers, which large number of Class XII students who have taken the CBSE courses and examination would suffer. Neither the said foreign universities nor the students were aware that there would be a change in the policy of the CBSE. We are also informed that many students may have also made arrangement of student loans and may have effected payments of large sums to these foreign universities. Grave and irreparable financial loss would also ensure to these students and their families. If the students are unable to fulfill the conditions imposed by foreign universities owing to the changes in the moderation policy, then it would have a devastating impact on their educational prospects”
Thus, the court provided interim relief against the Board’s move to scrap the moderation policy as it was found to be unfair and irresponsible.
The board exams would be evaluated on the basis of the moderation policy for the year 2017.