Sunday, August 18, 2013

Rajasthan Board Schools: 90-100% in Sessional Marks - Not even 10% in the Board Exam!!

The Complete Result Files (Links to Download the Files):
10th Board: Link
12th Board - Commerce
12th Board - Science
12th Board - Arts

10th Sessional Marks in Schools 
List of Rajasthani Names
It was on Thursday, 6th June 2013 that a friend from my village called me up in the evening and asked if I could check his cousin’s 10th board result. I obliged and tried to access the Rajasthan Board’s result website. Over 1.2 million students had registered for the board exam. The website was not accessible instantly and I had to wait for a few minutes to get the webpage to enter the roll number. I congratulated my friend as his cousin had passed the exam with first division; we chatted a bit more about how our batch was the first one to the get the results online, way back in the year 1999. After a couple of minuted he ringed me again as he wanted to know the results of some other students too. I told him to message me their roll numbers and I shall text him the results after some time as the result website was a bit sluggish.

While checking the results for these students, something caught my attention. A student got more marks in sessionals (20 marks) than the main exam (80 marks) for 3 subjects and he passed the exam with second division marks. I kept on checking the result for the nearby roll-numbers as I wanted to know who has got the highest marks in our school. Most of these students were born in or after 1999; I thought, it has been a long time since I've come out of school and still it seems as if it was just the previous day.

While wondering about the school time memories, I kept on observing that most of the students had got 18 to 20 out of 20 marks in their sessionals while their main exam marks were not even crossing 10 out of 80 marks. 

Next day, I called a friend, who is a teacher in the secondary school. I wanted to know, how these sessional marks are awarded, because in our time, we used to get only 10 marks for sessional exams, which were for the half yearly (mid-term) exams conducted generally in the month of December.

He told me that these sessional marks are a boon for the students and help in improving the results of the school. Out of 20 marks, 10 marks are still for the half yearly exams while remaining 10 marks are a combination of attendance, overall conduct of the student and practical exams, broken into 2 + 3 + 5 marks. As these 20 marks are in the hand of the subject teacher and specially the school. The private schools attract the students and their guardians by promising to give full marks (20 out of 20 marks) in sessionals. Some teachers, especially of government schools, even coerce students to come for tution after school in return of better sessional marks. In the compititive times, where even a single mark can make a difference while applying for admission into universities and for the job openings, these marks are crucial.

I explained to him the 80/20 Pareto Principle, which states that 80% of the output comes from 20% of the action; and it was true even in the case of Rajasthan Board result where a lot of students get more marks in their sessionals than their main exam.

Over the following weekend, I thought of analysing the sessional marks with respect to the overall marks obtained by the students. Afterall sessional marks should be reflecting the learning which happens in the schools, as these are awarded by the schools based on the performance in the mid – term exams and the overall conduct of the stundets.

It was surprising for me that so many students are able to get full marks in their mid-term exams and then perform miserably in their main exams. I thought of checking the result of around 1000 students randomly and see if there is any correlation between the sessionals and the main – exam marks.

I got tired just after checking the result for around 25 students and then felt that its useless exercise, what will I get by doing this? But still it’ll be great if I can download the result automatically. I had read in the newspaper that a student had hacked the ICSE board website and he was able to access the result for all the students by a simple program. I read his post on quora, but didn’t understand it as I didn’t know much of the Java-script.

I thought of doing it by writing a web-query in the MS-Excel, but that was of not much help either. Over the coming few days I browsed the Excel/Java forums and asked a few friends if they could help me in automatically downloading some content by auto-logging into a website with a roll numbr and saving the result page in an excel sheet after parsing it. None of them was willing to help, with an attitude – “yaar ho to jayega, but fight marni padegi!!”

Over next few days I browsed the internet-forums and decided to write a Visual Basic Macro to download and parse the result. I was able to download the result pages as text files for a thousand students but it was difficult to parse the result to analyse it further. It had been a week doing it and there was not much progress in it; so I decided to download the result by MS Visual Basic in an Excel file and parse it by C++.

It was quite thrilling when I saw that I was downloading around 900 students result per minute, parsing it and saving it in an Excel file. Parsing the result was a bit challenging as some of the students had just two subjects displayed in the result page, some of the students result was with held and there were many subjects like Sindhi, Urdu, Sanskrit and I didn’t have much Idea how many key words I had to put to separate the results for these students. Overall It was quite satisfying that I was able to learn Visual Basic and then was able to parse an Excel file by writing a small code in C++.

After downloading the result for 1,207,563 students and taking the results of all those students who had appeared for all six subjects in the exam (1,170,124), I wanted to know if there is any correlation between the sessional marks (out of 20 marks) and the marks obtained in the main exam (Theory – out of 80 marks).

The correlation matrix is shown below:


If we see this matrix, it is quite clear that there is very weak liner correlation between the marks obtained by the students in their main exam (Theory) and the marks given by their schools in their Sessionals. Correlation coefficients whose magnitudes are less than 0.3 have little if any (linear) correlation.

I saw that out of these nearly 1.2 million stundents, there were 253,887 students, whose total marks in their sessionals were more than the total marks in their main exam (theory). For example, some students got 110-120 marks out of 120 marks in their sessionals while 119 or less marks out of 480 marks in their main exam. The correlation between Sessionals and Theory for these students is worse than for all the stundents combined.

The correlation matrix for these students is shown below:


Now what does this mean?

It means that the marks obtained in the sessional, which should be reflective of the students performance in his/her school as assessed by the subject teacher; have no meaningful relation with the marks secured in their main yearly exam. Now there can be a few possibilities – Either the sessional marks are not accurately reflecting the student’s potential or the main exam is not the true measure of the learning students have in their schools. If sessional marks are not reflecting the students’ performances in their schools, then why are these students being given 100+ marks out of 120 marks?

If sessional marks are genuinely assessing the students’ performance in their schools; then the performance in the the schools should have a significant effect on the performance in the main exam. Then, does it mean that going to schools and studying there has no significant relation with the marks students get in the main exam conducted by the Rajasthan Board?

Isn't it unfair for the students who study regularly and do well in their mid-term exams to get good marks while other students who can not even manage 20% marks in their main exam and get over 90% marks in sessionals, most probably just by the grace of their subject teacher and school management?

If we analyse the result further, most of the students who have got 3rd division or just pass marks have crossed the passing line with the help of the marks obtained in their sessionals. 

Even though I strongly believe that the number of marks a student gets in the board exams should not restrict its potential and future prospects, but in the competitive era when the higher education institutions and government is trying to include board marks in the admission criteria, even a single mark can make or break a student’s future.

Some Stats:

Number of students who secured 100 marks in the following subjects:
Hindi -8
English – 11
Science – 374
Social Science -14
Mathematics – 1671

Third Language (Sanskrit, Urdu, Gujrati, Sindhi, Punjabi) – 92


  1. Good stuff Vikram. Read your entire blog. to be fair this practice of sessionals is prevelant across all boards so I assume it will get rationalised there. What really caught my eye is the fact that you were able to download the results so easily!!! ( i Assume it dint take too much effort)

  2. Thanks Deepak. Yes, It might get rationalize, still, we can't say that for sure. Its amazing that either educational authorities don't detect such kind of malpractices or even after knowing about this, they turn a blind eye to it.

    Yeah, it was quite easy to get it in this case. However it'll be better if they put student's date of birth or other such parameter to restrict the public access for the result.

  3. jatt... macha diye ho...

  4. These type of issue are necessary because this is the question for career of students

  5. now these are burning issue and we should think about it.