Bitter Truth of (Unfair) Moderation

It is a well-known fact that school education is a gradual progress of knowledge transfer over the years. Ideally, before students are promoted to the next grade, they must have a good understanding of the lessons taught in the previous grade. As of now, the main criteria for assessing this are the evaluation tests and marks scored in them; the higher the student scores, the better they know the concepts!

If that is the case, then why is there a failure/pass mark?

It is present to determine whether the student is eligible to learn the content of the next level with his current knowledge or not. If the student does not meet the minimum score needed to clear a level, they must be held back and repeat the curriculum until they understand the concepts well enough to be promoted.

However, most of the times, the teachers and mainly the parents associate failing with loss of a year for the student. Given the above rationale, is that really how it should be? What is more important? Is it more important that the students strengthen their conceptual understanding before moving on to ‘many years of learning’ or is it about just moving on to the next year to save a year?

What is Moderation?

Moderation is a process where evaluators reward or allow students to go to the next level by passing them in the courses despite underperformance. This is a tough process for the evaluators as they must be sure of the students’ ability to perform well in the next levels before rewarding them. Ensuring this ability to perform at a higher level is impractical due to high efforts needs; and this is what leads to unfair moderations. As a result, many non-eligible students progress to the next level; this leads to implications of ‘unfair’ moderation in the form of large number of ineligible students in higher grades.

The Shark Dorsal Data

Take a look at the mark distribution of famous subjects for 10th and 12th standards.

10th -12th Mark Distribution of popular Board
10th -12th Mark Distribution.

We can clearly see the high peaks near the pass scores (70 for 12th and 35 for 10th). This is indicative of how the evaluators move the students to the higher bucket. To the contrary, analysis experts have found that for a fair mark distribution, the graph has to be more like the following:

Fair mark distribution
Fair Mark Distribution

And when good mark moderation is applied, only a fraction of the graph should get marginally affected.

Fair mark distribution with Fair Moderation

Fair Mark Distribution with Fair Moderation

When schools and education boards are primarily focused on the pass percentages and on students’ performances to compete with each other, there is an inevitable pressure on the evaluators to move students to higher performance buckets ‘unfairly’ (which is found to be fair by most evaluators).

But is it actually fair for the student to get such moderations? – The question has to be answered at a higher level, indeed.

Another New year: A Wonderful Team and Awesome Teachers

Source: http://mrg.bz/6vqoL4
Source: http://mrg.bz/6vqoL4

Report Bee has come a long way, thanks to the wonderful people behind the scenes who work infinitely hard to make it happen. Each one of them inspires me in their own way, and it’s always a genuine pleasure to work with such a group of self-motivated, high performing team.

Often times, I wonder and think about the root cause of motivation among us and why we do what we do. Most often, it’s not just money or power, as it used to be. There is something more to it; something very subtle that science is yet to fully grasp. Some conveniently term it as passion, some define it as ambition and a few others choose to be even more ambiguous and say it’s an answer to the question ‘Why?’

I’m not writing this article to answer this question; this is an attempt to break the question down into simpler elements. I thought of putting myself out there and looking objectively at my high points and low points. There have been quite a few instances where I have felt a surge of adrenaline that would get me all pumped about Report Bee doing much, much more. When I look back, these instances don’t just include the times we won a new school or a big Government contract came through but more importantly much smaller yet very significant instances.

One such incident was when a principal called me at 9 at night and asked me a detailed comparative analysis of her students. She is an amazing person, a true teacher who pays such attention to details and looks at the performance of each of her approximately 1000 students in the school personally. Looking at her energy and enthusiasm pushes us to create an even better Report Bee platform.

I shouldn’t forget another incident where a teacher logged in at 5:15 AM in the morning to identify the students who needed assistance in her subject and prepare a suitable lesson plan for them. These seemingly trivial instances that take us closer to the tangible, positive impact we have on the lives of children gives us the energy and reason to jump out of our beds each morning.

Judging is not that Easy at Bhavan’s Rajaji Vidyashram, Chennai

On Saturdays, normally, it is tough for me to come out. Being a designer, I usually spend time with a Creative Community called Madrasters and conduct some

user group meetings to get myself involved in various sources. I also love exploring new places and appreciate a lot of design and art that inspires me; that helps me unwind and relaxes me during the weekends. But this Saturday was an exceptional break; a kind that just blew my mind.

 

This month, Report Bee got invites from many schools to judge their School Competition events; I went for the ones that were on designing. So, on 5 July 2014, I had to rush at 12 noon to Bhavans for judging its Website Designing and Banner Designing competition. The moment I entered, the student coordinator rushed to me and said that most of the designs are done and waiting to be judged. That made it clear to me that I was late (oops!). I went ahead with judging. I first checked-out the website designs, which were done mostly by 10th and 12th class students; I found them to be very impressive. The quality of submissions was way too high for their standard, is what I thought. Kudos to the Computer Science teacher for helping the students excel at HTML & CSS. Further to this, I move down to judge the Banner Design submissions. This was by far the toughest decision I have ever made. All the designs were stunning and pixel perfect.

 

These kids were way too impressive in their designs. At the back of my mind, I was seriously considering the idea of having them as interns in my Design Team. The event ended with me receiving some beautiful customised gifts from the school and I was left feeling refreshed and smiling by this opportunity.

The two visits I made to schools as a Judge helped me understand how students and teachers related with each other and how the schools function as a system. I also learnt about the superior standards of the students from their performance in these competitions. I could get a sense of their preferences, which could be used to customise Report Bee’s designs in future.

Eco-friendly Gift