It's surprising but students need to score more than 100%
marks under the choice-based credit system (CBCS) to get the top "O" grade or
outstanding in some subjects. This would be under the relative grading system
introduced in Delhi University's undergraduate courses.

It is required by CBCS that absolute marks need to be converted to letter grades and grade points by examiners as designed by the University Grants Commission. This is regarded as bizarre in the first semester results and confirmed by the university's exam branch officials.

The marks are converted to grades by UGC-devised formulae, i.e. these use the mean score and fixed multiples of the standard deviation (value changes with paper) to assign score ranges called 'windows' to each letter grade (O, A, A+ etc).

In order for a student to achieve score "O", then his/her score should be equal to or greater than the sum of the mean and 2.5 times the standard deviation. This has made the O score unachievable for students of Biomedical Sciences, Biological Sciences and Biochemistry.

This problem may also be extended to other subjects like science and less-subscribed optional papers and subjects as suggested by teachers.

The results have led to utter confusion as a student's grade is linked with the performance of examinees across DU instead of his individual performance.

According to Dean of examinations, Rup Lal, a grade of a student would depend upon performance of all students giving the DU exam. Even the minimum passing marks is decided by cohort so; standard 40% has no meaning.

The confusion is being added by the fact that marks sheet states one grade which includes exam, practical test and internal assessment per paper. But if a student asks for revaluation, then theory marks is required creating confusion.

As per Kanika, a Miranda House physics student, she has no idea about her performance as there are no marks. She has applied for re-evaluation of her calculus paper. She has got grade "B" in it. In fact, her entire batch has scored same grade. She said that her chemistry friends and other college friends are facing the same problem. They will write about it to administration.

For the first-semester CBCS exam, absolute marks, mean and standard deviation values haven't been revealed. Economics teacher, Saumyajit Bhattacharya of Kirori Mal College applied this formula to a set of 2013 scores in an optional paper took by 102 students and found that "O" would have required score of 108 and "A" of 100.

According to him, there is no such score as "O" in mathematical methods as scores of "O" would have crossed 100 for mathematics and economics or they would have been high.

The professor studied patterns of distribution of grades and found that in KMC's first-year History class, 49 of 50 students are "outstanding" in one paper and 41 in other. While, in mathematics, there is no single grade as "O", everyone is scoring a "B". He figured that wide range of scores UGC's formula assigns 'B'.

Something shocking was found in a class of 76 students, 42 and 31 got Bs in calculus and algebra, respectively. Five students failed in calculus and three in algebra while actually they would have scored 40 marks.

Bhattacharya said that even students scoring 90% may not get A+, for example- a geography teacher awarded a student 86 in an internal practical exam which, to his surprise, has fetched a B. Such surprises are for subjects (like geography taught in about eight colleges) with small batches or for subject like science which has high averages and wide variations in scores.

As per DU executive council member Abha Dev Habib, teachers are complaining as this change was introduced without any discussion with them. There is variety and teachers have no clue.

Bhattacharya points out that such type of relative evaluation is suitable for competitive exams as one need to eliminate others. According to him, a public degree shouldn't be based on such competitive principle.