KP Sharma

The presence of errors in certain subjects of the trial examination question papers developed by the Bhutan Council for School Examinations and Assessment (BCSEA) has left teachers and students in some schools confused.

This has garnered criticism for not meeting the expected examination standards and quality.

The trial examination for Classes X and XII commenced on October 23 and will conclude on November 9.

In a departure from previous practices, question papers are now being developed by a group of teachers under BCSEA’s supervision.

The decision to develop the question papers under BCSEA’s supervision is to establish uniformity, enhance data management, and help students familiarise themselves with the board examination and better understand both examination standards and the broader educational landscape in the country.

It also aims to address concerns about students’ results, with the possibility of using trial examination results in cases where challenges arise with the main examination.

However, the papers attempted by students so far have contained errors in some subjects, such as incorrect writing time allocation, inadequate alternative choices, incomplete questions, and spelling mistakes, among others.

An English teacher said that incomplete questions, caused by missing words, have bewildered both students and teachers. “Such mistakes from the reputed organisation simply show a lack of diligence and last-minute rush.”

In some schools, the exam secretary had to contact BCSEA for clarification due to the confusion, but by the time they received the clarification, students had already left the examination hall.

In certain subjects, the subject teachers themselves were perplexed when trying to find the correct words to complete the questions because those specific words were missing from the questions.

“The time reflected on the paper was only two hours, while the actual time allotted for the subject is three hours,” a teacher said, adding that, as a result, students had to complete the exam within the limited time indicated on the paper.

Most of the subject teachers said that the papers had not been properly moderated and proofread by the developers.

In response, an official from BCSEA acknowledged the presence of errors and attributed them to a shortage of adequate manpower to effectively oversee each subject.

“The work previously handled by 17 or 18 people is now managed by only six people,” the official said.

The errors are believed to have surfaced due to the absence of subject specialists.

The official said that the errors were limited to specific subjects and not across all subjects and that such mistakes would be prevented in the future.

Regarding the errors in the model answer sheet, the official clarified that the standard operating procedure (SOP) empowers the evaluation team in the respective schools with the authority to make the necessary corrections.