University mulls Computer Based Testing following complaints of discrimination

Worried over the spate of complaints from students alleging discrimination and victimisation in the award of internal marks, the JNTU Hyderabad plans to introduce Computer Based Testing (CBT) for the mid exams of its engineering students from the ensuing academic year.

The issue discussed in several academic meetings recently was favoured by all the directors and senior professors. The directors of various wings related to academics and examinations were asked to be prepared for the new mode. If the CBT is introduced students would have to take the mid examinations online with the question papers generated by the computers. It is likely to be in the mode of TOEFL to ensure that quality is not compromised.

A senior official told The Hindu that shifting to the new mode was being contemplated for some time with several students complaining against their colleges of discrimination in award of mid exams marks and victimisation for questioning the quality of infrastructure and academics. The new mode will snuff out all those allegations since the role of colleges will be limited, and will also streamline the present system to some extent. Officials say if the mid exams are conducted successfully through the CBT mode they may opt the same method for the semester exams conducted by the university with limited role of the colleges.

In the present system students have to take three mid exams in the first year. The first mid exam is conducted after completion of first two units of the subject (each subject has 8 units) and the second one after 4, 5 and 6 units followed by the third mid exam for the remaining three units.

Two patterns

Each mid exam is conducted in two patterns with the college subject teacher preparing the question paper for 10 marks. The University sends the question papers for 10 marks for the second pattern. Marks scored in the best two of these three mid exams are taken for final calculation. From second year onwards only two mid exams are conducted with the same pattern and best among these are considered for the marks to be added to the semester end exams conducted completely by the University for 75 marks in each paper.

Five questions carrying 15 marks each have to be answered in all the papers. Students study 40 subjects in four years and have to get 216 credits out of 224 to be declared passed.

An interesting change noticed this year was the common paper given to all the first year students in the semester end exams. However, for senior students four different sets carrying totally different questions are prepared. So in the same class students take four different papers and this was introduced to minimise malpractice. The ‘single paper – uniform valuation’ practice may be extended to all the students from this year.

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