January 28, 2023 Create CV

Matric/Inter Exams 2023 with NEW Grading System

This past Thursday, the IBCC convened in Lahore to discuss the 2023 examinations and the future of the intermediate grading system. At the conference, the IBCC scheduled the matric and intermediate exams for next year’s session to be held during April and May but more importantly, made the controversial decision to do away with the current system and introduced a new “10-point” system said to come into effect next year.

They plan to erase the existing grading criteria by 2025 completely. Besides this, it was also announced that the Sindh Board would be conducting their matric exams from April 27 and intermediate examinations from the 15th of May.

This isn’t the first time we’ve heard of a potential change to the intermediate grading system this year. Just last month, on the 25th of September, during the 171st sub-committee meeting of the IBCC, Sindh Technical Board Chairman Masroor Sheikh said

A meeting of IBCC is expected to formally decide on the new grading system

referring to a probable change from the six-point grading system to a 9-point system. It appears the IBCC agreed to the proposal but instead of a 9-point system, it will be implementing a 10-point system.

The 10-point plan essentially means a greater categorizing of marks based on more grades, primarily on the upper bound of marks. The new plan proposes the addition of A++ and B++ grades and removes the A- and B- grades.

The biggest change, however was increasing the required marks to pass from 33 to 44. The “F” grade or “Fail” assessment has also been swapped for a new “U” grade, meaning “unsatisfactory”.

As there are more grades now, the percentages for each have also been altered. A full breakthrough of the grades and their new percentages is given below.

 
Grade Description Percentages
A++ Exceptional 95-100%
A+ Outstanding 90-95%
A Remarkable 85-90%
B++ Excellent 80-85%
B+ Very Good 75-80%
B Good 70-75%
C Fair 60-70%
D Satisfactory 50-60%
E Efficient 40-50%
U Unsatisfactory 0-40%

The current 6-point intermediate grading system is generalized at the top with a 20% margin of error available to get an A1 even though all other percentages are spaced evenly. The contemporary system is given below:

 
Grade Description Percentages
A1 Outstanding 80-100%
A Excellent 70-79%
B Very Good 60-69%
C Good 50-59%
D Fair 40-49%
E Satisfactory 33-39%

The convoluted new descriptions aside, the change is a net positive and helps diversify the top gradings, offering greater distinction for students who scored got top marks.

However, as a consequence of the much higher percentages needed to get an A grade, it will become considerably harder to get A grades for the average student. In the past, an 81% meant an A1 grade, the greatest level of performance recognized by the 6-point system, but after the change is officialized, an 81% would mean a B++ grade.

Though the accomplishment is the same, not getting an A grade could mean an unsatisfactory student or family member. A more telling comparison, however, would be scoring 71% in your examinations. What would previously be considered an A, would now be relegated to a B grade, the lowest of the 3 B tier grades.

This change could be considered rather ingenious as the only way to remedy this problem is to score better marks, encouraging competitiveness and studying more diligently to get that A grade. The increase in the passing marks however is one of the minor aspects of the new 10-point intermediate grading system. An increase of 7% marks to pass is of no consequence to most students.

The IBCC Secretary Ghulam Ali Malah stated in an interview with the Tribune that in most universities, passing marks were set at 40% or even 50%, a notable difference compared to the current 33% passing percentage in the intermediate level.

Hence, it has been decided to increase the passing marks to harmonize these exam results with the universities, the Secretary added.

It is made clear that Malah’s motive for this big change is to bridge the gap between colleges and universities, to better prepare students for the more demanding and unforgiving nature of university education.

Another possible benefit of the grading system would be increasing the productivity and drive for students to better prepare for their examinations. Healthy competition and a desire to get good grades to impress friends or family motivate most students and with a higher ceiling to go for, it will only encourage students to reach higher.

This opinion is shared by Board of Intermediate Education Karachi (BIEK) Chairman Prof Dr. Saeeduddin who said

A student who passes with 90% marks gets an A1 grade and so does the student who passes with 81% marks. Breaking down in A+, A, and A- is being considered to increase the grades according to the hard work of the students

Dr. Saeeduddin added that it would generate better competition. He was referring to the 9-point system that was rejected for the 10-point plan but his sentiment remains the same.

It has been a trying time for students and the IBCC alike. The pandemic hit and as a result, all examinations were suspended and later canceled, causing a major uproar and outrage among students and their families who felt that their time had been wasted studying and preparing for a curriculum that would never be assessed.

Then online classes and papers brought their own set of problems. A reduced motivation to study, an unsuitable environment to learn, and the inaccessible nature of online lectures for many students lead to extreme uncertainty yet again. The public opinion of the IBCC has never been positive but it is at its lowest right now, especially following the intermediate first-year results released earlier this month.

With unofficial estimates of passing students being around 40% of the total, many students have expressed feeling cheated by the marks they received that seemingly don’t correspond with the previous year’s results or with their performance at the exam halls. In the end, no decision the IBCC makes will go uncriticized but it is important to remember they only want what is best for their students, for a more prosperous and literate Pakistan.

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