After nearly two decades, the pattern of semester examinations conducted by the University of Madras is set to change.
Introducing objective-type questions and reducing the number of choices for questions by giving an ‘either-or' option are some of the changes to be introduced in the new academic year. The examination pattern was last changed when the university shifted to the semester system in the '80s.
The main objective behind the change is to orient undergraduate and postgraduate students to prevalent patterns in competitive examinations.
The University's Board of Studies for Examinations is revamping its syllabus and question paper pattern in tune with examinations like the National Eligibility Test (NET) and State Eligibility Test (SLET), and those conducted by the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC). This comes at a time when the University Grants Commission has announced that from June 2012, the NET will be an objective-type paper.
Faculty at the University felt the need to include elements of such competitive examinations in their syllabus, since students from rural areas are often forced to attend private coaching classes to prepare for such examinations. Since objective-type questions are an integral component of competitive examinations, faculty members are considering allocating 30 per cent of the marks to such questions in the semester examination.
R. Srinivasan, chairman, board of studies of Mathematics (UG), University of Madras, said, “If the syllabus and examination pattern are in tune with competitive examinations, students will not have to make an extra effort to prepare. We want our syllabus and examination patterns to reflect changes in competitive examinations in future too.”
The Board of Studies of all departments have been asked to convene meeting to revise the syllabus.
G. Thiruvasagam, vice-chancellor, University of Madras said currently, students were tested largely on textbook knowledge. “At a time when schools are adopting advanced testing methodologies, the university too must update itself. Students must be tested on their awareness of current events.”
The university is accommodating industry experts' views and taking ideas from other educational institutions, too. Feedback from students will also be considered. “Students now have to answer five out of eight questions in their examination, which means they have a lot of choice and the examination is not competitive. The new pattern will help change that,” said a faculty member of a college.