EDUCATION TRIBUNE Tuesday, April 1, 2003, Chandigarh, India
Advantages of grades over marks
J.S. Rajput
HE NCERT has recently brought out a document titled "Grading in schools" which has attracted the attention of a large number of people from different sections of society, including students, parents, teachers, principals, and the intelligentsia.




Advantages of grades over marks
J.S. Rajput

THE NCERT has recently brought out a document titled "Grading in schools" which has attracted the attention of a large number of people from different sections of society, including students, parents, teachers, principals, and the intelligentsia. An attempt has been made here to list out all probable questions and provide answers.

What are the real advantages of grades over marks?

Award of grades score over award of marks in a variety of ways. One, it considerably reduces the significance that is attached to the award of numerical marks which suffer from a number of imperfections like inter and intra-examiner variability, imperfection of tools, sampling of contents, sampling of objectives within the content, arbitrary time limits for answering individual questions in testing situations, inability of unpreparedness to display the best on the part of the child etc.

Two, the employability of the scale (that runs from 0 to 100) used in the award of marks neither satisfies the criterion of absolute 0, nor that of absolute 100.

Three, the distinction among individuals on the basis of single-number right score warrants absolute precision of judgement on the part of teachers, which is not humanly possible, especially in the context of assessment of students’ potential. Hence, the answer lies in grading which places students of similar potential in one grade.

Four, grades awarded through relative grading method provides for not only inter-subject comparability but also comparability over the years.

Five, unlike marks, grading on the curve does not get affected by the difficulty of test. Six, grading on the curve also provides for comparison of students’ performance across the board.

Seven, award of grades through relative grading method invariably covers the entire range of distribution regardless of the nature of subject, meaning thereby that every subject will have A grade, B grade, C grade, D grade, E grade. This subscribes to the fact that learning is evenly distributed across the subject areas.

Eight, grading on the curve provides for additivity of grades culminating into Grade Point Average (GPA), a far precise index of students’ performance than what is obtained through marks.

Last and not the least, award of grades will ease avoidable pressure on students and parents and literally save them from passing through traumatic experiences.

How is the system of absolute grading different from the present system of divisions and distinction?

The basic premise in both operations remains the same as the marks are converted into grades irrespective of the distribution in a given subject. The only advantage of absolute grading is that it provides for greater flexibility and distinction so as to suit the requirement of individual institutions, besides abolishing guillotining students as fail.

Are grades relative? If so, relative to what?

Yes, the grades denote the relative performance of students within a specified group, provided they are awarded using relative grading method.

How do we arrive at various percentages of cases allotted to various grades?

The criterion used for deciding the number of cases against each letter grade is determined on the basis of the spread of scores divided into nine equal parts. These eventually correspond to 4%, 7%, 12%, 17%, 20%, 17%, 12%, 7% and 4% in a normal distribution, which is expected in an examination involving a large number of students.

What is the percentage of error in grading system?

Computation of errors in assessment of human potential is not feasible because some of these errors are not identifiable due to inherent imperfections associated with tools and techniques of testing. However, grading takes care of a large number of errors which eventually creep in student assessment.

If practice of declaring pass and fail is abolished from the present system do we still need grading?

Both grading and conventional method of marking can be used for abolishing the practice of declaring pass and fail. However, the grading is advocated because of a large number of advantages that have already been enumerated in question number one.

How will we use grades for identifying talented students?

Consistent display of the highest grade by an individual over a period of time in a particular area of study may be used as a criterion for the identification of talent.

How can grades be used for the purposes of awarding medals, prizes and scholarships?

Grades can be profitably exploited for purposes of awarding medals, scholarships and prizes, for the grades awarded through relative grading method provide for additivity across the subject areas resulting in Grade Point Average (GPA). There are a number of leading institutions and universities across the globe which distribute prestigious prizes and scholarships on the basis of GPA.

In the event of a tie, it should be left to the wisdom and the magnanimity of the institution to decide the award.

Will the introduction of grades demotivate brighter students from studies?

That the introduction of grades dampens the zeal of bright students is absolutely a myth. The award of grades using relative grading method rather provides for greater opportunity to the students to display their mettle. Consequently, it will create the competitive spirit among top performers. This is primarily because of the fact that under this method the award of grade is determined by the relative performance of the group.

Does the award of the lowest grade amount to fail as was prevalent in the earlier system?

The award of the lowest grade need not be perceived in terms of failure. Instead, it may be viewed as poor performance and the student may be given opportunities to improve upon it. Nor should it come in the way of graduating a student from a lower to a higher class. In an educational situation a student may get different shades of grades which when combined together will give him a GPA. And it is the GPA of the relevant subjects that eventually will determine which stream the student is to pursue.

How will we manage admission to higher classes if grading is introduced in schools instead of marks?

The allocation of seats in higher classes may be made on the basis of the Grade Point Average (GPA). While computing the GPA, it is advisable to take into account the preferred combination of relevant subjects which are prerequisites for pursuing a particular stream.

What measures shall we adopt to change the mindset of those who find it hard to appreciate the grading system?

Institutions responsible for effecting this long overdue change should organise workshops, seminars, penal discussions, radio talks, T.V. interviews, besides articles in various dailies, journals and periodicals for the purposes of creating awareness and dispelling the misgivings about the grading system amongst the masses.

It may be impracticable to assume that introduction of grades will remedy all problems of the conventional method of evaluation. Nevertheless, it is decidedly a better measure of students’ potential. However, the grading system has got certain limitations which is why it needs to be augmented by additional measures to look up for solutions of contentious issues.



Awards (Maths)

Apr 18 National Board for Higher Mathematics, D/o Atomic Energy, 2nd Fl, OYC Bldg, CSM Marg, Mumbai 400001.

Research Awards (for PhD) in Maths

Elig: Master’s deg (Maths/Stats/Phys). Age: Below 25 yrs (on 1 Jan).

Selectn: Written Test (at 16 centres incld Del & Ch’grh) & Interview.

Appln F & Details: Employment News (15-21 Mar).


Apr 10 Central Bureau of Investigation, Block No. 3 , CGO Complex, Lodhi Road, New Delhi 110003.

Recruitment of Constables (Executive, m/f, 161 posts)

Constables (Motor Transport, males, 8 posts)

Elig: 10+2 or equiv.

For Constable (MT): valid driving license for light/heavy four wheeler vehicles & driving ex. Age: 18-27 yrs (on 30 Apr).

Selectn: Written Exam (4 May at 4 centres incld Ghaziabad).

Appln F & Details: Employment News (22-28 Mar).


Apr 11 Chennai Mathematical Institute, 92, GN Chetty Rd, T. Nagar, Chennai 600017.

1) BSc (Maths & Comp Sc) (3 yr, integrated)

2) BSc (Phy, 3 yr)

3) MSc (Maths)

4) MSc (Comp Sc)

5) PhD (Maths)

6) PhD (Comp Sc)

(BSc & MSc deg awarded by MP Bhoj Open Univ, PhD awarded by Univ of Madras & BITS, Pilani)

Elig: For (1) & (2): 10+2.

For (3): BSc (Maths)/BMath/BStat/BTech.

For (4): BE/BTech/BSc (Comp Sc) or BSc (Maths) with background in Comp Sc.

For (5): BE/BTech/BSc/MSc (Maths).

For (6): BE/BTech/MSc (Comp Sc)/MCA.

Selectn: Entrance Exam (30 May at 10 centres incld Del & Ch’grh).

Appln F: Send Rs 250/- by DD favouring "Chennai Mathematical Institute" payable at Chennai. (write name, add & course) at above add.


Apr 7 Pravara Medical Trust, PO Loni, Tal, Rahata, Dist. Ahmednagar 413736 (Mah).

All India Entrance Test

MBBS, BDS, BPhT, BSc (Nurs)

Elig: 10+2 (PCB & Eng, 50%, first attempt). Age: Born before 1 Jan. ‘87.

Appln F: Send Rs 1,050/- by DD favouring "Pravara Medical Trust, Loni" payable at Shrirampur (Dist. Ahmednagar, Mah) to the Officer on Special Duty PMT: CET: 2003 at above add. Write name & appln form no. on reverse of DD.

Details: Website.

Apr 16 Annamalai University, Annamalainagar 608002 (TN).

Entrance Exam

MBBS, BDS, BPT, BOT, BSc (Nurs), BPharm

Elig: 10+2.

Selectn: Entrance exam ( 2 May) & Interview.

Appln F: Send request letter with Rs 100/- by DD favouring "The Registrar, Annamalai University, Annamalainagar 608002" payable at Chennai with stamped (Rs 20/-), self-add kraft env (35 x 15 cm) to above add. Write name, add on reverse of DD


Apr 10 Institute of Cheminformatics Studies, B-15, Sec 3, Noida 201301 (UP).

PG Dip in Cheminformatics (1 yr, Dist)

Elig: Bachelor’s deg (Engg/Sc/Med/Pharma). Chem Engg/Doctors/Comp prof/R&D Scientists.

Appln F: Send Rs 250/- by DD favouring "Institute of Cheminformatics Studies" payable at Delhi/New Delhi to above add or download from website.

Details: Employment News (1-7 Mar) & website.

Sciences: Biology

Apr 10 National Institute of Immunology, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg, New Delhi 110067.

PhD in Biological & Allied Sc

(Immunity & Infection, Reprodn & Devp, Mol Des, Gene Regulation)

Elig: MSc/ MTech/MBBS/MVSc/MPharm (recog by JNU, Del), 60% agg in all exams from 10+2.

Selectn: Written Test (29 May) & Interview (30 May-1 June) at NII, New Del.

Appln F & Details: Employment News (15-21 Mar) & website.

Apr 18 Centre for Cellular & Molecular Biology, Uppal Rd, Hyderabad 500007.

PhD Programme

Biotech & Biomed, Genetics & Evol, Cell Biol & Devp, Mol Biol, Biochem & Biophy, Bioinfo & Theoret Biol).

Elig: MSc (any area of Biol/Phy/Chem Sc) with Maths & qual in CSIR-UGC NET exam. BE/BTech with Biotech & GATE qual with min 85 percentile. Cands qual in ICMR JRF exam in Biomed Sc. Age: 28 yrs (on 18 Apr ‘03).

Selectn: Written Test (13 Jun) & Interview (14 Jun).

Appln F & Details: Employment News (15-21 Mar) & website.

Technical Courses

D/o Training & Technical Education, Muni Maya Ram Marg, Prembari Pul, Pitampura, Delhi 110034 (G/o NCT of Delhi).

Diploma Courses (FT)

Apr 19 1) Comp Engg

Apr 19 2) Arch Assistantship, Automob, Chem, Civil, Constrn, Elect, Electron & Comm, Electron (Dig Electron & Microprocessor Sys Des, Med Electron, Instru Control), Mech Engg (splz in Maintainence, Plastic, Print Tech, Prodn, Pub Health & Environ Engg, Tool & Die Making, Garment Fab Tech, Int Des, Med Lab Tech)

Apr 25 3) Art (Drawing Teachers, Beauty Cult, Comm Art, Fash Des, Lib Sc, Text Des)

Apr 30 4) Pharmacy

Apr 30 5) Mod Office Practice (Eng/Hin)

Elig: For (1): 10+2 (PCM, 45%).

For (2): Cl 10 (Sc & Maths, 45%).

For (3): Cl 10 (45%).

For (4): 10+2 (PCM/B, 45%).

For (5): 10+2 (45%).

Appln F: Send Rs 250/- by DD favouring "Principal, Pusa Polytechnic" payable at Delhi/New Delhi with stamped (Rs 50/-), self-add env (24 x 30 cm) to Pusa Polytechnic, Pusa, New Delhi 110012 by 7 Apr (for 1, 2 & 3) & 16 Apr (for 4 & 5).

Selectn: CET (conducted by GGSIU).

Details: Website.


Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak 124001.

Entrance Tests

BE, BTech, BArch, BPharm, MCA, MBA (univ depts & affl coll)

Apr 18 1) BPharm/MBA

Apr 24 2) MCA

Apr 28 3) BE/BTech/BArch

Jun 30 4) Lateral Entry to BE/BTech

Appln F: Send Rs 650/- (For SC/ST: Rs. 200/-) by DD favouring "Finance Officer, Maharshi Dayanand University, Rohtak" payable at Rohtak at above add.

Apr 16 Annamalai University, Annamalai Nagar 608002 (TN).

1) BE (Civil, Civil & Struct, Mech, Manufact, Electron & Comm, Elect & Electron, Electron & Instru, Comp Sc & Engg, IT, Chem Engg)

2) BSc (Agri & Horti)

Elig: 10+2.

Selectn: Entrance Exam (30 Apr & 1 May).

Appln F: Send request letter with Rs 100/- (For SC/ST: Rs. 50/-) by DD favouring "The Registrar, Annamalai University, Annamalainagar 608002" payable at Chennai with stamped (Rs 20/-), self-add env (35 x 15 cm) to above add. Write name, add on reverse of DD.

Apr 19 Jamia Hamdard, Hamdard Nagar, New Delhi 110062 (Deemed Univ). 2003.htm.

1) PG Courses

MSc: Biochem, Toxicol, Environ Bot, Biotech, Chem (Indl Appln).

MD (Unani): Ilmul Advia, Moalijat & Tahaffuzi-wo-Samaji Tibb

MA (Islamic Studies)

MPharm: Pharmaceutical Chem, Pharmaceutics, Pharmacol, Pharmacognosy & Phytochem, Pharma Practice, Quality Assurance

MPTh: Osteo-Myol, Cardio Pulmonary, Neurol, Sports Health

MOTh: Orthopaed & Paediatrics

2) UG Courses


BPharm (reg & self-financing)

BPharm (Unani, reg & self-financing)


BUMS (self-financing)


BSc Nurs



3) Dip Courses

Gen Nursing & Midwifery


Pharm (Unani)

Med Lab Tech

X-Ray & ECG Tech

Operation Theatre Techniques

Dialysis Techniques

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Details: Employment News (15-21 Mar) & website.

Red Alert No. 39 (1 Apr’ To 7 Apr’03)

Apr 7 Biju Patnaik University of Technology, Techno Campus, Kalinganagar, Bhubaneswar 751003.

Joint Entrance Exam - 2003

For: BTech/BArch/MBBS/BDS/BPharm/MCA & Lateral entry to BE/BTech courses.

April 5 Institute of Engineering & Technology, MJP Rohilkhand University, Bareilly 243006 (UP).

1) BTech (Comp Sc & IT, Electron & Comm, Electron & Instru, Elect, Mech, Chem)

2) BPharm

Apr 4 Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, S.P. College of Communication & Management, Kasturba Gandhi Marg, New Delhi 110001. (recog by GoI)

Ph: 23389942

PG Courses (1 yr, Evn)

Journalism, Publ Rel, Mass Comm, Mktg & Sales Mgt, Indl Rel & Personnel Mgt, Bus Mgt, Materials Mgt, Internl Trade, Mktg & Advtg, Financial Mgt

Apr 4 IIT- Roorkee, Roorkee 247667.

1) MTech/MArch/MURP

in D/o: Alternate Hydro Energy Centre/Arch & Planning/ChemEngg/Civil Engg/Earthquake Engg/Elect Engg/Electron & Comp Engg/Mech & Indl Engg/Metallurg & Materials Engg /Hydrology/Paper Tech/Phy

2) MSc/MPhil/MTech (Post BSc)/MCA in D/o: Biotech/Chem/Earth Sc/Maths/Phy/MCA (Interdisciplinary)

Apr 9 Rajkumari Amrit Kaur College of Nursing, Lajpat Nagar, New Delhi 110024

BSc (H) Nursing (4-yr)

Apr 8 Jawaharlal Institute of PG Medical Education & Research (JIPMER), Pondicherry 605006 MBBS 2003-04

Apr 7 Pravara Medical Trust, PO Loni, Tal, Rahata, Dist. Ahmednagar 413736 (Mah).

All India Entrance Test

MBBS, BDS, BPhT, BSc (Nurs)

Apr 5 National Institute of Agricultural Extension Management, Rajendranagar, Hyderabad 500030 (AP) (org of M/o Agri, GoI).

PG Prog in Agri-Business Mgt (2 yr)

Apr 7 Indian School of Mines, Dhanbad 826004 (Jhar)

MSc (2-yr): Appl Geol, Maths & Computing

MSc Tech (3-yr): Appl Geol, Appl Geophys

Apr 4 Anna University, Chennai 600025.

1) PhD

2) MS (by Res)

in: Engg (Civil/Mech/Electl), Tech, Arch & Sc & Humanities

Pervin Malhotra, Director, CARING (
New Delhi Email: