Yangchen C Rinzin 

Many teachers are happy with the education ministry’s new assessment criteria that mandates students from class IV to XII to obtain a minimum of 40 percent in both continuous assessment (CA) and written examination to pass the examination.

The new assessment structure was effective from this academic session.

The new criteria, according to the education ministry, would streamline the assessment system to ensure fairness in assessing students’ actual learning.

Many teachers said this would ensure that students passed the exam based on what they actually learnt. They also said this could be one of the many ways to contribute to quality education.

Teachers told Kuensel that in the former practice, students were graded based on 80 percent written exam and 20 percent CA. “Students would usually get full marks in CA and that would help them obtain the pass mark of 40 percent,” a teacher said. The teacher cited an example of how a student who obtains only 30 or 20 marks would easily pass after obtaining 20 in CA.

“Most students would pass because of CA. This is why we always see there is a lack of correlation between the marks achieved through the exam and marks given by teachers as CA,” a private school teacher said.

The CA is usually assessed based on classwork, homework, project works and other activities and assignments. 

CA will be now rated based on different categories based on respective subjects.

Teachers claimed that with the new assessment in place, students who obtain 80 percent in written exam will also fail if they don’t pass in CA.

The Bhutan Council for School Examination and Assessment’s (BCSEA) pupil performance report on CA marks over the years have also shown that the students have not scored at least below mean score of 18 percent.

Some sources said that with many teachers’ performance, especially individual work plan (IWP) based on student’s performance, teachers usually gave full marks for CA so that students do not fail and they would also obtain high IWP scores.

Some education officials also shared that if this is successfully implemented, many students might fail in class X board exam.

BCSEA’s pupil report this year also concluded that if the pass mark was raised to 40 percent, instead of 12,374 students (96.57 percent) who passed the Class X examination, only 10,988 candidates (85.76 percent) would have passed the examination.

Meanwhile, a former teacher said although it is a good decision, it will again depend on how the    CA would be assessed. “If not, we all will go back to square one.”

Some teachers shared it would depend on the number of teachers in the schools.

A teacher in Chukha said that the teacher student ratio is 1:50 in some schools and with lack of teachers, it would be difficult to monitor and assess each student. “This is exactly why some teachers give CA marks based on the written exam or at the end of the year because we don’t get to monitor every day,” he said. “To pass and give accurate CA marks, there should be enough teachers in the schools.”

Edited by Tashi Dema