Poor show in English does the damage
The results of this year's HSC examinations saw a significant fall in both the success rate and the number of highest achievers due to the introduction of a new evaluation method, students' poor performance in English and shocking performance of students of Comilla board.
The overall pass rate of Higher Secondary Certificate examinees under eight general education boards dropped by more than 5 percentage points to 66.84 percent. The number of students having achieved the highest grade -- GPA 5 -- also came down to 33,242 from last year's 48,950.
The combined pass rate under all the 10 education boards, including madrasa and technical boards, also declined to 68.91 percent from last year's 74.70 percent. Similarly, GPA-5 achievers under the 10 boards fell to 37,969 from last year's 58,276.
"There is nothing to be surprised.... We are getting the right assessment now, thanks to new evaluation method,” said Education Minister Nurul Islam Nahid as he announced results at a crowded press conference at the ministry.
The method named "standardisation of answer scripts" was first introduced for Secondary School Certificate examinees this year. And subsequently, the results showed a significant fall in the pass rate.
Explaining the new evaluation method, Nahid said chief examiners in consultation with senior examiners set model answers of the questions.
Considering the model answers as the standard, the examiners checked the answer scripts. "This method has been appreciated by everyone."
The measure was taken following a research conducted by the Bangladesh Examination Development Unit on the existing evaluating system. "We have been working for the last three years to develop a standard procedure to evaluate answer scripts.
"Earlier we found that the examiners did not evaluate the answer scripts properly. The usual practice was that the listed examiners first collected scripts from the boards, checked those and returned to the boards. There was no monitoring mechanism or any specific rule to check the scripts," Nahid said, elaborating further.
As part of the effort, the government arranged training for the chief examiners who then trained other examiners following the guidelines, he added.
As many as 6.25 lakh boys and 5.38 lakh girls from 8,771 institutions took this year's HSC and its equivalent examinations beginning on April 2. Of them 8.01 lakh students passed.
POOR PERFORMANCE IN ENGLISH
Students performed badly in English, said chairmen of several education boards.
More than 2.17 lakh students failed this subject alone, according to the data provided by the boards.
In Dhaka board, the success rate in this subject came down to 76.66 percent from last year's 86.46 percent. The pass rate in English in Jessore board this year shows a fall of 17 percentage points.
"The questions were comparatively hard in my board and that's why many students failed this subject," Prof Abdul Alim, chairman of the board, told The Daily Star.
"English has always been considered the major factor in results. Many students flunked this subject, pulling down the tally of total students passed," said Prof Mahabubur Rahman, chairman of Dhaka board.
SHOCKING PERFORMANCE OF COMILLA STUDENTS
A startling low pass rate of students under Comilla board pushed down the overall pass rate. Only 49.53 percent students came out successful causing this board to be at the bottom of the result chart.
A little over 1 lakh students took part in the exams. Only 62 percent of them passed English, according to the data.
Apart from the poor performance in English, students in the humanities group performed badly. Some 42,393 students sat for the examinations from this group and the pass rate is only 38 percent.
Board Chairman Prof Abdul Khaleque, however, blamed students' poor performance in English only for the fall in overall results.
"I have already asked my officials to look into the other reasons behind the drop. After assessing the reasons, we'll be able to say what went wrong," he said.
The education ministry has already asked the board chairman to inform it of the issues that contributed to the poor results.
GIRLS DID BETTER
Like this year's SSC exams, girls have done better than boys as their pass rate is 2.28 percentage points higher than their counterparts'.
"This is very encouraging for us that girls are doing well," the minister said.
However, girls lagged behind boys in the context of achieving the highest grade. A total of 20,535 boys secured GPA-5, while 17,434 girls got the highest grade.
SCIENCE STUDENTS LEAD
As usual, students from the science group under eight general boards did the best with a pass rate of 83.14 percent, followed by 69.65 percent in the business studies group and 58.14 percent in the humanities group.
"Several years ago, the number of students studying science was declining, which was alarming. But the trend has been reversed as we see the number of students studying science is on the rise," Nahid said.
This year 532 institutions saw a cent percent pass rate while no students passed from 72 institutions.
Sylhet board topped the chart in terms of success rate with 72 percent.
The colleges across the country wore a festive look. Students and their parents, who had been tensed for some time, erupted into cheering as soon as they received the results.
Some danced while some took selfies showing victory signs. However, some students were seen breaking down in tears for not getting expected results.
"Failing the examinations does not mean the end of life. Those who have failed take better preparation," Nahid said.