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Ending uncertainty for over 1.5 million students, the Supreme Court on Tuesday dismissed petitions challenging the decisions of Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) and Council for the Indian School Certificate Exam (CISCE) to cancel Class XII board examinations and evaluate students using previous academic performance.

A bench of Justices A. M. Khanwilkar and Dinesh Maheshwari held that there is no need to interfere with the evaluation scheme devised by CBSE and CISCE. The court also underlined that the scheme takes into account concerns of all students.

Representing the Union government, attorney general K.K. Venugopal told the apex court that the CBSE’s evaluation formula which uses past years’ performance is essential to ensure that marks are not inflated.

“Experts took a call on this after decades of experience. This method will prevent exaggerated marking," he said. The CBSE 30:30:40 formula by taking into account three years’ performance was prepared by a 13-member experts committee.

“…We hold that there is no need to interfere with the scheme propounded by CBSE and CISCE. It takes into account concerns of all students," the court said and disposed of two writ petitions.

On compartment examinations for CBSE students, the attorney general informed the court that it will be held “as soon as covid subsides." If a candidate fails in one or two subjects in the Class XII exams, he or she is allowed to sit for the compartment exams to improve the score. CBSE is planning to hold them in between mid-August and mid-September after the Class XII results are announced by 31 July.

On 17 June, CBSE and CISCE had informed the apex court that they will use the average of three years’ performance including Class X and Class XI for assessing results of 1.55 million Class XII students. The CBSE will assign 30% weightage each to performance in Class X and Class XI, and 40% to Class XII performance in unit, mid-term and pre-board exams, the central board informed the Supreme Court.

Since then, CBSE has issued a series of advisories to its schools on how to conduct the evaluation and moderation of marks before announcing the results and has also deployed a software to part-automate the assessment process to reduce human errors.

In a fresh circular dated 21 June, the central board has asked schools to upload seven key details about their students for its automation software to conduct assessment tabulation. They include various details pertaining to annual, mid-term and practical exams, the details of state school board if they had migrated to CBSE for senior secondary schooling etc.

“After collection of all marks, this portal will display complete tabulation sheet for the school, with a feature of subject-wise marks and reference mean for the purpose of moderation of marks by the schools. This portal and the backend systems have eased out lots of burden of cumbersome calculations for the schools," CBSE said in its fresh notification.

On 1 June, the CBSE had announced cancellation of Class XII board examinations amid the second wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Most of the other state school boards and CISCE followed suit.

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