Revisiting Examination System
Let's make the whole affair hassle free
ACADEMICS BY DR. NAZIR AHMAD GILKAR
The murderous assault on a college professor inside the campus for ensuring fair examination presently going on is highly deplorable and calls for revisiting examination system. The concerned stakeholders were expected to review the situation next morning but they proved unmindful of the suffering of academics at operational level. The more you respect a teacher, society will prosper as no people are above the level of its teachers says NPE, 1986 adopted by the Parliament.
The system of education in operation is examination oriented. To reduce the dominance of year-end examinations certain innovative strategies are required to be initiated. The ‘Marks Sheet’ in vogue in the first instance is to be replaced by “Balanced Score Card”. This will reflect performance in respect of all spheres of learning – scholastic as well as non-scholastic - in order to achieve the main aim of education to develop all round personality of a student. Scoring points based on corresponding weightage are to be allocated to different components viz. (a) 50% focus on final examination, (b) 30% focus on Defence before Jury (10%) and Continuous Assessment (20%) and (c) 20% focus on co-curricular activities which include personal qualities, social qualities, physical education and health upkeep of students. The continuous assessment could be made by putting in practice a variety of strategies like declamant contests, surprise tests and above all regular and active participation of students in the class to ensure maximum teacher-taught interface. Jury may include at least one non-faculty member outside the institution.
The pattern of question papers at degree level over the years has undergone several changes towards improvement. Open choice question papers switched over to unit-wise internal choice. Papers with a mandatory objective question of 20 marks were also experimented. To effect further improvement questions are categorized demanding very short answers, short answers and long answers. Reduction in time from 3 hours to 2 ½ hours to manage two meetings especially in winter days. Merging of A and B papers under each course of study/ module now gained currency to minimize examination cycle.
Despite all these initiatives originated with due support of college faculty, the system of examination suffers from a variety of defects. Students feel stressed and strained. There are attempts of unfair practices in the examination process. Further, the present generation is cut off from books. Efforts need be made to encourage book reading habits. Switch over to open book examination system offers solution to overcome such lacunae. A portion of the curriculum could thus be evaluated through this system by designing a test on application oriented and decision making problems.
The open book examination is based on the following fundamental strategies:
• the focus of the system primarily is on knowledge, understanding, critical thinking, real learning, and intrinsic academic worth of students. The system does not test memory skills. It discourages rote or mugging up of the text book material. This, relieves examinees of stress.
• the students under this system are allowed to take their text books and study notes inside the examination hall. The access to content varies as per instructions transacted.
• the system is spread across the globe without any negative impact as its main objective is to take fear out of examinations. It may be an examination without supervision.
The faculty and examinees need to prepare thus:
• the subject teachers are required to identify course content unit-wise to be evaluated through this system. Some pilot studies may be conducted to experiment the system by selecting a group of students stream-wise in each college. The core group or expert panel comprising faculty from different disciplines design problems and evaluate responses.
• the examinees need to read the test carefully in order to understand what is expected to answer. They should effectively utilize time slot by not over answering questions. The time slot being limited the key is proper organization of material in order to quickly find relevant arguments to respond. The examinees on desired to keep themselves updated, current and familiarized with the format and structure of text books and other source material they have already consulted.
The course content to the tune of 10 percent is evaluated through open book examination system at BITS, Pilani. The students are allowed to bring subject books and study notes with them. They freely use books and other study material while answering questions. The questions, of course, are not directly asked from the books. These relate to some real life application of concepts. All those having thorough understanding of the subject are able to answer these questions. For subjects comprising application of the main principles and concepts, open book examination paper is preferred to test the examinees. While as, the subjects which involve learning of main principles and basic concepts closed book examination system is put in practice.
The college faculty is desired to ponder over academic initiatives to make year-end examinations hassle free. The Vice-Chancellor may kindly look into the matter and under his affectionate guidance it is expected to have new examination policy operative from ensuing academic session.
(Dr. Nazir Ahmad Gilkar is Lecturer (SG), Department of Commerce and Management Government College (PG), Bemina, Srinagar)
Lastupdate on : Sat, 8 Jan 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 8 Jan 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 9 Jan 2011 00:00:00 IST
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