CBSE to offer two versions of Maths paper for classes 9, 10, 11 and 12 from 2019 subject to NCERT and UGC approvals


The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) has proposed to introduce two versions of the maths paper — one difficult and one relatively easy — for classes 9, 10, 11 and 12 from 2019 subject to NCERT and UGC approvals. - CBSE news representative image

The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is exploring the possibilities and proposals to introduce two versions of the mathematics question paper so that students who aren’t keen to take up the subject in higher studies don’t have to sit for the tougher edition in the Board Exam.

A number of school boards overseas follow this practice. For instance, the Cambridge International General Certificate of Secondary Education (IGSCE) has a core curriculum in each subject which is generally within the ability range of a large majority of the students. It also offers an extended curriculum that is designed for students who are more academically able. International Baccalaureate (IB) also provides this flexibility.

In the last week of June the governing body of CBSE approved a proposal to have two options - standard mathematics and advanced mathematics - instead of the single math paper now on offer that is a mix of standard and advanced mathematics.

Sources said the logic is that students who don’t intend to pursue the study of mathematics would be able to avoid the tag that they aren’t good at the subject if they score low marks in it at the high-school level. For instance, students who want to take up engineering and sit for the IIT Join Entrance Examination (JEE Main), JEE Advanced or any other similar exam will need to study mathematics at the higher level. Those who aspire to study medicine and sit for the National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET) or any other MBBS admission tests will have the choice of studying the subject at the easier level.

Under the proposed system, the advanced mathematics paper will have more content and a higher difficulty level. According to one member, "The idea is that students of arts and commerce may take normal (standard) mathematics. Advanced mathematics, dealing with higher maths, may be pursued by pure science students. It would help them in their career as well".

The CBSE has referred the matter to a committee that will design the syllabuses for both papers. However, the board will have to seek approval from the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) before rolling out the new syllabuses.
CBSE had also introduced a separate paper - applied mathematics - for Classes XI and XII from this year under the vocational stream. This paper, which has a practical component of 20 per cent, will continue.

Last year, the NCERT had conducted a National Achievement Survey to assess the skills of Class III, V and VIII students in mathematics, environment studies and language. The survey had showed that children feared mathematics. The NCERT is currently revising its school curriculum, which is followed by over 15 school boards across the country.

The CBSE governing body member said the final decision on the alternative maths papers might be announced by the end of 2018. Another governing body member said the syllabuses for all classes would be "rationalized" so that they were in tune with the class-wise "expected learning outcome" conceived by the NCERT six months ago. It has been learnt from reliable sources that there will be no reduction in the syllabuses instead; there may be some additional content so that the students do not lag behind.

An NCERT faculty member said the council had received 33,000 suggestions from the public on the revision of the school curriculum. Most of the respondents have recommended the addition of content.

Once the proposal is approved by the CBSE internally, it will be shared with the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) which is the body responsible for framing school curriculum. To ensure that universities accept the two different levels of mathematics being offered at the high school level, the proposal will also need to be approved by the University Grants Commission (UGC).

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