Spiking of marks in class 10 and 12 class board exams will stop from next year. The human resource development (HRD) ministry has issued an advisory to all states and the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) to stop the practice.

However, school boards will continue with a moderation policy to grant marks for papers with “difficult” or “ambiguous” questions in exam papers and offer a level playing field to all students in the evaluation process. CBSE levels up the mean achievements in the set-wise performance of the candidates, attributable to the difference in the difficulty level of different sets of question papers in the multiple-set scheme.

Sources say CBSE had decided to do away with the spiking of marks and consensus was being built among states to do the same. Some state boards use the moderation system to increase marks of their students, spiking the overall pass percentage.

An HRD ministry advisory on the matter has been issued to all states by school education secretary Anil Swarup. The practice of awarding grace marks will continue for students who need just a few marks to pass their exams, but this information has to be disclosed on the school and state board ’s websites.


These recommendations have been made by the inter-board working group headed by the CBSE’s former chairman RK Chaturvedi. The group has members from Gujarat, Jammu and Kashmir, Kerala, Telangana, Chattisgarh, Manipur and ICSE boards and was formed to look into the issues related to the moderation policy.

The advisory points out that the practice of awarding moderation marks should be done away with, except in cases of ambiguity in question papers, variation in difficulty levels on some sets of papers handed out to students (if multiple sets system exists in the board) and vagaries in the evaluation system, based on statistical analysis.

“Bunching of marks and their spiking should be completely avoided”. The practice of awarding grace marks should continue to pass their borderline cases (students who are failing by a few marks), the advisory has said.