Public (Board) examination

Why children often don’t do well in first summative exams of grade XII

It makes better sense to discuss this question with parents. The discussion that follows could be shared with parents, without any need to edit.

The honest answer is that you cannot help. If you wish your child to secure decent enough marks to secure a good under-graduate education, term II of Class XII is too short a time for your child to actualise your wish.

On the contrary, if the goal is ‘to be over and done with Class XII and cross the bridge of higher education when we come to it’, get longer and better tuition support and spend some personal time at home in helping the child develop better strategies for the board exam by analysing past pattern and past papers, planning the time to be spent on each chapter during the preparation period and the in-exam strategy. We wish to emphasise that parents can play a significant role in planning the preparation and the in-exam strategy.

Of course, there is always the ‘board exam surprise’ which mostly comes packaged as better-than-expected results and ‘easier questions in board exams’ compared to the summative exam questions of the school.

This is also not the time to blame school teachers for not letting you know the ‘actual level’ of your child’s academics sooner. We, the parents, very conveniently believe that the teachers are God’s special messengers and the ‘most professional’ people on earth. There is a dearth of ‘real professionals’ in all professions – doctors, architects, lawyers, engineers and even drivers, maids, plumbers -but it makes our life far easier if we believe that there is no dearth of good teachers. Where does your child’s school get the so-called good teachers from? Our schools and colleges are not developing the majority of students into ‘passionately educated professionals’ for well over a decade now.

What is important here is this – it is every child’s fundamental right to excel in academics; to secure the highest marks possible; after all, board examinations are absolute marking system and unlike the relative marking system of competitive exams, all children can secure 100% in all subjects if they all correctly answer all the questions in the exams.

No parent should ever let down his children by accepting less-than-respectable marks, and leave a scar for life – a source of embarrassment for life. Poor marks in Class XII are often the beginning of a vicious spiral of poor higher education, poorer peer group, poorer aspirations, and poorer career kickstart.

We would recommend giving another year to the child and postponing the current attempt of Class XII exams. Change the school if required, and go to the open school board – NIOS – it has exactly the same recognition for entry into higher education as all the other national and state boards. Your child will resist the idea as much as you would do and for the same reason – peers, but do not dither.

Between spouses, one must take a year’s sabbatical to be fully dedicated to a child’s Class XII board exam again; not to teach but just to show affection and priority in action. The trade-off is your call – one year of headache and social embarrassment (not that we now care about it) or 50 years of heartache seeing your child struggling harder by the day.

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