The Bhutan Council for School Examination and Assessment (BCSEA) is yet to decide on whether to award bonus marks for one of the questions in the Chemistry paper for class X, after it was found that the question paper did not give the atomic weight table, which otherwise is mandatory.

On December 8, while attending the board examination’s Chemistry paper, most teachers and students realised that the question paper did not have the atomic weight table, which students refer to attempt the questions.

Some teachers Kuensel talked to said that to attempt one of the questions in Section B, which was worth six marks, the students would have to refer the atomic weight table, without which, the students won’t be able to solve the problem.

The atomic weight table is used as reference for students to calculate the molecular mass for numerical questions or any questions, which require atomic number for solving numerical questions. BCSEA’s acting human resource officer, Dorji Wangchuk, said that BCSEA’s Science coordinator received calls from schools saying that the table was missing in the question paper.

“We called schools to clarify and asked them not to inform the students so that they don’t panic,” he said. “It was a choice question, which means students can either choose to answer this question or another.”

BCSEA’s exam controller, Sangay Tenzin, said that although the atomic weight table is attached with the question every year, this time the Science coordinator with the Council assumed that since it was a new curriculum, it was not necessary to attach the atomic weight table.

“But now that teachers and students have raised concerns, the BCSEA will have to discuss the matter based on the results to see if they should allot bonus points or nullify the question,” the exam controller said. “We’ll have to see if the particular question has affected the students’ mark because some may not have attempted this particular question.”

Science coordinator, Shriman Gurung, said the examination was almost over when they received the information. They informed the examination supervisors that they would discuss about marking the particular question before the evaluation.

“It was not a lapse but I assumed that since the curriculum was new, the atomic weight table was not necessary. The teachers were worried since it used to come with the question paper earlier.”

Chemistry teachers Kuensel spoke to said that although some students could answer the question without referring the atomic weight table, it is important to come with the question because students are informed before hand that it would be attached with the question.

“This time that particular question was from the syllabus, which was there in both old and new curricula, so the weightage was important,” one of the teachers said. “The weightage is not only used for that particular question but students could also use this to answer multiple choice questions in Section A.”

Yangchen C Rinzin