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CBSE changes rules mid-exams, answer sheets won’t be evaluated by teachers on same day

Board instructs affiliated schools to seal OMR sheets within 15 minutes of the exams getting over, puts onus of ‘fair’ conduct of exams on centre superintendent.

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New Delhi: The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE), recently left red-faced by multiple blunders in its question papers, changed the rules of evaluation while board exams were ongoing Wednesday, ThePrint has learnt. 

The board wrote to all its affiliated schools Wednesday evening, asking them to stop the practice of evaluating answer sheets the same day. 

Sources told ThePrint that CBSE took this step fearing malpractice.

The term-1 board examination is currently going on for Class 10 and 12 students. It is an objective-type questions-based exam, for which students are given optical mark recognition (OMR) answer sheets to fill.

Until now, the OMR answer sheets were first physically evaluated at the exam centre by school teachers and then sent for a digital evaluation. However, the board has now asked for physical evaluation to be stopped Thursday onwards for the remaining exams that will go on till 30 December.

“The practice of evaluation on the same day in the examination centre is being stopped from 16 December, 2021, onwards,” the letter issued by CBSE exam controller Sanyam Bhardwaj, a copy of which is with ThePrint, read. 

Also Read: CBSE response on Class 12 board question on 2002 anti-Muslim violence affects academics

‘Fear of malpractice’

The board, in its letter, further asked the exam centre superintendents to pack the OMR sheets in sealed envelopes within 15 minutes of the exams getting over, and send them to the concerned regional office, where they will be evaluated later.

“It is the sole responsibility of the centre superintendent to ensure that the examination is conducted smoothly and fairly. In case of any deviation from the safety and security of the examination, CBSE will be liable to take action against the center superintendent and the school as per its affiliation and examination bye-laws of the board,” the letter read. 

CBSE sources and schools told ThePrint that the board was skeptical of OMR sheets being manipulated during the physical evaluation and hence stopped the practice. 

“So far, teachers at the exam centre, most of whom were from the same school, were physically evaluating the OMR sheets before they went for digital evaluation. During that period, it is possible that the answers can be manipulated. Suppose a student has answered only 20 out of 50 questions and the rest of the circles are blank, it is possible that a teacher can fill those circles and answer the questions in order to improve the result of the student, and in turn the school,” a source said. 

(Edited by Gitanjali Das)

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