Pass or Fail

Update for 16 Dec 2009 (and 15 Dec as well)

When I went to school, there were very few exams or tests in the first 2 years. I am not sure how the teacher assessed the students, but at the end of every term, there was a progress report card that was distributed to each student and we were promptly asked to get our parents’ signature on it. I was too young to understand what it all meant, and followed my teachers’ instructions to the T. From Class III onwards, we had tests and exams to write and our results were always expressed in numbers between 0 and 100. Our teacher ingrained it into us that anything below the 50 mark was a “Red” – a fail, which would be highlighted by a red felt pen and anything above that was a blue – usually marked by a ball-point pen. So all of us in class worked hard to avoid any red marks on our report cards and were mortally afraid of the number 50! As we progressed to higher classes, we slowly realized that the studies were getting expansive and complex and at times, the 50 number looked too close for comfort. But after class VII – we were slightly relieved to note that the Fail grades started from below 35 and though that was anxiously inviting, the complexities of our subjects made the number 50 look like a distinction grade! And thereafter, till I graduated, this threshold stayed and 35 became the “Pass Mark”. Some of those who went to Business Schools, at times encountered varying “pass grades” which were relatively graded. I understand from my engineer friends that some under-graduate engineering institutes also used this scale for their student assessments.

D Street was on unsure ground today. The D Boyz had worked hard all of the last 2 months, and the Indian economy gave them good cues to do well, yet the almost flat move over the last 60 days kept the tense Boyz on their toes. So when they opened the day with good marks, their next test caught them unawares and they blinked. They were in the red. This good test followed by a not so good one occurred a couple of times during the day, until the Boyz were exhausted and only waited for their end of day result. They knew that they had not done too well and were only praying that they passed. They did – with 35.6 points – to end the day at 16912. They wiped their brows – that was close!

Indian brides are always dolled up – and when these women grow up, they are shocked at their gaudy appearances in wedding snaps, but women being women, will continue to dress up their daughters and daughters-in-law in similar fashions. So there will be the heavy jewellery with loads of red – red saris, red shellac bangles, scarlet rubies in their golden necklaces (and in their golden bangles at times). And all of this will finally culminate with the red dot on the forehead – the bindi. And many weddings will be solemnized when the vermillion powder is applied on the hair parting! With so much red in this wedding season, the D Boyz saw two much of this – and literally moved the SENSEX Two Two O points down yesterday – 220 points down on 15 Dec to end at 16877.

I have always got tense before exams – little sleep the night before and edgy till the exam is over. And I hated students who would huddle together outside the exam centre, comparing answers! I would run home to soothe my frayed nerves.



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