Central Board of Secondary Education

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The Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) is a national level board of education in India for public and private schools, controlled and managed by Union Government of India. CBSE has asked all schools affiliated to follow only NCERT curriculum.[2] There are approximately 19,316 schools in India and 211 schools in 28 foreign countries affiliated to the CBSE.[1]

Central Board of Secondary Education
Logo of Central Board of Secondary Education
Formation3 November 1962 (56 years ago) (1962-11-03)
TypeGovernmental Board of Education
HeadquartersNew Delhi, India
Official language
Anita Karwal, IAS
Parent organisation
Ministry of Human Resource Development
Affiliations19,316 schools (2017)[1]



The first education board to be set up in India was the Uttar Pradesh Board of High School and Intermediate Education in 1921, which was under jurisdiction of Rajputana, Central India and Gwalior.[3] In 1929, the government of India set up a joint Board named "Board of High School and Intermediate Education, Rajputana". This included Ajmer, Merwara, Central India and Gwalior. Later it was confined to Ajmer, Bhopal and Vindhya Pradesh. In 1952, it became the "Central Board of Secondary Education".


CBSE affiliates all Kendriya Vidyalayas, all Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas, private schools and most of the schools approved by central government of India.


CBSE conducts the final examinations for Class 10 and Class 12 every year in the month of March. The results are announced by the end of May.[4] The board earlier conducted the AIEEE Examination for admission to undergraduate courses in engineering and architecture in colleges across India. However the AIEEE exam was merged with the IIT-Joint Entrance Exam (JEE) in 2013. The common examination is now called JEE(Main) and is henceforth conducted by National Testing Agency.

CBSE also conducts AIPMT (All India Pre Medical Test) for admission to major medical colleges in India. In 2014, the conduct of the National Eligibility Test for grant of junior research fellowship and eligibility for assistant professor in institutions of higher learning was outsourced to CBSE.[5] Apart from these tests, CBSE also conducts the central teachers eligibility test and the Class X optional proficiency test.[5] With the addition of NET in 2014, the CBSE has become the largest exam conducting body in the world.[5][6]

On 10 November 2017, Union Cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, cleared a proposal for creation of a National Testing Agency (NTA) which will conduct various entrance examinations. Currently, Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) conducts National Eligibility cum Entrance Test (NEET), Central Teacher Eligibility Test (twice a year) UGC's National Eligibility Test (twice a year) and the entrance test for Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalayas.

Promotion criteria

Class 10

For promotion from Secondary (Class 10) to Senior Secondary (Class 11-12), a student must obtain, for all subjects (or best 5 if 6 subjects are taken),

33% overall, without any minimum theory mark requirement.

Originally, the passing criteria was set such that a student had to get 33% in both the theory and practical components. However, an exemption was initially granted for students writing the exam in 2018 as they went through the old CCE system in the previous year.[7] However, CBSE later extended this relief for students writing the exam from 2019 and later as well.[8]

For a student who does not manage to pass up to two subjects, he/she can write the compartment in those subjects in July. For those who fail the compartment, or those who fail in three subjects or more, he/she must rewrite all the subjects taken in the next year.

Class 12

For class 12 students the promotion criteria is 33% overall, with 33% in both theory and practical examinations (if applicable).

For a student who does not manage to pass in exactly one subject, he/she can write the compartment for that subject in July. For those who fail the compartment, or those who fail in two subjects or more, he/she must rewrite all the subjects taken in the next year.


For the Class 10 and Class 12 exams, CBSE (along with the marks obtained) includes the positional grade obtained by the student, which is dependent on the average performance of the students in that subject. Consequently, the cutoffs required to obtain a particular grade vary every year.

Grading system by CBSE [9]
Grade Criteria
A1 Top 1/8 of passed students in that subject
A2 Next 1/8 of passed students in that subject
B1 Next 1/8 of passed students in that subject
B2 Next 1/8 of passed students in that subject
C1 Next 1/8 of passed students in that subject
C2 Next 1/8 of passed students in that subject
D1 Next 1/8 of passed students in that subject
D2 Last 1/8 of passed students in that subject
E Failed students (in either theory, practical or overall)

The cutoffs required to obtain a particular grade in 2018 are listed below:[10]

Class 12 (2018)
Grade English Core Mathematics Chemistry Physics Biology Biotechnology Engineering Drawing Computer Science Economics Accountancy Business Studies Informatics Practices Multimedia/Web Tech Psychology Sociology
A1 89 95 91 90 90 95 98 93 92 84 93 94 95 87
A2 84 84 81 82 84 91 95 88 85 73 83 91 78
B1 78 73 73 75 79 86 92 83 78 65 75 87 82 84 73
B2 72 63 67 69 74 83 89 78 70 59 67 78 79 66
C1 65 55 63 64 68 76 85 72 63 55 60 79 74 73
C2 57 46 60 61 62 80 55 49 67 67
D1 45 42 52 54 55 47 45 57
D2 33 33 Variable (33% theory and practical pass required)
Class 10 (2018)
Grade English Communicative Mathematics Science Social Science Malayalam Hindi French
A1 92 92 87 90 96 93 97
A2 87 81 76 82 93 88 95
B1 83 70 67 74 90 83 92
B2 78 60 58 66 87 78 87
C1 73 50 49 58 84 72 82
C2 66 42 41 49 80 65 74
D1 56 34 34 41 73 54 62
D2 33 (minimum for all subjects)

During CCE

During 2010-2017, when CBSE implemented a CCE (Continuous and Comprehensive Evaluation) for grade 10 students, only the grades obtained by the student were mentioned in the report card in a 9-point grading scale, which translates as below:

Former grading scale (CCE)
Grade Criteria
A1 >90%
A2 81-90%
B1 71-80%
B2 61-70%
C1 51-60%
C2 41-50%
D 33-40%
E1 21-32%
E2 0-20%


It is the practice adopted by CBSE of 'tweaking' candidates' marks to account for paper difficulties and variations. This has been criticized in the past for inflating students' marks in a hyper-competitive society where even one mark counts,[12] and CBSE is in the process of ending it.[when?] In 2017, CBSE informed that it would end moderation entirely, but its decision was challenged by a court case at the Delhi High Court, which ruled that moderation should continue for that year.[13]

With the exception of 2018, moderation was applied to account for variations in region sets (as then students in different regions would be answering different question papers). In 2018, when everyone around the world answered the same questions,[14] this practice was renamed as standardisation, with the CBSE gradually phasing out the practice with the reduction on subjects which were given the offset.

In 2018, Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry and Accountancy were given offset of +9, Business Studies given +6, and English given a +3 offset.

The total mark obtained by a student through moderation cannot exceed 95; if so, it is capped at 95 unless the student's actual mark is 96 or more. This is the reason a mark of 95 is relatively common for such subjects, and why it is much tougher to get 96 than to get a 95.

Moderation was also applied in the infamous CBSE Class 12 mathematics papers of 2015 and 2016, wherein the paper created a huge furore as students and teachers complained that the paper was too tough.[15] Despite a reportedly heavy offset of +16 (+15 for Delhi),[16] students' marks reduced (especially for 2016), as while the A1 cutoff was stable (90), the A2 cutoff reduced to 77, with other grades also experiencing a dip in cutoff.

Moderation can also take the form of giving grace marks to enable students who have scored near the pass mark to pass. This is the reason marks between 25 and 33 are unheard of in subjects like Mathematics, and also explains why the difference between D1 and D2 cutoff is sometimes very small.

Changes for the 2019 exam

Earlier duration for vocational exams

The CBSE has decided that vocational exams (which very few students take) are to be held earlier - in mid/late February compared to March for most other exams. This is to ensure the exams finish earlier.[17][18]

More internal options

For many core subjects, the number of internal choices (wherein students pick one to answer out of two) has increased.[19]

English paper modifications

The English (Core) paper of Class 12 has been modified in a bid to make it less 'speedied'.[20]

2018 question paper leak

In March 2018, there were reports that CBSE Class 10 mathematics and Class 12 economics question papers were leaked.[21] In response, CBSE announced that these exams will be cancelled and re-exams will be conducted.[21] However, CBSE later announced that there will be no re-exam for Class 10 mathematics paper because the paper leak may have been confined to a few alleged beneficiaries.[22]

On 7 April 2018, Rakesh Kumar (an economics teacher) and two other employees of a private school in Una, Himachal Pradesh were arrested for leaking the Class 12 economics paper.[23] According to the police, Rakesh Kumar had gone inside the strong room of a bank to pick up packets of computer science question papers but also picked up a packet of economics question paper.[23] He asked a student to make a handwritten copy of the question paper (to avoid being traced from the handwriting).[23] He then sent photos of the handwritten copy of the paper on WhatsApp to a relative in Punjab.[23] This relative shared the photos with her son and nephew, who shared them with their friends on WhatsApp groups, from where it was forwarded to other Whatsapp groups.[23]

On 12 April 2018, the police said that Rakesh Kumar, who leaked the class 12 economics paper, had leaked class 10 mathematics paper also.[24]

Consequently, the Central Board of Secondary Education has put in place a system of “encrypted” question papers, which are supposed to be printed by the schools half an hour before the exam starts.[25]

Regional offices

Foreign Schools

According to the official website of CBSE, there are 28 government as well as private affiliated schools in different countries outside India. The reason of their establishment is largely serving the Indian community abroad, or at least, children or relative of Indian diplomats.

Countries where present

For countries where the population of Indian nationals even surpasses the country's native population or in countries where they form a substantial share of the population, like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Qatar, Bahrain, etc., Indian embassies have set up CBSE schools and have allowed Indians or locals to set up private CBSE schools serving the needs of Indians in that particular country.

But, however, in countries where Indians don't reside, the Indian diplomatic missions have set up schools in countries like Russia and Iran which mainly serves children of diplomats.

See also


  1. ^ a b "About CBSE".
  2. ^ "Only NCERT books at all CBSE schools".
  3. ^ "History (and the Expansion) of the Central Board of Secondary Examination". studypost.com. 16 December 2017. Retrieved 16 December 2017.
  4. ^ "CBSE Results Announcement Dates: Class 12 on May 25, Class 10 on May 27". news.biharprabha.com. 23 May 2015. Retrieved 23 May 2015.
  5. ^ a b c "After UGC's failure, CBSE to conduct NET". Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  6. ^ "NET to be held under CBSE's watch". The Hindu. Retrieved 24 July 2014.
  7. ^ "CBSE says overall 33% marks enough to pass Class 10 this year". hindustantimes.com. 27 February 2018. Retrieved 25 August 2018.
  8. ^ "CBSE Eases Class 10 Passing Marks Criteria as Combined Marks Extended from 2019 Board Exams". News18. Retrieved 21 October 2018.
  9. ^ "Grading info" (PDF). cbseacademic.nic.in.
  10. ^ Not publicly released by CBSE, but can be verified by looking at students' grades
  11. ^ For the given dataset, if students took improvement exams (i.e, rewrote them) and hence wrote fewer than five subjects, the average of those subjects alone were taken. In all other cases like absenteeism in an exam for which the student has been registered for, a score is 0 is taken in this case. This means that it is not possible to distinguish from the graph - though it is from the dataset - whether a student actually scored zero or did not show up for the exam itself.
  12. ^ "CBSE Result 2018: The Curious Case of 'Magic Mark 95'".
  13. ^ "CBSE moderation row: Board awarded up to 11 extra marks in this year's Class 12th exams - Firstpost". firstpost.com.
  14. ^ https://www.indiatoday.in/education-today/news/story/cbse-class-10-mathematics-paper-analysis-board-examiner-comments-student-reactions-full-maths-question-paper-1472305-2019-03-07 shows evidence that CBSE reverted to the past practice in 2019
  15. ^ "A CBSE Math Paper So Tough, It Made Students Cry". 16 March 2016.
  16. ^ "With no more 'marks moderation', CBSE Class XII results likely to dip; will bring down DU cutoffs". 18 May 2017.
  17. ^ "CBSE 10th, 12th board exams 2019 date sheet released, check it now". https://www.hindustantimes.com/. 23 December 2018. Retrieved 17 January 2019. External link in |website= (help)
  18. ^ "Info" (PDF). cbseacademic.nic.in. 2018.
  19. ^ "Info" (PDF). cbseacademic.nic.in. 2018.
  20. ^ "Notification" (PDF). cbseacademic.nic.in. 2018.
  21. ^ a b "CBSE paper leak: Board announces re-exam; HRD initiates probe". The Economic Times. Press Trust of India. 28 March 2018. Archived from the original on 30 March 2018. Retrieved 31 March 2018.
  22. ^ Shihabudeen Kunju S (3 April 2018). "No Re-Exam For Class 10 Maths Paper: CBSE". NDTV. Archived from the original on 4 April 2018. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  23. ^ a b c d e Sikdar, Shubhomoy (8 April 2018). "How a Punjab housewife led Delhi cops to source of CBSE Economics paper leak". Hindustan Times. Archived from the original on 8 April 2018. Retrieved 8 April 2018.
  24. ^ "Una teacher leaked both CBSE economics and maths question papers: Police". Business Standard. Press Trust of India. 12 April 2018. Archived from the original on 12 April 2018. Retrieved 12 April 2018.
  25. ^ "Contacts". CBSE. Retrieved 3 December 2016.

External links