How ‘flawed evaluation’ mars career of students in J&K
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How ‘flawed evaluation’ mars career of students in J&K

Three years ago a class 10th student was awarded grade-E2 in Urdu subject and was declared “unqualified”. But after obtaining Xerox of answer script, it got revealed that the student had obtained 76 out of 100 marks in the subject.

On 29 December 2018, when JK BOSE declared annual (regular) class 10th results, at least 13,593 students were declared as "not qualified". In the first week of January the Board declared result for class 12th exams. This time 33,700 students were declared as not qualified. Usually, many students who fail to qualify exams apply for re-evaluation, and for the Xerox of their answer scripts. In many cases, however, the answer scripts obtained by the students have exposed flawed evaluation wherein the evaluators concerned have not followed prescribed standards. Example this: a class 12th student obtained Xerox of her physics answer script.

When the paper was evaluated by an independent subject expert the irregularities in evaluation process got exposed. "My daughter was declared failed in physics but I got her paper re-evaluated by two senior lecturers who not only questioned the 'flawed' evaluation process but declared my daughter as qualified in the subject," said a parent who is working as senior lecturer in school education department. Though the parent brought the matter into the notice of the board authorities, his daughter is yet to get any relief. 

Now, the aggrieved parent decided to register complaint with the JKBOSE. "Every year they claim to improve the system but get exposed at the time of evaluation," the parent said. This is not the only instance when JKBOSE has to cut a sorry figure for "erroneous evaluation". Three years ago a class 10th student was awarded grade-E2 in Urdu subject and was declared as "unqualified". But after obtaining Xerox of the answer script, it got revealed that the student had obtained 76 out of 100 marks in the subject. 

This flawed evaluation and re-evaluation system has, time and again, not only exposed carelessness of authorities, but is marring career of thousands of students every year. Last year, the delay by BOSE in declaring result of re-evaluation shattered dreams of a girl student as she couldn't sit in an exam for degree course in commerce subject. While she had been awarded 391 marks, those candidates who had minimum of 393 marks made it to the final selection. 

Months later when the student got her aggregate marks jumped to 406 – 11 marks more than the cut point in the merit list which was set on basis of class 12 performance of the students. An official in school education department attributed the erroneous evaluation to lack of interest in teachers for participating in the process. "Teachers are forcibly engaged in the evaluation process as they don't treat it profitable," the official said. He said during last 10th and 12th class exams, JKBOSE had to write several times to directorate of school education Kashmir (DSEK) regarding dearth of evaluators. "The board faces dearth of evaluators in English subject and social studies. 

Teachers are deputed for evaluation after a face-off between officials in JKBOSE and education department," an official said. Joint secretary in secrecy department of JKBOSE Muhammad Arif acknowledged the errors in evaluation and said efforts were on to improve system and reduce the possibility of errors in evaluation. He said JKBOSE was seriously examining the issue and will put a fool proof system in place. "We don't want to create any sort of inconvenience to students," he said. An evaluator is given Rs 17 per paper and has to evaluate 30 answer scripts a day, earning him/her Rs 510 per day. 

An official said in higher education department the performance of career advancement of a professor was linked to the conduct of exams, setting of question papers, evaluation. This all is missing in school education department. "If school education department will start such a system for teachers then JKBOSE will have ample choice to pick the evaluators as every teacher will prefer to participate in evaluation keeping in view that it will be reflected in their APRs," he said. 

Besides evaluation, the re-evaluation process is no different. The students who apply for re-evaluation have to wait for more than two months for the results. By that time the board usually announces dates for another (private) exam, leaving the students in dilemma whether to wait for re-evaluation or sit in another exam. This year the JKBOSE has decided to conduct private exam in the second week of February while as result of re-evaluation will be declared post exams. 

"It is completely illogical, the re-evaluation should be declared before commencement of private exams to give students a choice. The joint secretary secrecy said the re-evaluation of answer scripts was a time consuming process as it has to go through two rounds. "And the number of re-evaluation applications is always high. This year we received more than 10,000 applications for one class," he said, adding the answer book of a candidate has to be pulled out from thousands of answer scripts which makes it labour intensive. "From this year we are planning to increase size of answer sheet as the students who use continuous sheets complain that the extra sheets go missing during evaluation," he said.

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