The Curious Case of HSC Result Trends

For the past few years, board exams in Bangladesh followed a common trend: each year there was a higher passing and GPA 5 rate than the year before. It had gotten to such a stage that many predicted 100% of the students would get GPA 5 at some point soon. All that changed this year. The passing rate and GPA 5 rate came down somewhat in the SSC exams and substantially in the HSC exams. The game, so to say, has changed.

To put things into perspective, in 2014, there was a passing rate of 78.3% for the HSC Exams, which has seen a sharp drop with only about 69.6% passing this year. Similarly, there were only about 42,800 GPA 5's recorded nationwide, in contrast to about 70,600 last year. Why we had such a dramatic turnaround is a difficult question. But regardless it has left future candidates feeling anxious.

Tahsin Azad, a student of class 11 at Bangladesh International School, said the results this year changed her plans for the next two years. "We are so accustomed to seeing results getting better every year, what happened this time really scared me. I am going to hit the books right away. I know getting into a good university is the ultimate goal but a good HSC result is like a foundation."

Mazharul Jannat, from Milestone College, said, "I am not sure why the results were so bad this year. Is it because the evaluation was stricter? I am confused and it's honestly unsettling… thinking about what it will be like when our time comes."

Araf Sayeed, from Notre Dame College, said something a bit different: "It shouldn't make a difference to us if the number of GPA 5's is going down. The point is to get into your desired university. GPA 5 doesn't get you into BUET."

Awsaf Ashraf Enan, also from Notre Dame College, feels it might actually be a good thing: "We needed a tighter evaluation of our efforts, because frankly, if everyone is getting high grades then those grades don't mean anything."

There are other repercussions. A down turn in results basically means students have, on average, scored less marks this year. So they are more likely to miss an A+ in individual subjects. Not getting an A+ in any one of the science papers disqualifies someone from sitting for admission tests at BUET and other engineering institutions, whilst grade points are calculated for the admission test at Dhaka University. So, scoring less here can affect someone pretty badly in their admission process.

But teachers and academics have long argued that results should, in fact, be like this.

Titas Rozario, Assistant Professor at Notre Dame College, said, "I think this is the most accurate picture of the students in our country. Our education hasn't reached a stage where 70,000 deserve GPA 5. So, I don't mind this. I think they have finally evaluated the students properly. Those deserving of BUET or DU admission will get in anyway."

What all this means is that future candidates will have to work a lot harder.

Rayaan Ibtesham Chowdhury is a 19 year-old with pent-up years of teenage angst who loves to complain about most things while listening to blues guitar tracks. Ask him to stop writing at [email protected]


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