SSC exams: Chief Moderator clarifies marks for MCQ that had left students confused

Prajakta Joshi
Sunday, 18 March 2018

Pune: After SSC students were confused over an ambiguous one-mark multiple choice question (MCQ) in Science and Technology Paper-I in the ongoing board examination, the chief moderators have decided to give marks to students who have written the correct answer, which wasn’t in the choices available.

Pune: After SSC students were confused over an ambiguous one-mark multiple choice question (MCQ) in Science and Technology Paper-I in the ongoing board examination, the chief moderators have decided to give marks to students who have written the correct answer, which wasn’t in the choices available.

Also, students who chose the option ‘colourless’ (correct answer being white) will be given marks. The fate of others who attempted the question wrong or left it blank is yet to be decided by the Maharashtra State Board of Secondary and Higher Secondary Education (MSBSHSE).

The question
As Sakal Times has reported earlier, the question being referred to was: ‘When crystals of copper sulphate are ‘strongly heated’, the residue obtained is ___.’ The options available for the answer were red, green, blue or colourless. 

However, the correct answer, according to subject experts, is ‘white’, but this option was not given, creating confusion among students.

Chief Moderator’s take
TR Waman, Chief Moderator at the Maharashtra State Board said, “If we find that the students have written ‘White’ as the answer, we will consider it to be correct, even though the option is not given by us in the paper. Also, we will give marks to students who have picked ‘Colourless’ as the answer.”

Waman said there are two types of crystals of copper sulphate, hydrous and anhydrous. “However, the Std X textbook covers only hydrous crystals, thus the residue can be closer to ‘colourless’. That’s why we are considering that answer to be correct,” he said.

When asked about students who got confused and ended up with the wrong answer, Waman said the moderators have submitted their reports to the board, and now board officials will decide whether or not bonus marks will be given to the students.
Confusing students

However, Subhash Ghule, a teacher at New English School, Ramanbaug and a parent of a Std X student said the question itself was confusing, and hence, the Board has to give bonus marks to students.

“First of all, the question paper didn’t give the right answer among the options provided. Secondly, it used the wrong term. The term ‘strongly heated’ is wrong as, according to experts, copper sulphate crystals can only be heated till 250 degrees Celsius to obtain a white residue. The word ‘strongly’ can also pertain to it being heated at 650 degrees Celsius, which leads to the creation of Copper Oxide (CuO). The correct word to be used here was only ‘heated’. Thus, the board needs to give benefit of this ambiguity to students,” Ghule said.

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