100 percent cut-offs. Are children smarter or has marking become more lenient?

100% cut offs! Admissions out of reach! Such headlines in papers taunt us and leave us to stew in our own mediocrity. Are we really spawning geniuses or are marks just easier to get? A point to be debated.

Speak to any old-timer and they will lament how difficult it was to score a decent grade, a 60% (first division) was a reason to rejoice, a 75% (distinction) was a cause for celebration and an 80% was a rarity. But a 100%, that too in a language, was unheard of.

The world is full of evidence that human intelligence is increasing. According to the Flynn effect, the IQ points of the human race are increasing by an average of three points every decade; especially in developing countries like India and China. Improved diets and health have helped this gradual yet steady climb up the intellectual ladder.

Further, children start schools early, are more focused and stay in school for a longer period of time. Teaching methods have evolved and are more interactive and child centric. Students have greater access to information; and there is emphasis on logical reasoning, hypothetical thinking and problem solving. This essentially translates into a more evolved mind as the education system today is training children to think better.

Schools and coaching institutes prepare students for exams by improving their cognitive performance. Rigorous training for competitive exams gives students an edge over those of the earlier generations. Further, the exam format has changed from subjective to objective. Teacher's attitude towards checking has changed from fault finding to a positive and nurturing attitude.

Children today have everything working in their favour. The rat race is gaining momentum and it sure will be interesting to watch in which direction it heads.

Srishti Sharma

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