ESC for PG Courses, MU–Reminiscence of certain abnormal cases

Prof N Irabanta Singh
Introduction
While serving Manipur University, Canchipur as Dean, School of Life Sciences (28/01/2012 to 27/01/2015), the present writer also served as Chairman, Examination Standing Committee for PG courses (vide office order no. 1621 dated 11th March, 2013). In this article, he expresses his own views on the reminiscence of certain abnormal cases in question setting which were redressed for saving career of students.
Case Study 1
Name of course: M.Sc. Life Sciences
History: It was a common paper (Botany and Zoology streams) for IV semester. About 80 students appeared for the said paper. After evaluation, the concerned Question setter cum examiner submitted the mark slip to the Head Examiner cum HOD/Life Sciences, MU for onward submission to the Controller of Examinations. The said Head Examiner simply signed and forwarded the mark slip to the Controller of Examinations. The COE/MU detected that only 2 or 3 students out of 80 students could secure pass mark, rest of the students secured 1 or 2 mark(s) even though they answer all questions. The matter was brought to the notice of the Chairman, Examination Standing Committee for PG courses. The Chairman, ultimately conveyed a meeting of the ESC for redressing the problem. The questions paper set by the faculty member, Life Sciences Department, MU was scrutinized by the members critically. It was detected that the Questions set were very vague. The answer script written by the students need further re-evaluation. So, the ESC resolved to re-evaluate each and every answer script. Accordingly, the decision of the ESCwas put up to the Vice-Chancellor for his approval. The honourable V.C approved the proposal. Accordingly a new examiner on the concerned subject was appointed. He was also requested to re-evaluate the answer scripts. After re-evaluation of all the answer scripts it came out with the finding that 90 % of the students secured pass mark and above. The markslip submitted by the second examiner was made valid. Thus, the matter was settled peacefully.
Case Study 2
Name of the course: LL.B.
History: It was a question paper for LL.B. second year. About 100 students appeared for the said paper. The examination result was already announced by the Controller of Examinations, M.U. with due approval from the Chairman, Examination Standing Committee for PG courses. One of the students from the Government Law College secured 7th position. Mark sheets were even issued. But a complaint was lodged by a group of students from the said college that the position holder secured less than 40 marks in the subject. As per LL.B. regulation, every student should secure at least 40 marks in a paper then he/she will be declared qualified. The matter was brought to the notice of the Chairman/ESC. Accordingly, he advised the COE/MU to convey an emergency meeting of the committee with Head Examiner cum Principal of the Government Law College as invitee. After critical examination of the mark toposheet of the Second year LL.B. exam, it was detected that the 7th position holder secured less than 40 marks which is invalid. It was also detected that about 20 students out of 100 students could secure passmark in the said paper. The question paper was also examined critically by the committee members. It was found that the questions were vague. Accordingly, ESC resolved to repeat the same paper within one month with a fresh question set by another person and examined by him. Re-examination was held and 90 % of the students secure pass mark. Thus, the problem was redressed.
Discussion
Writing examination questions should be a continuous activity. The trouble with many examiners is that they are thrown together, in a few minutes with little thought- often just before or after approaching question setting deadline. Good questions are not written in this way. Really discriminating examination takes a great deal of thought and work. Ideas come as one is reading or preparing a lecture.
To be contd


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