Phurpa Lhamo 

Although results for this academic year have yet to be announced, teachers across Bhutan said that more students are expected to fail this year with the introduction of the new assessment criteria.

The assessment criteria, which requires students between Classes IV and XII to score 40 percent in continuous assessments (CA) and on written examinations were applied by the Ministry of Education (MoE) in June of this year.

According to a teacher, students had previously managed to pass with CA marks despite failing the written examination. She added that most students passed with the average of the CA and written examinations.

Another teacher pointed out that most students performed poorly on their midterm exams. The new assessment system, he said, was introduced after midterm exams, due to which, students performed poorly this academic year. “However, we informed the students about the new system and urged them to work hard.”

After launching the new system, the MoE conducted a survey to analyze students’ midterm performance. It found that around 46 percent of Classe IV-XII students scored lower than 40 percent.

This means that a total 107,006 students between Classes IV-XII 48,909 failed their 2021 mid-term examinations.

“Everyone is positive about the assessment criteria, but the implementation came a little late,” a teacher said.

Despite the appearance of poor performances, teachers welcome the assessment system.

A teacher said that with the previous system students managed to pass with the teachers’ constant guidance in CA, but often failed on written examinations. “The new system will definitely encourage students to work harder.”

However, some teachers worry that the increasing number of students in a classroom with repeaters could overburden teachers.

A teacher said that this could affect the teacher-student ratio.

Others argue that with similar rates of promotion, class size would not be affected significantly.