KU casts a critical eye on question papers


Committee analyses 286 question papers of end-semester postgraduate examinations

Question papers are intended to assess one’s knowledge in a particular subject. But, do they actually satisfy the various learning objectives?

The Kerala University has embarked on an initiative, ‘Questioning the Questions’, wherein its examination reforms committee has undertaken an analysis of question papers of recent examinations.

The committee, constituted by the university’s Internal Quality Assurance Cell (IQAC) and headed by C. Satheesh Kumar, Associate Professor and Head of the Department of Statistics, analysed 286 question papers of end-semester postgraduate examinations, conducted under the credit and semester system (CSS) in 2017.


The questions were later categorised under the six cognitive objectives — remembering, understanding, applying, analysing, evaluating and creating — as defined in the revised Bloom’s taxonomy, which classifies the learning objectives of education.

The question papers were grouped into the streams of Science and Technology, Social Sciences, and Arts and Humanities.

Interim report

In its interim report, the committee has found that there was no evidence to support the common perception regarding university examinations to be mostly memory-recall based. Only 2-12% of the questions fell under the ‘remembering’ category.

The questions were found to have scored highly for the aspect of ‘understanding’ (53%). While the Humanities stream was found to have a reasonable spread of questions that assessed the various educational aspects, the Science and Technology stream had a very uneven spread with heavy focus on ‘understanding’ (65%). Meagre attention was being provided for ‘evaluating’ and ‘creating’, the study found.

The committee also considered the perspective of teachers of various subjects from the university before preparing the report, which also points out that the study had been limited to the analysis of cognitive levels alone. No analysis has been done on the basis of content, form of questions, marking scheme, and the time allotted.

The IQAC is also undertaking another study on internal assessment question papers and assignments, official sources said.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 12:21:20 AM |

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