How Can Exam Marks Vitiation Be Ended?

January 29, 2022

There's an examination for young people to go to university. I failed it three times. I failed a lot. So I applied to 30 different jobs and got rejected… I even went to KFC (Kentucky Fried Chicken) when it came to my city. Twenty-four people went for the job. Twenty-three were accepted.” - Jack Ma (b1964), Chinese superstar entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist with net worth of US $ 36, 500 million (2022).

Apparently Jack Ma was not one among the 23 accepted for the KFC job. Also apparently those who evaluated the KFC job aspirants were humans and not computers as is the case often in today’s examination and evaluation systems – as in the following report. First the facts as reported.

Bangalore University, which is not new to controversies, landed in fresh trouble owing to a blunder in the evaluation of B.Com answer scripts – according to Deccan Herald. Reflecting poorly on the quality of evaluation of students’ answer scripts, the university went overboard and awarded more marks than what was set by the examiners.

Several third semester B.Com students were shocked to see their results which were out recently. Sources revealed that the examination for ‘Tourism Agency’ — one of the subjects — was conducted only for a total of 70 marks. “But students ended up scoring more than 70. How on earth is that possible? It speaks a lot for the quality of evaluation,” said a source in the university.

A student who scored “excess” marks said, “I scored 74 marks. I was shocked. Many of my friends in other colleges got 71, 73, 89 and more.”

According to officials, around 500 students had opted for Tourism Agency subject. “The examination was conducted in August 2021 for 70 marks and results were announced a few days ago,” an official said. However, the university official shifted the blame on to students and said they should have read the instructions on the question paper. Officials argued that the exam was conducted for both the one-time scheme candidates who studied between 2004 and 2013 and freshers. “Freshers were supposed to write for 70 marks and old candidates were to attempt 100 marks,” an official clarified.

Prof J T Devaraju, Registrar, Evaluation, said, “The results will be withdrawn. As it was digital evaluation and tabulation, the person concerned did not notice this. Once the marks are re-tabulated, fresh results will be announced.”

Meanwhile, the higher education department launched two digital platforms - one to authenticate the digital academic records and another to help paperless evaluation and examination process at the state-run universities.

One module of the Unified University College Management System (UUCMS) will assist universities in examination and evaluation related software. This software will save at least Rs 60 crores for the universities which are spending on outsourcing examination related works claimed a University official.

The UUCMS software has been prepared by considering the provisions of National Education Policy (NEP-2020) like 'Multi Entry Multi Exit' option and awarding relevant certificates for those who discontinue courses for various reasons. The initiative enables the incorporation of all examination-related data of students into the National Academic Depository (NAD), including the credits secured in each semester. Marks cards of each semester will be transferred to the ‘NAD Digilocker’. As data is updated regularly, students can upload related documents easily.

Alert, discerning readers would have noticed the “savings” of Rs 60 crores noted above. Where do these savings go? It may interest readers that the system developed by Infosys for Income Tax Department, which misfired and made national headlines, had a contract value of Rs4242 crores.

The subject is open to many views. What are yours? Your response is welcome in the format given below. (Please scroll down a bit).


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By John B Monteiro
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Comment on this article

  • Mangalurian, Mangaluru

    Mon, Jan 31 2022

    Thank you Mr Monteiro for the article. Honestly I don't expect much from the Indian teaching environment. The world has long seen it as below average. My conclusion is that there is nothing there that induces the students to think, but just to memorise (even if completely wrong). Such memorisation works for subjects like accounting and economics. Some may argue that history is a subject to memorise as well. However, most history written by the Indians for students is horrendously wrong; no primary sources are ever provided. With all this background, I suppose one can't expect much from the evaluators - humans or software. This brought something else to mind: ANYONE that requests for reevaluation gets top marks! Perhaps because no one wants to dig out the answer paper from a mountain of answer papers; so just give 30% more marks and the job is completed in five minutes.

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