I think the previous posts do a good job of pointing out why the current system of evaluation is needed. Certainly, some form of assessment is required. However, I would like to point out that the only reason this question is being brought out into the discourse is because there must be some shortcomings within it. I think that the intense pressure brought to bear by Tenth Standard examinations requires some level of calibration. The documented cases of students who endure psychological trauma, as well as suicide in some instances, seems to be contrary to the notion of education as developing life skills. As India makes greater advances in understanding education as something that is not only marked by standardized tests, there should be some reevaluation of how to ensure that qualified candidates are recognized as well as creating a realm where students do not feel so demonized by exams and assessments. Indeed, students should be appropriate agents of actions for the pressures that life brings to bear. However, at the same time, life demonstrates multiple modes or valences or successes outside of standardized forms of assessment. While students need to develop the life skills to understand how to navigate through adversity and challenge, the Indian educational and social institutions must do a better job of helping students through these challenges. These cannot simply fall on the shoulders of students who are adolescents in their own right and learning to understand their own senses of self. At some point, adults in the educational system must help students cope with these challenges in a way that builds internal strength while mitigating external demonizing.
It appears this question relates to the current thinking among some people in education department in India to discontinue the qualifying examination conducted by state education departments for students after they complete their tenth standard education. Before I go on to answer this question, I would like to point out that proposal of the Government are only to discontinue the examination by a central board of examination. This does not amount to discontinuing the entire system of grading. The students will continue to be graded by their respective schools.
Coming to the main question, yes, students of tenth standard must be graded. We can debate about the method of grading and the authority conducting the grading, but there is no doubt about the utility of the grading itself. The grading system for students offers the following advantages.
- It helps the students in their studies by giving them feedback on the extent of their learning. In this way it helps students not performing well to identify their shortcomings and overcome. It also motivates student to improve their performance.
- It helps teachers to know the strengths and weaknesses of their students. This information can be used by them to help student to perform better in weak subjects and achieve their potential in subjects for which they have aptitude.
- The grading of students can also be used as a measure of performance of their teachers. This helps in improving the quality of teachers employed in schools.
- Examination, particularly the ones conducted by recognized bodies provide a means of certifying the abilities of individual students. This not only helps them in getting public recognition, but also in securing employment and admission for higher education.
- The certifications based on examinations also help the employers and educational instituted in identifying suitable candidates for employment and admission.
The only major problem of grading is the excessive psychological pressure they may put on the students. For this reason, it may not be advisable to use grading for minor children. But students of tenth standards need too be mature enough to withstand these pressures. In life they are exposed to may other psychological pressures of greater intensity, and it is in their interest to not to avoid these pressures but to learn to deal with them appropriately.
The question is whether to differentiate or not to diffrentiate the students. Tenth indicates only number of years of study. If graded, on what basis, becomes a matter of discussion. The educationists have made several studies but there no particular way all the achivements could be measured, uniformly and comprehensively. Even if measured , many fear, it beomes biased and and say that there is no uniformity of measurement standards. There are grades, marks, percentiles , ranking etc which is called the different level of achievements. There are instances , where the system of ranking is in vogue for quite some years and then it is abolished. But at the same time it is rquired to differentiate and grade the system for chosing for a purpose. Many selections are based on the grade and academic purrformance. Without grade, it becomes difficult to chose or at least you have waste time , effort and money to chose by creating your own tests for the suitability. So it is convenient to have the grade to avoid such repeated tests of suitablity from time to time by different groups when they make a selection. It looks better have system than not have it.