Chairman of the state board Sharad Gosavi, who announced the results on Friday, said 96.9% students of the 15.8 lakh students who took the exam from Maharashtra passed this year. But the number of high scorers declined by 50% in comparision to 2020 when exams were held offline.Pune division’s results dipped from 97.3% in 2020 to 96.9% this year. Marathi had the lowest pass percentage among all the subjects at 97.5%, while pass percentage in English subject is highest at 99% for the division. Konkan division recorded the highest success rate of 99.3% owing to fewer candidates.The results for 2021 were based on internal marks due to the pandemic when no written examination was conducted. Gosavi said that the improvement of the pass percentage every year was in line with New Education Policy where the focus is on encouraging students to take up higher education. Gosavi said, “The NEP wants the exam pressure on students reduced and educators to ensure that students continue to learn and take up higher education. So, if the success rate is crossing 95% consistently, then it is progressive. The evaluation process is based on a comprehensive and continuous method.”Latur division set a new record with 70 of the 122 students in the state scoring 100% marks and the division was in the third place. Educators said the resurgence was because of the Latur model of studies from the 1980s where the approach is holistic and focuses on learning outcomes of students backed by solving past question papers during the fag end of the SSC preparations. The exam conducted in March and April was for 66 subjects in eight languages. There was a 100% pass percentage for 24 subjects. The state board awards extra marks to students who excel in sports, art, scout guide, performing arts, and theatre and 1,64,798 students took benefit of these extra marks.