Mumbai: One out of every three students who takes a Mumbai University exam has lost faith in its assessment. This year, 1.2 lakh candidates of the approximately 3.5 lakh who wrote an exam applied to the university for revaluation, raising a critical question on the quality of evaluation.
Just around two years ago, in 2012, 68,653 candidates had applied for rechecking. The university charges Rs 500 for revaluation and Rs 100 for a photocopy of a student’s answer book.
Data procured by RTI activist Vihar Durve pointed to the fact that over time, the count of students applying to revaluation has been steadily climbing. “Exams are critical for students and it is important for the university to appoint evaluators who realize they need to take utmost care while assessing every paper. These scores determine the rest of their life–which college they can enrol in for higher studies or the career they can take up, or the organization they can join,” said RTI activist Vihar Durve, who obtained the data.
Durve had, in an earlier RTI revealed that in 2012, 14,586 of the total 68,653 candidates who applied for revaluation were declared as passed. Similarly, in the first half of 2013, of the 43,256 students who applied for revaluation, 10,509 cleared the exam. “I suspect that there could even be a revaluation scam in which money is taken to clear a candidate who has failed,” said a senior faculty member.
Another RTI response also found that the university stipulates a faculty must correct a minimum of 25 answer books a day if they assess 100-mark papers, provided they work through the entire eight-hour assessment session without a break, they get only 19.2 minutes per paper.
The maximum time set aside for a paper falls to 12 minutes if evaluators are checking papers in the range of 40 to 60 marks.
“However, most teachers do not spend more than four to five hours every day, meaning they give just nine to 10 minutes to every paper. I feel the problem lies with the fact there is no premium attached to assessment,” said an engineering college principal. The university pays Rs 20 for correcting one answer sheet and Rs 120 as transport allowance to visit the assessment centre.
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Little wonder then that such is the quality of correction. Among all the streams, the engineering discipline, which has been seeing the student count ballooning, has the largest number of reassessment requests. Ironically, the count of teachers participating in the central assessment process for engineering has been slipped each year, added a former dean.
A former exam controller said as the time for evaluation coincided with vacations, many teachers are reluctant to take up correction duty. “Also, most colleges have ad-hoc teachers whose services are terminated after May 31. So they are not available for assessment.”