Fairly unfair

There will be no re-examination of the English paper II, says the Bhutan Council for School Examination and Assessment (BCSEA) board.

The board unanimously decided that the best option at the moment is to validate the results based on marks students obtained in the sister paper, English I. This means that if a student scored 70 in English I, it will be considered the same for English II. The board had, after much consultations and thought, decided that this is the best way forward in the interest of time, logistics, and to avoid hassle for students.

This is a fair decision, at least on the board’s side. There are reports of hundreds of students still waiting to go home or go on vacation as the decision was kept pending since December 19 when news of the leaked question paper was confirmed. By not re-conducting the exam, it will save the government millions of ngultrums, and for the students, time and hassle of having to come to the examination centres for another round. Teachers and examiners will not have to cut short their break.

But with the news now reaching most of the students, within a few hours of the decision, there seem to be a feeling that the board didn’t take the interest of the students into consideration. The board came to the decision of basing their English performance on just one paper considering that the two papers compliment each other. They have checked past performances and came to the conclusion that there is a “positive correlation” and that those who perform well in English I usually do the same in English II.

Students and teachers, however, disagree and fear that this is not a fair decision. They feel that while there are similarities between the two papers, they are there to assess students on entirely two different things. English I assess the student’s grammar and language mostly, while English II concentrates on student’s critical thinking and analysis.

Paper II is mostly literature and students are exposed to different genres like poetry and drama. The paper is text-based and students claim they usually perform better in paper II than I.  Those Kuensel contacted said that they were depending on their English II marks to make up for I. An aggregate mark is taken for the final mark.

But there could be others who did badly on paper II. This will be the advantage for them. Either way it sounds unfair for students. Some, rather most, have not gotten their hands on the leaked questions and could have fared better in paper II than I.

The question going around is why not a re-examination when the results are declared only in February and the board came to know about the leaked questions immediately after the examination. The government will save a few millions for not conducting the examinations again, but for students who toiled hard for one full academic year and are disadvantaged for no making of their own, it is not fair.

7 replies
  1. kharang-2
    kharang-2 says:

    The decision made by BCSEA to no re-examination for Eng II was not fair….coz for English II mark were given to that of English I..But most probably English I is very difficult with compare to English II due to the grammer and language..from 100%..99% of student feel english II easy with compare to english I. In most of the eng topper in the school score around 40 to 55 in Eng I and Eng 11 they score to 65 to 80s..so we can pull the eng marks from eng II as it is one of main subject for class-12 and also its very important for them .This year if the marks were given from the marks we score from Eng I than i think 80% class 12 student will be going to get PCNA..From my opinion, English II exam should be re conduct or either paper II should be done correction so that BCSEA will know which paper is better. Beside BCSEA should identified the leaker school or individual and bring them to the notice of whole nation.

  2. reparte
    reparte says:

    I agree the decision by BCSEA board is not properly weighed in and not fair. The technical decision to go by 0.77 correlation is not convincing. By any means correlation should NEVER be inferred as causal relationship. Being both English papers, of course they will be highly correlated but that does not mean because of high marks in Eng I, they will do well in Eng II. This is basic statistics!

    Other reason to forgo re-examination to save costs really is saddening. What about the human costs, for those who toiled for a year and were banking on Eng II because they did poorly in Eng I. And the minister at the helm of the board should have placed students concern in the forefront than financial implications and administrative burdens.

    And I see no point awarding Eng I marks to Eng II. Just use Eng I marks, if at all used. After all average mark for Eng will come to that, does it not?

  3. Predictor
    Predictor says:

    Who would have thought that BCSEA would decide to base English paper II marks to that of English I paper marks. I never thought that would be one of the options by any means. I thought of only two options, I.E to reconduct examination or evaluate the paper as it is. But the BCSEA got the funniest option.
    Is the BCSEA concerned about financial implications? Investing few millions is absolutely nothing compared to the fact that it will impact the career of thousands of youths.
    Was it going to be a problem for the parents and students to travel for reexamination? Students and parents don’t mind for travelling for reexamination because they do travel even for the nmidterm breaks. It is just a lame excuse.
    Delay of admission into tertiary institues? May be for three or four weeks at the most. I’m sure that could have been adgested.

  4. irfan
    irfan says:

    I have this feeling that the members of the board must have been feeling a bit lucky this time. Had it been a leaked Chemistry question paper, there would have been a bit more pain calculating correlation of ‘Physics on Chemistry’, Mathematics on Chemistry’ and finally ‘Physics on Mathematics’ to arrive at such a rationale decision. After all, it’s a matter general science. But with limited data considered only from 2011 to 2013, a regression analysis would have revealed more reasons with us knowing different question types asked in both English-I and English-II to test particular skill sets and knowledge of the language. But then, it would have been waste of enough government money on analysis rather than having a re-examination of the paper. It’s true that some students must be feeling lucky while some very unlucky, but it can’t be denied that all of them have learnt the most logical way of decision making in today’s time at a very early stage of the education. A value of 0.7736 is not strong enough in establishing a positive correlation, but then common sense should prevail in decision making where the ‘non-sense’ part of it can be neglected. The future poets of Bhutan must be feeling a bit gloomy as their creativity got cut short by grammatical errors of literature.

  5. ugyenpw
    ugyenpw says:

    That is the real point. Government steps back in spending 4 million on conducting re exam but they have the courtesy to just step forward and say that marks for English I can be awarded to English II. And most funny of all is the correlation figure. How on earth can they say that the two English papers are the same. Ministry of Education is getting funnier by the year. Lol.

  6. Sensitive
    Sensitive says:

    If this is the attitude of important educational institution like BCSEA board members including the minister, we cannot expect to have good quality education. They are concerned about the financial implications and the extra work burden for themselves, not concerned about the education of children of the nation. From next year, let’s not have English paper at all if the scores can be compromised with that of paper I.

  7. lhazaymetok
    lhazaymetok says:

    I also do feel that the decision made by the BCSEA is not fair. The positive correlation percentage 77% mentioned by the board is not strong enough to infer that it is a fair decision.Certainly it would be wise to draw its decision as fair, if the correlation was above 90%.
    Such a vague decision could implicate the future of our children. Please, re-look into the matter for the well being of all our children.

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