CBSE – A closer look


Children today are offered a plethora of choices in everything including education. When it comes to education systems , there are multiple options like CBSE, State Board, ICSE, IB, IGCSE etc. One of the popular curriculum standards in India is the CBSE system. In this article, we have explored a bit in detail about what it means to put your child in this system of education.


  • Standardised curriculum across the country established by the NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training)
  • More than 16000 schools offering this curriculum in India and in 24 countries across the world.
  • The syllabus is very structured and controlled
  • Standardised Textbooks.
  • No child can fail a class till 8th grade
  • Most entrance exams conducted in the country for college admission follow this syllabus.
  • Board exams are OPTIONAL in 10th grade and MANDATORY in 12th Grade
  • Favoured by those who constantly relocate within India or even abroad to countries in the Middle East etc and seek a standardized curriculum
  • Favoured by those who want to go into the traditional routes of Engineering/medical

Curriculum Focus at Secondary Level: This focuses on 7 major learning areas (Actual subjects offered will vary from school to school )

  1. Languages – Hindi, English, and 32 other languages
  2. Humanities- Geography, History, Economics, Home Science, Sociology, Fine Arts, Political Science, Fashion Studies, Creative Writing and translation Studies and related subjects
  3. Mathematics
  4. Science and Technology- Subjects related to Biology, Chemistry, Physics, ICT, Information Practices and Web and Multimedia Studies
  5. Health and Physical Education
  6. Visual and  Performing arts – Dance, Drama, Music, Drawing, Painting, Crafts and Sculpture
  7. Commerce – Business Studies, Accountancy, Entrepreneurship, Economics and related subjects


In the CBSE System, instead of 3 exams like Quarterly, half yearly and Annual, there is continuous assessment throughout the year called Formative Assessments (FA) and one exam called Summative assessment (SA). There are two semesters.

First semester Assessment:


Formative Assessment will consist of 3 activities of 10 marks each:  (Final Weightage: 10 marks)

  • Individual Activity (Making chart, model, project etc)
  • Group Activity (Skit, Model making, project presentations etc)
  • Pen and paper exam

FA2:  Same as above (Final Weightage: 10 marks)

Summative Assessment: Written Exam -(90% Theory, 10% Practical) – Final weightage – 30 marks

Total marks per semester: 50

Two semesters add up to 100 marks for the academic year.


91-100 A1 10
81-90 A2 9
71-80 B1 8
61-70 B2 7
51-60 C1 6
41-50 C2 5
33-40 D 4
21-32 E1
20 and Below E2


The CBSE system also mandates Special Education. Children who seem to be having learning difficulties in class are referred to the school counselor. The counselor then observes the child and then may refer the child to a Special Education Teacher. Remedial classes may be conducted for those children separately by the special education teacher. Exam papers set for such children are done taking into consideration the adaptations and modifications required for such a child. For example, some children know the material but have a reading difficulty – For such children, the question papers will be read out loud so that they can answer.

Opinion of a CBSE Teacher with more than 10 years of experience in the field:

The syllabus is really broken down into bite size pieces for students to process. The students get multiple opportunities through activities etc to prove themselves and score points and this way they get more opportunities to pull up their scores than just 3 exams through the year. Also, instead of just pen and paper exam, students can do projects etc which require different skills.

The workload on children is light for CBSE students- At a time only 5/6 chapters at the most need to be studied and therefore the rigour is not as much compared to ICSE syllabus. This is very ideal till the primary level. However, the rigour needs to be stepped up in middle school. The CBSE recommended NCERT textbooks are at a very basic level and not comprehensive. Since the children are used to such a light load till 10th grade, once they move into 11th grade, they struggle with the overwhelming load of Senior Secondary syllabus. Some children are completely lost. However this system has been adopted by CBSE to ensure that there are fewer drop outs out of the school system before 10th grade.

The official CBSE academic website is

Books can be your child’s best friend and here are five wonder books which your little one will absolutely love.

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