Why students perform badly in CBSE exams

Poor performance in CBSE Exams

Common speak suggests that socio-economic backgrounds play a huge role in determining the academic performance of an individual in CBSE exams or for that matter in any exam. Yes, familial and parental support matters, but only to an extent. School systems that help students from impoverished backgrounds in improving their academic performance in Class 12 CBSE exams have ended their cycle of disadvantage and propelled those students to distinctly better careers and better lives. But how? Primarily through an increase in classroom contact time: beating the odds by enabling disadvantaged students to spend more time in mathematics and science classes brings them on par with advantaged students. Different countries have differing ways in guaranteeing that students attend class, one of which includes making science classes mandatory and another, more valuable, concerns the inclusion of mentoring programmes to improve performance of students in class 12 results.

Nonetheless, the biggest factor, by which disadvantaged students break their seemingly destined cycle of deprivation, is self-confidence. Just consider that 10% of the most disadvantaged students have better math skills than 10% of the most privileged students in the US and several EU countries.

More subjects and a wider curriculum leads to low scores in CBSE Exams

Recently, many school system have responded to the growing digitisation of the modern world by including ever more subjects in their curriculum. No longer does the curriculum focus on teaching subjects in great depth, but rather skims through multiple, often-unlinked topics at breath-taking pace. Unfortunately, students within such systems are either required to understand it all rapidly or memorise it; coupled with standardised testing, this does not improve education standards or learning outcomes.

In an ever-changing world where information can be accessed easily, where skills are either digitised or outsourced, and where jobs are changing with an alarming pace, the focus is on lifelong learning and continued professional development. Both require strong core skills and subject knowledge that has its roots in basic school curriculum. Since the modern world prizes us for what we do with our knowledge rather than what it is truly, more subjects really do not need inclusion in school curricula to encourage students to lift their performance in CBSE exams.

Take financial education as an example; reinforced by the fallout of the recent financial crisis, many education systems have turned to educating students on finances. Ironically, this has no impact on the students’ financial literacy; conversely, school systems that do not teach finance, but instead promote deeper mathematical skills, tend to perform best on the PISA financial literacy test. Financial literacy is, as defined by PISA, “[the] knowledge and understanding of financial concepts and risks, and the skills, motivation and confidence to apply such knowledge and understanding in order to make effective decisions across a range of financial contexts, to improve the financial well-being of individuals and society, and to enable participation in economic life”. Top performing education systems do not emphasise a “mile-wide, inch-deep” approach but are inclined towards teaching more rigorously a smaller number of subjects.

You need inherited intelligence to succeed

Many pedagogues and pedagogic psychologists equated academic performance with a priori – inherited intelligence – and not hard work. Ingrained in the psyche of most around the world, the need for good luck rather than hard work negatively affects academic performance in the CBSE exams. Feeling it ‘unfair’ on the student, teachers may not push students, whom they perceive as less able, and goad the student into performing to the average class level as an alternative. After all, who does not prefer that averages improve? This negatively influences the ability to achieve high standards in academic performance in the CBSE Exams. Not pushing less capable students becomes pronounced even more when they belong to the lower socio-economic backgrounds; consequently, the teacher, student, and parents do not have high expectations from their children and don’t expect them to outshine others in the CBSE exams. The best performing education systems believe that all students can achieve high standards and act on that belief by nurturing motivation.

The bottom line is that money alone is not an enabler of a country’s academic success unless it is used in recruiting highly qualified teachers; the significance of having a capable teachers, teaching well a narrow range of subject matter, fostering self-confidence in disadvantaged students, and providing all students with encouragement to persevere, cannot be understated. For this reason, do not expect much changes in the performance of your child in the CBSE exams.

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