An examination is something that helps to access, and evaluate, but at the same time develop one’s personality. So, instead of calling examination an evil, it is a blessing in disguise.
Nowadays, as we all are aware, COVID-19 has compelled the entire world to close all the institutions which includes all the academic institution. In response to this there were intensive efforts to provide alternatives through digital platforms to maintain essential activities with minimal resources. Educational institutions have placed their hopes of survival on the miraculous techno-power of ‘online teaching’ and ‘online examinations’. At present we are experiencing online education delivered everywhere which is leading towards a paradigm shift. Simultaneously home-based online examinations are also taking place. It is good to provide all such things online, keeping in view the consequences of COVID -19.
Online learning and online examination is now a global phenomenon, and India is no exception. UGC and other State Boards have issued time to time notices regarding the same. Following the prescribed guidelines, the University of Kashmir and J&K BOSE are also emphasized on imparting online education and taking home-based online Mid-Term, UG, PG, and other exams very smoothly. Yes, it is a good move to take exams online, and to save a precious year of our students, but at the same time, we must also think that are such type of exams fulfilling the purpose, or is it just a formality?
Nowadays exams have lost that touch of seriousness. Everybody takes it lightly. Earlier, the pupil had to reach well in time, sit in a disciplined way in an examination hall under the strict supervision where there was no chance of copying. I have seen the candidates who failed continuously in a few subjects before are nowadays very much excited because they know that there is no one to supervise them at home. Nothing prevents students from taking the support of human capital (well-wishers) and technology, to get their questions answered during an online examination. This is all possible because we have no such sophisticated technological infrastructure by which we can overcome these faults.
Some of my nears and dears are going through the same process where some have to submit assignments, and some others to appear, or have appeared, in such exams. I have seen their assignments. They simply copy-and-paste from different sources. Besides, students who appeared in their mid-term and semester examinations are happier because they have taken assistance from their well-wishers. Even my fellow scholars have received so many calls for assistance. Yesterday, I went to a shop where I sawn a examinee waiting for his classmates and well-wishers to go together for an examination which was going to be held a few minutes later.
To overcome all such pitfalls, we must break our brains, so that the candidates get the rewards that they deserve. To achieve the purpose of exams, the module needs to be modified. We must develop tools so that examinees don’t cheat the system. May be examination should test analytical skills rather than testing memory. This means paper should be applied one, with a few factual questions, to accommodate the diverse capabilities of students. Thus, it is necessary to apply Bloom’s Taxonomy so that teachers set examination papers that are well balanced, testing different cognitive skills.
Students must be given training to prepare the home-based assignments so that the purpose of assignments is fulfilled. They should be trained on how to write, what to write, and what not to write. These assignments should inculcate creativity among students, evolve critical thinking and lifelong learning.
To conclude, examination helps us to know the learning outcome of the pupil. If we assist our own wards in exams, how can we come to know about their learning outcomes, their knowledge and their cognition levels. Of course, our wards can get a piece of paper – Marks Certificate – with a high grade. but that does not mean they are brilliant. Instead of making online examinations an exhibition, let us assist them to build their confidence to face the exams; encourage them to learn more, so that they stand up on their own, and build their future.
Khanday Mudasir Ahmad & Mehraj Ud Din Bhat are Research Scholars at Department of Education, University of Kashmir.